Pet Owners: How to Prepare Your Home for Sale

Your furry friends are important to you—perhaps even family. However, while you may adore your pets, they can make a lasting impression on your home that becomes very evident when you prepare your house for sale.

If you’re a pet owner, it’s important to remove any trace of pets from your home before listing your property for sale. This means painting over scratch marks, removing damaged carpeting, and getting rid of odors.

Here are some tips for preparing your home for sale if you have pets.

Remove any evidence.

As you take the usual steps to prepare your home for showings, hide evidence of your pets. Put away litter boxes, throw away half-chewed toys, move crates, store scratching posts, and stash away pet beds. You may love your pets, but potential home buyers often associate pets with odor and home damage.

Make sure you remove the evidence before the real estate photographer comes by. Buyers will grow weary of a room dedicated to your iguana, assuming you have pet-related issues with the house.

Perform a deep clean.

Deep cleaning is a crucial step when selling your house, whether you have pets or not. While homeowners tend to neglect floors, baseboards, walls, and upholstery, potential buyers will spot dirt from across the room!

Keep potential homebuyers from getting distracted with the small stuff by deep cleaning everything you can. If you have pets, you’d be surprised how much odor is wafting through the air that you’ve grown accustomed to. New guests will smell your pet right away, so make sure you take steps to eliminate it.

Eliminate pet odor with these steps:

    1. Vacuum pet dander from cracks and corners
    2. Wipe baseboards to remove pet dust
    3. Wash curtains, couch covers, and throw pillows
    4. Steam clean your carpets


Freshen up and deodorize.

We become used to the odors in our home, so we may not notice a pet smell the way a potential buyer will. And whatever you do, don’t mask the odor with candles and sprays. Not only does this make buyers wonder what you’re hiding, but some people find strong perfumes offensive.

It’s always better to remove odors instead of masking them. See the above step for ways to remove odors.

After you’ve eliminated odors at the source, you can revitalize the air quality by replacing your air filters and running an air purifier. Air purifiers are an effective and affordable way to restore the air quality in your home because they absorb dust and dander that contribute to odors.

Repair any damage from pets.

Shredded curtains, scratched up door frames, chewed up furniture, and damaged floors send up red flags to prospective buyers. If there’s visible damage to your home from pets, they’ll wonder if there’s hidden damage elsewhere. Examine your home for any damage from your pets and spend some extra time repairing it. Most of these minor damages don’t cost much to repair and are as simple as buying a quart of paint.

Think about curb appeal.

A home’s exterior is the home buyers’ first impression. You’ll never get another chance to impress potential buyers with how your home looks, so make sure you remove any evidence of pets from your yard if it’s not appealing.

We recommend scanning your lawn and picking up any pet droppings. There’s nothing worse than potential home buyers stepping into something they didn’t expect when they’re looking at your home.

Also, remove any damaged lawn furniture, fill in holes, replace ripped screens, and scratched fence posts. Sprucing up your outdoor area will boost your curb appeal and make your home more aesthetically pleasing. If you have a dog run or pet play area, leverage it as a positive feature for pet-loving buyers. Make sure it’s clean, safe, and inviting.

Relocate pets during showings.

It will be hard for buyers to focus on all the great features of your home if a dog is jumping on them or a cat’s begging for attention at their feet. The sight and sounds of pets are distracting and can stress out buyers.

Show courtesy to guests who may have pet allergies by keeping down pet dander and removing animals from the viewing area. We recommend taking pets for a long walk, boarding them at a friend’s house, or putting them in the backyard during showings to minimize distractions.

Following these tips will improve your chances of selling your home. For more selling and staging tips, keep an eye out for the Michelle Clark Team’s next blog post.