Tips to Sell a House With Pets

written by Elyse Berman, CRS
Boca Raton, FL   
Jan 5, 2021


We adore our pets, but not everyone feels the same. Some people are afraid of cats and dogs. Some are allergic. You never know. If your home is for sale, you don't want is to lose a potential sale if a buyer walks into a barking dog, mess on the floor or a litter box. Here are some tips for selling a home with pets.

Remove pets during showings, if possible. This is your best option to avoid any issues. Liability is a big issue. You dog is an angel, but any dog can bite, given the right situation. We don't want that to happen. Friendly dogs are often distracting to buyers looking at your home - which is why they’re there! If the potential buyers happen to like dogs, they're busy petting your dog instead of looking at your home. And we don't want anyone's cat or dog running out the door either. Buyers need to feel comfortable in the space. They need time to look and imagine themselves living in the home. That's hard to do with distractions…

Take your dogs for a walk or a drive during showings. Book a day at the groomer or board them, if possible. I know, this is probably not an option, but taking them out for a short period of time usually is. If you absolutely cannot board them, make sure they're crated when people arrive. Your dog is probably stressed about the move, as well. There are strange people coming into their home. It's hard to concentrate looking at a house with constant barking.

Repair any damage done by pets. Did the dog chew the baseboard when s/he was a puppy? Dig under the fence? Whatever the damage is, if there is any, have it repaired prior to showing your home. 

Clean.  Clean.  Deodorize. Then clean some more. We are with our pets on a daily basis, so we become immune to most pet odors. Have a neutral person come into your home and give you an honest assessment. Do they smell your pets? Are there any offensive odors? If they can smell it, buyers will smell it too. Have your home professionally cleaned. Please do not attempt to cover up the smell; it doesn't work. Have a deep cleaning done on your home. This will go a long way towards getting it sold.

Have your air conditioner cleaned and serviced. Change your filter. It will help to rid the house of pet fur and hair. The cleaner the house is, the better. Rake your rugs and carpets. You'll be amazed at the amount of fur, hair and dust you pick up using a rake versus a vacuum cleaner. Have your carpets professionally cleaned, especially if they're stained. If they can’t be cleaned, consider replacing them.

Declutter.  Put the pet toys and things away. This includes crates, blankets, pee pads, dog beds, toys, leashes, food and bowls, whatever. The cleaner and less cluttered the house shows, the better. Try to remove as much pet stuff as possible, even just temporarily for a showing

Remember the goal is to sell your home.  And clean homes sell faster and for more money than dirty ones.

Elyse Berman, PA, CRS is a Pet-Friendly REALTOR® who has been helping people buy and sell homes for the past 16-plus years. She serves Palm Beach County, Florida. Check out her blog.