Selling a house is hard enough, but selling a house when you have a pet is even harder. A Boston real estate agent recently quoted in TIME relayed a story in which an owner’s cats lowered a condo’s sale price by $30,000. That’s a hefty chunk of change, even if your cats are adorable.
It can be hard to be objective when you’re blinded by love for your furry friends. But don’t get in your real estate agent’s doghouse. Here, from the experts at ABODO Ann Arbor, are four mistakes to avoid.
- Thinking You Can Handle the Carpets Yourself
Sure, baking soda and vinegar might be good enough for you. When Fido gets a little anxious or Fluffy drags a half-pound of litter into your carpet, you might even break out the big guns. Maybe you even invested in a carpet cleaner. But everyday conditions aren’t house-showing conditions. When you put your place on the market, be smart and call in the professionals. You don’t want your carpets to look well-loved, even if they’re clean. You want them to look (and smell) new.
- Thinking the Little Things are Normal Wear and Tear
If you have a dog, you probably don’t even see the scratches on the door. If you have a cat, you’re probably used to a ripped window screen or two. But potential buyers notice those things, and the last thing you want is for them to assume that there’s even more pet-related damage that they aren’t seeing. So fix the obvious damage: Replace damaged woodwork, paint over the scratches, and for goodness sake, take care of your yard. If your lab dug holes in it, fill them. If there are dead spots in the grass, invest in some fertilizer. And it goes without saying: Make sure there aren’t any “gifts” in the grass.
- Leaving Pet Paraphernalia Out
You might think: Maybe my buyer also loves cats. Who cares if there’s a three-story cat house in the living room, or a hairy dog bed in the corner of the dining room? Buyers. Buyers care. Even a clean litter box emits an unpleasant smell, so while you’re carrying out the cat, take the box along with you. Similarly, soggy rawhide bones, fraying tennis balls, and destroyed scratching posts probably don’t send the right message about the condition and cleanliness of your home either.
- Introducing Potential Buyers to Your Pet
We get it: Myrtle loves to purr and enjoys scratches under her chin. But you can never predict how a potential buyer will react to your pet, or how your pet will react to a potential buyer. Better to keep your furry friends out of sight for the duration of the tour. Take the dog for a walk. Consign your cat to her crate in the garage or the laundry room. Whatever you do, don’t just lock your pet in the bedroom — after all, buyers will want to see it.