Staging a House with Pets

It should really go without saying that if a potential buyer steps on a gift left by Fido or Fifi in the yard, they’ll probably remember your house forever – and NOT in a good way. Apart from the obvious, there are a number of things that will alert potential buyers to the presence of a furry family member that many homeowners don’t necessarily think of during the staging process. Whether you’re selling your home yourself, or you’re a real estate agent working with clients who have pets, here are some steps you can take to maximize a home’s potential.

Minimize Pet Presence

It’s ideal to have the pets stay away from the home for the entire duration of the showing process, but if boarding the pets (or sending them to live with a family friend or relative) is out of the question for either financial or emotional reasons for you or your clients, you can focus instead on keeping all signs of the pets put away – including toys, pet beds, food and water bowls, and any other accessories that might be lying about.

Pets should be kept in kennels or cages while the house is being shown with a note warning buyers not to bother them. Even the most well-behaved pets may act out if strangers are in the home while their owners are away. Even if your seller is positive that their pets are well-behaved, many buyers won’t appreciate the presence of even the sweetest animals.

Seeing is Believing

Even though the house is probably being sold unfurnished, repairing or replacing furniture that’s been stained, scratched or chewed is a good idea for both olfactory and aesthetic purposes. The same goes for any fixtures that are more permanent – moldings, doors, floors, and windowsills should all be checked for signs of pets.

Don’t Let Pet Odors Sour the Deal

Pet odors may be hard to eliminate – but they’re even harder on a home’s competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Potential buyers who are greeted with the telltale ‘pet’ smell will often be busy wondering how they’ll be able to get rid of the odor instead of focusing on the positives of the home. Even if a buyer isn’t consciously aware of the smell, even the most subtle of unpleasant odors will negatively impact the entire home touring experience.

For real estate agents, it’s important to tread lightly when talking about pet odors with your sellers. Sometimes, owners become used to the distinct smell of their home and may become offended if you mention it. Emphasize that you only have their best interests in mind, talk about how finicky many buyers are, and remind them that the investments they make now to eliminate odors will only help them in the long run.

It may seem like too much emphasis is being placed on the importance of pet odor, but it’s a known scientific fact that smells and memory are closely intertwined – and the goal in staging a home is to create as many positive memories for potential buyers as possible.

The Grass is Always Greener

Dogs and cats may love grass, but that doesn’t mean that they care about how it looks. Obvious holes in the yard – either caused by digging or ‘burn’ spots caused a pet doing their daily business – can turn off potential buyers before they even walk in the door. The same goes for scratch marks on doors – they’re easy to ignore when you’re used to seeing them every day, but homebuyers will be looking for anything and everything about a home that isn’t “just so” when they’re touring it.

It may seem time consuming to address these areas before selling, but investing the time now can mean a higher selling price later. Elite Realty is a real estate brokerage in Las Vegas committed to helping agents and homeowners at every step of the buying and selling process. Call 702.835.5255 to find an agent or to join our brokerage team!