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A guide to selling a home when you have pets

Profile photo of Samantha Thorne
Senior man portrait laughing as dog asks for stroking

If you have pets, you love them and consider them part of your family. Unfortunately, when you sell your home, your pets could be your biggest liability. Not everyone will feel the same about your pets as you do. They will also notice things you may turn a blind eye to.

Pets versus home buyers - remember: not all home buyers like pets

Some people love cats and dogs. Some people are allergic to pet dander and others are afraid of dogs. When you're selling your house, you have no idea who is going to be viewing your property. Your priority should be to make your house appeal to the widest spectrum of potential buyers. To be on the safe side, you need to make sure your pets don't turn anyone away. Here are five things you should do to ensure your house is ready for sale:

  1. Thoroughly clean the house
  2. Remove pet odours
  3. Repair any damage caused by pets
  4. Remove animal dropping from around your property
  5. Take your pets away from the home during open inspections

Why your house needs cleaning and deodorising


House cleaning is important for any home seller, but it can be even more important for pet owners. You may not notice touches of fur on your carpets or furniture, but potential buyers will. Some will also pick up pet smells you may not notice.

"Hire a house cleaning service and have them thoroughly clean your house before you have an open inspection."

Hire a house cleaning service and have them thoroughly clean your house before you have an open inspection. If you have carpets, having them deep cleaned by a professional service will ensure you get rid of pet odours in the carpets.

You should also consider having your upholstered furniture steam cleaned. Dogs and cats love sleeping on furniture. They leave fur and odours behind.

How much does move out cleaning cost? covers the cost of a thorough cleaning. At the high end of the scale, it could cost as much as $500. That can be $500 well-spent, because you will know your home will appeal to more potential buyers and house cleaning adds more value to a home than the cost of the cleaning.

Repair damage caused by pets

Cats scratch furniture and dogs like to gnaw on timber. Both cats and dogs will scratch and damage flyscreens. As a pet owner and lover, the minor damage caused by pets is part of the price you pay for having them. When you sell your house, it's time to repair damage caused by pets inside and outside of your home.

Take special care to repair window sills, skirting boards and walls that may have been gnawed on or scratched by pets. Check your flyscreens and replace any that have been damaged or stretched by pets. When potential buyers inspect your property, they will notice these things.

Don't think of the renovations you do as expenses. Renovations add value to your home that can far exceed the cost of the renovations. Do your repairs as you renovate and be sure your pets don't do further damage after you have completed your renovations.

Landscaping and your pets

Dog in garden

"Minor landscaping can add $15,000 to the value of your home and according to research, more extensive landscaping can add up to 28 percent to the value of your home."

You will also add value to your home if you do some landscaping before you put your home on the market. Even minor landscaping can add $15,000 to the value of your home and according to research, more extensive landscaping can add up to 28 percent to the value of your home.

If you have a dog or dogs, they can potentially decrease the value your pre-sale landscaping has created. Make sure there are no pet droppings in your front and back yards before you open your house for inspection. If a dog has dug holes, fill them in and disguise them. Buyers will notice bald spots in lawns and holes in your garden. A well-maintained garden suggests you have maintained your home and taken pride in it.

Don't leave pets at home during open inspections

Not everyone loves pets as much as you do. Even dog lovers can be wary of other people's dogs. Dogs in particular can be territorial and may bark at "intruders" who are inspecting your property. Some people are allergic to cats or simply don't like them.

You should stay away from your home during open inspections, too. Buyers can get anxious if the homeowner is on the property. If you are having a weekend inspection, take your pets with you. If your home is going to be open for inspection for a longer period, consider finding a kennel for your pets until you sell your home.

Remove litter boxes and other signs of pet activity from inside and outside your home. Litter boxes carry odours and remind potential buyers that a pet has occupied the house. If you have a dog house, it will be harder to remove, but at least a dog house tells buyers that your dog lived outside the house.

Most experienced real estate agents have experience selling properties owned by pet lovers. Ask for their advice. They may know of a good kennel and have other recommendations for you. While you may not want your pets to become invisible, you'll be glad you did when your house sells faster and for a higher price. When you move into your new home, you can make them feel at home again and everyone will be happy.

Read more on how you can prepare yourself and your property for sale.