Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pets and Real Estate

Dear Rich:

My wife and I are trying to sell our home (in Charlotte) and we want to make it as "buyer-friendly" as possible. However, we have 2 large dogs and we know that this can be a detractor to potential buyers. Do you have any tips for selling our home?

Charlie - Charlotte, NC
Dear Charlie:
People who are pet lovers cannot understand those who are not. In reality, there are many people on this planet who either don’t like animals, are fearful of them, or who are allergic to them--so you are right to be concerned about how this might affect the sale of the house.
Having a pet can certainly be an obstacle to the sale of your home, if you are not vigilant. Many people moving to the Charlotte area have come to retire, and are not interested in a home that has had pets, or are bringing their own. They may even be intimidated by looking at a house that has a big dog--or two!
I have seen some agents recommend that the pet be relocated elsewhere until the sale is made. I have yet to meet a homeowner willing to do that to a beloved pet, especially in this market, when sales are taking longer.
So here are some tips to be sure Fido or Fluffy don’t prevent the sale of your house:
1.) Vacuum the floors and rugs constantly, even several times a day, so there is no sign of animal fur. Don’t forget to vacuum chairs and sofas as well.
2.) Cat pans must be immaculate…completely changed prior to any showing. If the dog uses a run or the yard, be sure all indications are absent.
3.) If there are carpet stains, have the rugs professionally cleaned.
4.) Remove all pet paraphernalia when showing the house, including toys, food and water bowls, photos, balls, leashes, and cat trees.
5.) Be sure there is no scent of animal in the house. To eliminate odor, use an enzyme cleaner or call a professional ozone company. Deodorizers only camouflage the smell, they do not eliminate it, and those with allergies may have a reaction.
6.) Your pet should not greet the buyer and agent at the door. It should be safely ensconced in a pet carrier or outside on a leash.
7.) If your pet is a “chewer,” eliminate any furniture or replace any woodwork that has been damaged.
8.) Be sure photos of your home, (inside and out) on your realtor’s website do not show your pets.
Although people who love animals are likely to be more understanding, they are still there to consider the purchase of your home, not your pet. Whatever you can do to remove distractions and obstacles that may prevent the purchase will be to your benefit.
Good luck with the sale of your home!
Rich Ferretti
Jamison Realty

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