How to Stage Your Home When You’re a Pet Owner

By Paul Denikin

Your pet might be a member of the family, but he doesn’t help pay the mortgage, and he certainly won’t suffer the same financial consequences as you will if your house lingers on the market for months after you put it up for sale. So it’s important that you reduce the evidence of your furry or feathered family member when staging and showing your home. Here are some tips and advice from real estate experts to get you started.


Visit the vet: Your first step should be to speak with your pet’s veterinarian. Vets can offer valuable advice on how to keep your pet safe and comfortable during a process that’s likely very disruptive for her.


Send your pet on vacation: If possible, it might be easiest to temporarily relocate your pet with a pet care professional or a trusted family member or friend. It will give you a chance to pack away any evidence that you shared your home with an animal since some potential buyers prefer to purchase pet-free homes.


Take a long walk: If relocating your pup isn’t possible, at the very least, you should develop a plan to get him out of the home during open houses and other showings. After all, your pet may be the most gentle beast under normal circumstances, but who knows how he might act if a group of strangers are investigating every nook and cranny of his home? And, in many states, owners are held liable for injuries caused by a dog bite delivered by their animal, so why even risk the possibility?


Repair damage: You should probably repair any obvious damage to your home, no matter what its cause. But, if you have an animal, be particularly conscientious about fixing pet-related problems such as scratch marks on the door.


Eliminate odors: Experts say a strong odor in the home is one of the top reasons potential buyers pass on a property. So, before showing your home, you may want to invest in a professional maid service to do an interior cleaning, which costs between $118 and $222 in Phoenix, according to HomeAdvisor. Opening windows to air out the home will give cleaners a strong starting point for their deodorizing duties.


Pay for a comprehensive cleaning:  You may also want to get an estimate from the service on a whole-house deep cleaning. Among other tasks, this includes shampooing and extraction for the carpets and vacuuming and deodorizing for upholstered furniture to eliminate odors and stains, which is particularly important for pet owners selling their home. If an area of carpeting or upholstery is badly damaged, stained, or particularly pungent, consider replacing it all together.


Put away pictures: Your pet may be the cutest animal on earth, but real estate experts say it’s best to create an environment that encourages buyers to see themselves living in the space. So pack away all those puppy pictures and kitty cameos. While you’re at it, do the same for all the other family photos.


Wash your window coverings: Pet odors can easily pervade curtains and other window treatments. Washing them will help eliminate odors and also help them look their best for potential buyers.


Don’t forget the yard: Be sure to remove all the evidence of a pet’s use of the yard. Obviously, you should remove any animal waste. Also take a critical look at damage to grass, flower beds, and other yard features your pet may have done over time.


Try these measures to get your home sold quickly so you and your family, including its animal members, can settle into a new space to call your own.


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