Are you ready for the Spring Real Estate Market? Are your pets ready? Some of us may still be anticipating the Super Bowl , but remember that the Spring Real Estate Market kicks off on the Monday right after the Super Bowl. If you are thinking of listing your house for sale you should start to get it ready now and don’t forget about your animals! Getting your house ready for sale includes cleaning, de-cluttering, fixing and staging. I have talked about many of these things before and I recommend that you do them all. When you think you have done all that you can do, bring your Realtor in and ask for her opinion. I guarantee she will have some additional insights about how your house is going to be viewed by the buyers, both in-person and online. It is important to make the first impression, usually on-line, your best impression, in order to get buyers to come and see the property.
Once you have attracted buyers to want to come and see your home in person, it is very important that you make access to your property/house as easy as possible. Factors such as a key box, flexible and generous hours for showings, and leaving the house show-ready, enhance ease of access for potential buyers. If you have pets, another important aspect of showing the property is to have a plan for their wellbeing during the showing.
Having a plan for your pets is very important. Because we love our pets as much as we do, we may minimize the importance of having a plan to have the animal out of sight or off-premises during showings. As a pet lover/owner you may feel that everyone who comes to your house is going to love your pets as much as you do. After all, your pet is sweet and friendly, and free to roam around the house. They may bark but they don’t bite and they love everyone! This may be very true but the pet doesn’t come with the house does he/she? Or maybe you would consider it in the negotiation…….just kidding! The purpose of letting strangers into your house is to show them the product that you are selling, your house. Buyers need to be able to come and do what they are there to do — look at your house with the intent of possibly making it their own. The reason to repair, clean and de-clutter is to make the property more attractive and to remove distractions from the product itself. No family pictures, no clothing on the floor, no unfinished projects, no excess furniture, and no barking, purring, chirping or otherwise distracting pets.
I realize that this is going to sound harsh to many of you pet owners and there are a lot of you (me too). But this is important and your agent may not want to address this with you as firmly as they should because it is personal. It is like saying, “do something with your kids” and your pets are family. I am not trying to be insensitive to these members of your household. However, I want you to see that it is in your best interest, and theirs, to have a plan for keeping them from being a distraction from the process of selling your home. Removing them all together from the house is preferable. But if this is not possible then crating them is the next best thing. If you don’t have a crate, get one. Putting them in one room and limiting access to that room is not ideal. It doesn’t allow the buyer to see the room and the dogs/cats may even do damage to the room if they are not use to being put away. Having strangers come into their home can be just as traumatic for them.
Let’s say that you have figured out how to manage your pets for this purpose. What about the effects your pet has had on the house already? Many of us can become desensitized to pet odors or pet hair and spilled pet food on the floor. They are our family members and this is how we live. But people coming into your home are going to be distracted by pet odors, stains, damage, and dirt. This is all a part of the cleaning, de-cluttering stage of getting ready but even after you have vacuumed the last rug, cleaned out the last litter box, washed the last floor, have your realtor or a friend come over and ask for their honest feedback about the presence of animal odors etc. as this can be a huge deterrent for anyone considering purchasing your home.
The faster you get your house sold the faster you can get your family and your pets settled into their new home and back to normal. The best way to do this is to make sure your house gets shown to all interested parties in the best possible condition with the fewest distractions. Don’t take it personally. Your goal is to sell your house so do what it takes now and be done with it. Everyone will be happier in the end, including your pets.