Before we chat about Peaches & Pumpkin, we want everyone to know that we love animals! We have our own four-legged family members who get more attention than our spouses. We carry dog treats in our cars. We "doggy-sit" our clients' animals, and take them for walks. But, we also know that not all people are animal lovers.
Animals (like humans) have distinct odors. Pumpkin, the family house dog, might roll outside in something dead then proudly enter the dog door just when an agent unlocks your front door to show the house. Peaches, the family cat, may use the litter box just before the next prospective buyers show up. These are every day annoyances we live with and ignore because we love our pets. Even when we regularly groom Pumpkin and religiously change Peaches' litter box, odors still linger that someone who does not have house pets may find quite off putting.
Animal behavior, which is so entertaining to their owners, can become distractions, even annoyances to purchasers, who are not accustomed to the exuberance of furry friends. Cats love motion. There is nothing quite so alarming as having a clawed paw reach out from under a couch to "whap, whap, whap" your ankle as you pass by, followed with a hiss and blur of calico streaking across the living room in search of another ambush site. Cats not only love motion, they also like heights. Scaling the living room drapes could be a happy hobby for Peaches. Or she may be quite content to perch quietly on the piano, the kitchen table, or the kitchen counter. Prospective buyers may forgive, even think it's quite charming to see a feline curled up on a piece of furniture, but finding Peaches' hair and paw prints where food is prepared and eaten is another situation altogether.
Does Pumpkin offer his tennis ball to every person who enters his home in hopes of finding someone who will play? It's endearing to us pet owners, but to those people unfamiliar with such habits, having a soggy ball dropped in their hand or at their feet might be a turn-off. And when selling your home, you don't want anything that might turn off a possible buyer.
We have to be honest; some of our funniest and most pleasurable showings have been in homes with animals. Holding a purring cat or throwing a squeaky toy over and over to a rambunctious cocker spaniel has brought lots of joy and laughter. But sellers with pets have some very important things to remember:
- Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum.
- Have your carpet professionally cleaned.
- Always try to take your pet with you when you have a showing scheduled. If that is impossible, ask a neighbor to doggy or kitty sit. This serves several purposes: first it takes all distraction out of the prospective buyer's tour of your home, second, it keeps your animal from being frightened and accidentally running out an open door, and third, it lowers your liability because your normally friendly pet may scratch or bite a little child who doesn't know how to properly play with a furry friend.
- Remove dog/cat bowls before you leave the house.
- Put the kitty litter box out of the house.
- De-odorize your home with some unscented spray, such as Febreze. Ask an honest friend to come in and sniff around your house for the odors you no longer notice.
- For bird owners: make sure the cage is clean and all seed is vacuumed up.
If these suggestions are followed, there should be a happy ending to the story of Peaches and Pumpkin.
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