Selling Your Home When You Have a Dog

By: Justin Havre

On the surface, it seems that selling a home with dogs present should be easy. After all, the dogs are going with you when you leave - they won't be the buyer's problem. But where you see no problem can hinder a house sale.

One would think that potential buyers with pets wouldn't care in the least about your pet and to an extent you're right. However, if buyers who own pets know that you own them as well, they will use their pet knowledge to examine the floor for fleas and pay extra attention to that lighter area on the rug where Pookie once 'left his mark' in a fit of youthful exuberance.

As unfriendly as it sounds, seriously consider scheduling doggy daycare or a visit to a Pookie-loving friend for the duration of the showing of your home. Pookie will be set off balance by this change in the usual routine of visitors and may behave inappropriately. The intrusion of many strange people into his domain may trigger vocalizing or nipping. Even a friendly greeting is not appreciated by many prospective home buyers.

One may think that confining Pookie is the answer, but where? People considering your home as their possible next purchase will want to see every square inch and may think you're hiding something if you refuse to open the door from whence the howling is coming from. Again, you're faced with hassle if you try showing it to them with the dog in one hand. The back yard is also something buyers want to see and they may find it difficult to appreciate all of the many benefits of your home while Pookie is barking at the end of his chain. Do him a favor and pay someone to walk him for a couple of hours.

The next thing is to remove the most obvious traces of Pookie from the house and yard. Stow his bed and doggie bowls in an unobtrusive location of the house. Make sure that every single bit of dog refuse is picked up in the yard and disposed of where the smell will not be apparent to buyers. Get a box and pile all of Pookie's toys in it. Tripping over a tennis ball doesn't put people in a positive buying frame of mind. Make sure that the house does not have Odor d' Canine as it's main fragrance; get a friend from a house without pets to smell test for you. Treat with an enzyme formula like Nature's Miracle for small areas. Larger areas may require a cleaning machine or a cleaning company. As much as you like advertising that you're the proud owner of Pookie, take the most obvious pictures of him down and hide them until visitors are gone.

If, for whatever reason, you can't send Pookie packing, make his presence as unobtrusive as possible. It's best if he's crate trained, as you can pop him into his crate and cover it with a decorative throw. Maybe you can pass him off as a coffee table. If you don't have a crate, a tether in the back yard may be your best option. Don't allow Pookie the run of the yard or even any great freedom. The showing will soon be over and then he can run his legs off.

If there's something dog related that you can't move for whatever reason, do everything you can to make it look better. If Pookie's old doghouse would leave a crater in the yard if you had it removed, do something that makes it look better. Paint it or plant flowers around the sides. You may be able to pass it off as an object d' art. Coil up chains and rake the grass to make sure Pookie hasn't left any 'gifts' for the visitors. If there are bald patches on the lawn, treat them with a special grass replacement or cut them out and replace them with sod.

Make sure that your house is not hosting any Pookie-borne parasites. There are many flea and tick treatments out on the market, some of which that are environmentally friendly and less toxic to children and other pets. Make sure that if you need to treat your house for parasites that it's done at least a few days before the visit so that the visitor isn't smelling the acrid odor of whatever noxious chemical you used to get rid of your obnoxious visitors. Treat Pookie as well; no house treatment is going to be effective if he is constantly bringing new pests into the area.

Look at your house from the point of view of a dog-hating person. Go through each room and look for evidence that dogs live there or have been resident. The more you can minimize the impact of your dog's presence, the more likely you will get serious offers faster. We love our pets, but it's a small sacrifice to make their presence less noticeable for the sake of selling a home faster.

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