National Love Your Pet Day: How Realtors® Work with Sellers with Pets

By Kelly Leighton | Feb. 19, 2020 | 4 min. read

Your clients really, really love their pets.

But when your sellers are getting their home ready to list, how can they still respect Cooper while maintaining their home’s marketability? In honor of National Love Your Pet Day, which is tomorrow, Feb. 20, some local association presidents offered advice on how they talk with their clients regarding pets during the homeselling process.

West Branch Valley Association of Realtors® President Lori Solomon said she first determines whether her clients’ best furry friend makes the house have an unpleasant odor. “My suggestions include thorough cleaning and spraying earlier in the day and not immediately before a showing. If it’s really bad, I may suggest floor replacement or carpet cleaning. Either way, I usually tell them about people’s allergies and how that can affect their opinion of the home,” she said.

Pet hair is one thing to look out for, said Carol Hoke, president of the North Central Penn Board of Realtors®. “Even if it’s not terrible, I let them know that a lot of buyers have very sensitive noses and can tell right away if a pet lives there,” she said.

Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors® President Jack Gross agreed. “A lot of people are sensitive to allergies, so you have to make sure you notify buyers and agents about them. If there is a strong odor, sometimes a seller doesn’t smell the odor because they are so accustomed to it, we advise people in the nicest way possible that it needs to be dealt with, as it will affect not only the appeal, but offers as well,” he said.

What about during showings? Take your pets elsewhere, said Tony Molnar-Strejcek, president of the Realtors® Association Westmoreland, Indiana and Mon Valley. “It’s also suggested for homeowners to place pet toys, water bowl and food in discrete locations.”

Sue Pindle, president of the Realtors® Association of York & Adams Counties, agreed that all pets should be removed during showing, and pet accessories should be kept to a minimum. And don’t forget to clean up any pet waste in the yard, she reminds clients.

Because Suburban West Realtors® Association President Kit Anstey knows how many buyers have their own pets, and are looking for a property that will satisfy their pet’s needs as well, he said to keep it tidy, but there is no need to hide the fact that your seller has a pet or two. “Making that buyer aware that this home is pet-friendly is a positive thing in selling your home. I personally don’t think that it is a good idea to just leave your pet in the house to roam freely when appointments are going through. I’ve have seen a dog that the owner has said is friendly be not-so-friendly when we arrive. Personally, I would have the pet removed for all appointments, but make it obvious that there is a pet in this home when there are not appointments.”

“I advise my sellers to remove their dogs from the property for showings. Potential buyers are a stranger in their house; dogs are trained to protect their house. They could be the nicest dog, but I don’t want to put them in the situation of being alone with strangers in their house. So, it does pose issues in having to remove them,” said Terry Solomon-August, president of the Luzerne County Association of Realtors®.

Pike-Wayne Association of Realtors® President Will Clauss agreed that pets shouldn’t be around for showings. “Taking man’s best friend for a walk around the block when the buyers arrive or a drive to the grocery store will help allow the buyers to focus on the house, rather than be distracted by petting or avoiding the dog, and miss the best parts of the house. We obviously would disclose the pets living on the property, but keeping toys, dog beds, hair and especially smells out of the house during the listing period would help the home sell faster and for a higher price,” he said.

“I always try to emphasize how we live is not how we sell. Staging is important. It doesn’t matter how nice the home is, if your caged pet is barking like a maniac, the buyers will leave sooner than later and miss the best features of the home. It’s always a sensitive subject, but if there is feedback regarding pets or pet odor, you are doing your clients a disservice by not reporting that,” Greater Allegheny-Kiski Area Board of Realtors® President Maria Sullivan added.

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