Tips on home selling with pets

Tips on Pets and Home SellingSometimes when homes listed for sale in Silicon Valley don’t sell, it’s not about the location, the price, the floor plan or even the marketing.  It’s about the pets.  Of course, many agents have learned in real estate training classes that “there’s no problem that a better price can’t fix” – and that’s true, but most sellers would rather make the house more appealing and sell for higher rather than only address selling obstacles with a lower price.  I think we do sellers a great disservice if we tippy toe around problems and make it all about price, when other solutions might be far better.  At the very least, sellers deserve to know that they have a choice.  Today we’ll look at the problem with selling a property with pets present and some solutions to help sell the home faster and for more money.

What’s the problem with pets at a home for sale?

There are several things which can happen with pets in the home (or to a lesser extent, the yard) to damage the odds of selling or of selling at a good price:

(1) Odors:  For people who don’t live with cats, dogs, bunnies and other furry friends, the odors given off by these companions can seem very strong and unappealing.  When we live with animals, we can get used to the smell of them, their bedding or cages and it is very possible that we won’t find offensive what can send buyers screaming out of the house.  Once in Los Gatos I previewed a house during the broker’s tour where there were multiple bunnies in cages in one of the bedrooms.  The stench was terrible – my family and I have had bunnies (but outside), but I’d never smelled anything so ghastly.  I think the cages hadn’t been cleaned in a very long time.  Or perhaps the rabbits were extremely old.   In any case, I literally had to leave because the odor was sickening.

(2) Fear of the animals:  Some home buyers are allergic to cats, dogs, and other pets with fur.  Others are simply afraid of them, at least if they are indoors.   For some of these people, even knowing that you have an indoor pet (unless it’s in a cage or aquarium) is enough to keep them away.   Sometimes listing agents will let buyers agents know that a dog is loose in the house but “don’t worry, Fido is friendly”.  That is not a help if the buyer is either allergic or afraid!  Some animals will frighten people even if they are in a cage or terrarium. Snakes and spiders may have that impact! (more…)