Although pets may be a significant part of your family, they can pose a challenge when your home is on the market. Pet hair and odors obviously must be addressed, but your furry friend's presence may be the biggest problem. Although people love their own dogs and cats, they may not like others and they definitely will not be impressed with a property full of other animals' noises, toys or hair.

Have a good plan in mind for dealing with your dog or cat before potential buyers come inside your home. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Clean, Clean, Clean!
Vacuum every day to keep the place spotless. Keep animals toys packed away and take down the big scratching post. Pack up the cages and carriers. Put food and water bowls out of sight before a showing. Remember the outside, too, and be vigilant with the pooper scooper while your house is on the market.

The Nose Knows
Smelly pet odors are bad and cat urine is the worst! Cat boxes and puppy pads must be put away before showings and kept super clean the rest of the time. Even a leaking fish tank can create an unpleasant stink. Don't think that an air freshener can cover the scent -- get rid of the smell with an enzyme cleaner.  Nothing will turn buyers off more quickly than bad smells and pet mess.

Repair Pet Damage
Carefully inspect all floor coverings.  You made need to hire a professional to get rid of the worst spots and stains. If you can't fix the spots, replace the carpet. Cover scratches on the hardwood floors and doors. If your dog has clawed repeatedly on the back door, the marks will need attention. Has he dug up the yard or chewed on the fence? Be sure to inspect for pet damage thoroughly. If you have a dog house in the back, give it a fresh coat of paint.

Fleas! Fix!
If your pet has fleas, then they are in your home, too. Hire a professional exterminator to kill the fleas and have your pet treated. Fleas in your carpet and furniture will run buyers back out the door and your home will only be memorable to them because of bites on their legs!

Where Should They Go?
If possible, have your pets out of the house during showings. Take the dog to the park for a long walk or even to the office for the day. See if a friend can keep the cat for a few hours. Having pets at the house when buyers are there should be avoided if at all possible.  If not, kennel your pet or put up a temporary pen in the back yard and leave a note asking visitors not to disturb your animals. You will be running a big risk if your pet is roaming the house while strangers are there.

You want buyers to be able to see themselves living in your home. That means helping them see beyond your personal belongings, including your pets. Even a home in excellent condition will likely take a hit in sales value if pet damage and smells are not addressed. Neutralizing your pet's presence will help you sell your home more quickly and at a competitive price.


The Cook & Loeffler Team
Two Savvy Agents