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Wendy Sippel | The Lone Arranger - Blog | Why Home Buyers Don't Like Your Pets

We've photographed Wendy's work for years, you can tell if she's been there by her signature green apples and how she presents the home in its best light, highlighting it's features. Staging a home is really an art, requiring a keen eye for details. She makes the hard decisions about what to show and what to hide leaving the entire home with enough character to capture your attention. We're very proud that Wendy has agreed to write a blog and allow us to host it here.

When Jennie and Matt asked me to write a blog about staging, I was stumped on how to begin. I've been staging homes for 12 years in the DFW area, and prior to that, I was a Realtor in Santa Barbara, California. Needless to say, I've seen a lot of homes, sold a lot of homes, and staged a lot of homes!

In this blog, I will attempt to inform you of what is going on in the world of staging homes for sale – what sellers should definitely do and not do!

Dear Reader, I know you are wondering why home buyers don't like your pets.

Almost everybody loves pets except the home buyer who is buying your home. Home sellers who adore their pets – and I count myself as a huge pet lover – have a hard time imagining the negative attitudes others harbor against pets. So, while this is a bitter pill to swallow, if you want to get top dollar for your house, pay attention to how much you might lose with a dog or cat in residence.

Why don't they like your pets?

  • Nervousness. Pets make some people very uncomfortable. Not everybody grew up with a family pet or enjoys outings at the zoo.
  • Fear. Real and irrational. It's not only dogs that instill fear in people, all kinds of silly wives' tales and superstitions involve cats.
  • Inexperience. Pets are not always predictable.
  • Your pets aren't their pets. They imagine yours bite, jump, vomit, claw, spit-up hairballs or are just plain hyper and bad.

#1 Preferred Pet Solution

You're not going to like this, but I'll say it anyway, fully realizing this excellent piece of advice is likely to fall on deaf ears. The best thing to do to ensure top price for your home is to relocate your pets while your home is on the market. Putting them in the backyard, garage or in another room that you keep locked in insufficient, and it's not fair to them. You need to remove them from the house.

  • Let a friend of relative care for Fluffy and Spike.
  • Board them at a kennel.

Overcoming Negatives Associated with Your Pets

If you shrug off all professional advice and absolutely refuse to move your pets out of the house, then at least minimize the objections and nuisance factors, real and otherwise:

Cat Litter Boxes and Dog Potty Pads

Keep them out of sight and impeccably clean. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the door to the laundry room and being greeted by a full or stinky cat box.

Carpet and Floor Pet Stains

Hire professionals to remove the stains. Buyers will spot them and form unfavorable opinions about the rest of the house. If the stains can't be removed, then remove the floor covering and replace it. Most animals will relieve themselves on a rug – please just remove it.

Pet Odors and Smells

Cat urine is the worst. Without question. The. Worst. Bring in a neighbor to do a Whiff Test.

  • Do not use air fresheners. People with allergies will react.
  • Try enzyme cleaners such as Simple Solution, Nature's Miracle or call a professional ozone company.

Remove Signs of a Pet

You don't need to advertise that pets live at your house. Removing signs that you have a pet is simply smart practice. It's those first-impressions that are so all-fired important.

  • Seal up doggie doors
  • Put away food and water bowls for showings
  • Vacuum religiously, every day, sometimes twice a day
  • Pick up pet toys and beds and put them away
  • Pack up cat trees and other signs of cat paraphernalia (you know who you are)
  • Remove photos of pets from refrigerator, walls and table tops
  • Pack up all cages, carriers and other tell-tale signs

Showing Your House

Put your pets into a carrier and attach a note warning buyers not to disturb them. The last thing you need is somebody sticking their hand inside the carrier and getting bit or scratched. You can't predict how your pet will react when locked up and alone.

A friend of mine (really, not me, a friend) learned the hard way by letting her cat run loose during a showing. She was outside talking to a neighbor and heard loud knocking. She looked up to see the agent rapping on the upstairs window. She thought the agent was showing the buyer the dual panes. When the rapping continued, she went upstairs. Turned out the cat had cornered the agent and the buyer, and was growling at them.

Needless to say, that buyer didn't buy the house.

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