Pet Owners: Staging Your Home So Buyers Can’t Tell You Have a Pet

Do you love your pets? If so, you’re not alone.

A staggering 95 percent of US households consider their pets to be family, which could help explain why we spent over $72 billion on our pets in 2018 alone.

A loving pet owner will want to provide his pet with a stable home, but what happens when you have to move?

Research indicates that Americans are moving at historically low rates. Nonetheless, we still move between residences about 11 times in our lives, while most Europeans move roughly four times.

If you have a pet and also need to sell your home, be warned: It’s been estimated that having a pet can lower the resale value of your property. So here are some tips for pet owners on how to put your house up for sale so that prospective buyers can’t tell you have a pet.

Kenneling and Boarding

We’ve all had that cozy midwinter night where you watch your pet stretch out in front of the fire, and your home feels more like home. So, during the selling process, it may be painful to relocate your pet. In the long run, though, it’s for the best, especially during an open house. Ask a friend or a neighbor that you know your pet is comfortable with to keep him for a while. Or stow your pet away at a kennel, or contract the services of a professional boarder. If your pet must be at home, keep him in a guest room or some out-of-the-way nook of the house while potential buyers are passing through.

The Deep Clean

Whether your pet stays in the house during the staging process or not is up to you. But it’s imperative that the rooms are quarantined of all smells or signs that a pet ever lived with you. Probably the first step in this process, then, is to declutter. Go room by room pitching what you don’t need. In the kitchen, clear the counters, and comb through the shelves, making sure everything is properly stored. In the living room, clear out magazines and piles of books on the coffee tables. Also, take down framed diplomas and pictures lining the mantelpiece. A one-size-fits-all decor appeal usually hooks people, who can get weirded out whenever they’re reminded that they’re moving through another family’s personal space.

Once you declutter, clean. Reacquaint yourself with your vacuum – you two are going to be fast friends. Vacuum all the floors and carpets and furniture and window coverings. Sprinkle baking soda on everything you’ve just vacuumed. In nice weather, open the windows to let in fresh air. Wash the floors and walls. Consider getting a black light to stencil out urine stains that may have blended in with the carpet. Attack these problem spots with a water-vinegar solution or an enzymatic cleaner. And once you’re all done, vacuum again.

Curb Appeal

Now that you’ve got the inside squared away, dress up your curb appeal.

  • Power-wash the sides of your house and retouch the trim.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Pluck any weeds that have sprouted in the driveway.
  • You may even consider digging out trenches alongside the front walk and planting flowers in them so that potential buyers have to pass down a lane of blossoms as they enter your house.

Sure, that’s a solid weekend project, but it doesn’t cost much, and it’ll give people a sense that they’re being ushered into their new home.

Selling your house is hard work, especially if you have a pet. But with some elbow grease and attention to detail, prospective buyers will never know Fluffy once called that space home.

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