A clean looking (and smelling) home helps sell it when you put it on the market. But home sellers who have pets have a challenge: How can you make sure potential buyers can’t tell that you own a pet? One whiff once they walk through the door, and potential buyers can probably tell that Bailey the Beagle had an accident somewhere on the carpet. If you have ever visited a house with severe pet odors during your own home search, you know what that smell is like.
How you stage your own home for sale is key to getting the most for it. Here are five ways to stage your home so that a potential buyer can’t tell if you have (or had) a pet when selling your home.
Follow Your Nose (or a Black Light)
If you have a senior dog, chances are that they make occasional messes due to incontinence. Sometimes, though, you’re not able to immediately clean a mess after a pet has made it, and you don’t discover a stain from it until sometime later. According to the Humane Society of the United States, once those older messes have dried, they will be harder to locate. In any case, you’ll need to try to locate the area by sniffing it. You can also use a UV flashlight (one with a light wavelength of 365 or 385 nanometers - the smaller the number, the narrower the wavelength, and the more that gets illuminated) to find dried urine. Once you have located the areas, you need to clean them.
Clean the Stained Areas Thoroughly
While there are many excellent pet stain cleaners available, if you use them extensively, then their smell only replaces the pet odor. In that case, your potential buyers won’t sniff the air and say, “This person has a pet.” Instead, they’ll say, “This person has a pet and is trying to cover up the odor.” Try this natural way of removing pet stains and odors. All it takes is baking soda, vinegar, a vacuum cleaner, and patience. Also, consider using a heavy-duty carpet cleaner. However, if you still can’t get the stain and odor out, you might consider replacing the carpet. The upside is that it will also increase the home’s value.
The baking soda and vinegar solution can also work for stains and odors on walls and baseboards. For hardwood floors, you can sand the area, then apply a finish.
Dust and Vacuum
Once you have tended to any stains and odors, you’ll want to get up all the dog and cat hair to help your home look clean for potential buyers. Dust all furniture and clean all upholstered items. Just like stains on carpet, you can use a homemade cleaner to do that.
Don’t Forget the Yard!
Walk through the yard to pick up any of Bailey the Beagle’s feces. You won’t want the potential home-buyer to be impressed with the cleanliness of your house only to step in a pile of Bailey’s “leavings” in the backyard (and then accidentally track it through the house).
Keep Pets Secured and Occupied
When your home is being shown, it’s a good idea to crate your pets or keep them in a separate area of the house, and make sure your real estate agent knows about it. Keep Bailey occupied with a chew toy or treat. If it is possible, consider taking them with you. Out of sight means out of mind.
To get the maximum value for your home and a quick sale, it needs to be in the best condition possible. This includes making sure potential home buyers can’t tell if you have (or had) a pet by removing all odors, dusting all furniture and keeping the yard free of pet waste. Then, a potential home buyer might say, “Wow, I couldn’t tell a pet lived here, too.”
Guest Columnist: Special thanks to Cindy A., our guest contributor of this week's blog post. Cindy writes for Dog Friends.