Selling Your Home When You Have Pets – Five Top Tips

Selling a property can be a challenge at the best of times, but if you have pets, it can sometimes be even more difficult. Not all viewers will want to purchase a home where dogs or cats have previously lived. It’s important to bear in mind when putting your property on the market, that not everyone will share the same love for your pets that you do.

The UK is a nation of animal lovers and properties suitable for pets can be highly desirable. In 2014 it was estimated that 13 million (46% of) UK households have pets.  The pet population stands at around 65 million – including fish. However, not everyone will share your love of all creatures great and small, furry or feathered, four legged friends.

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Read on for our top 5 tips for more information on selling your property with pets.

1. Try Not to Be Sentimental

It’s really hard to put your emotions to one side when you are really very emotionally attached to your beloved pet. Almost everybody loves pets as we’re a nation of animal lovers, but when it comes to selling your property, the majority of buyers don’t want to be met at the door by excitable dogs or have to step over cat toys.

Don’t be too offended at having to make decisions about removing your pet from the property during the house selling process. There’s a number of reasons why people, might not be too keen on your pet, from fear or nervousness to inexperience, pets are not always predictable. Even if your viewers are animal lovers, they are not their pets, so are not going to fall head over heals in love with yours.

Try to picture the viewing from the buyers point of view and think about what they would expect to see and how they would feel. Remember they are there to view the property and picture themselves with their belongings inside the house, any unwanted distractions such as bouncy dog or smelly cat litter tray will have them leaving only remembering the negative points.

2. Cleanliness Sells

Never underestimate the power of a vacuum and mop. If you want to achieve top market value for your property, ensure you have removed all clutter and evidence of smell, especially before the photographer comes to take pictures for your property schedule. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so do whatever you have to give the impression that your house, no matter how small, is sufficiently spacious.  See article on ‘The importance of Photography when selling a property’ link

Speaking as a pet owner, I sympathise how hard it is to keep things tidy in a house with dogs or other animals, but try to ensure the property is as clean as possible and consider investing in a deep clean before the property goes on the market. Prospective buyers will struggle to see past muddy footprints in the hall and grubby nose marks on doors and windows. It might even make them more aware to look for signs that the pet was destructive, so ensure to check and fix any scratches on door frames, beds, flooring etc. prior to putting your property on the market or at very least before your photography is done.

There are never enough hours in the day to look after a family and get your house looking like a show home, but it might be worthwhile considering employing a cleaner for a while when the property is on the market if you need a hand.  Just an hour of intensive cleaning and tidying can make a world of difference to overall presentation of a property.

3. Conquer Your Clutter

It’s essential to de-clutter your home well in advance of viewers arriving at the property. Remember the more clutter lying around the house, the smaller and messier the property will appear to prospective buyers. Do the dog leads hang in the hallway? Has the dog poo been picked up in the garden and properly disposed of? Remember if your target market is families or professional couples, the garden can help to illustrate that the outdoor space is great for children (and adults) so by presenting the outdoor space as another part of your home will be highly appealing to viewers and they will easily be able to see the possibilities and spot opportunities. Things like dog beds in the kitchen or under the stairs can be a real turn off for non-pet owners, as well as hiding valuable space and potentially having a doggy odour. Pet belongings or small animals should be moved out of sight during viewings, even if it means popping them in the car with a window open for a couple of hours.

4. Go Neutral & De-Personalise

Some viewers will struggle to see past a property’s current condition and see its potential. Buyers will want to imagine that they are already living in the house, so pictures of the family together and posters in the upstairs bedrooms will need to be removed. This also goes for portraits of pets, statues or ornaments that would indicate that animals may live within the property.

However, don’t go too overboard when removing personal belongings, buyers will want to picture themselves in your home but leaving it too clinical may put buyers off – try and reach a happy medium! If you don’t have the space to tidy personal belongings away, perhaps consider investing in self-storage for the period your property is on the market. This will allow vendors to remove bulky items which make the property appear smaller or personal items which have been collected over the years but you are not ready to part with.

5. Silence is Golden

Try to create a welcoming, calm atmosphere when viewers arrive. At the very least, you should ensure your pet(s) have been removed from the property prior to any viewings taking place. As cute as you think your cat or dog is, it won’t help sell your property and will only remind viewers that animals have previously lived in the property.

You may also wish to temporarily relocate pets over the period when the property is for sale, to prevent any complications when you have viewers turn up unexpectedly or if estate agents will be doing viewings on your behalf. This will also allow you the chance to eradicate any pet odours which will linger and potentially put buyers off. While you may be a dog lover, there are many home buyers who are not.

There will be circumstances where it’s not possible to remove the pet(s) from the property. In these instances, your next best option is to restrain the animal but either putting them in your car for the short period during viewings or with a neighbour or friend. For situations where none of these suggestions are an option, consider arranging to place them in a pet friendly cage or crate during viewings. You may not be happy about restraining your pet in such a way if your pet is treated as one of the family, but it’s necessary when selling your property is the priority.

Once the pets are out of the way, you and the viewer will be able to concentrate on the task in hand: looking around your property and imagining themselves living there.

We appreciate that following the tips above is the ideal situation and understand not all will be possible as life gets in the way, or certain situations will be unavoidable. However, by following even a couple of the tips where possible, it will undoubtedly make the viewing experience for your buyers more enjoyable and more likely result in a sale.  And that, at the end of the day, is our goal.


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