We love our pets. But, like children, having a dog makes it a little more difficult to keep your house clean and show-ready when it’s time to sell. Keep reading for tips on how to get through the process without completely alienating your four-legged friend.
Stage for success
Ask any realtor, and they will tell you that the way you stage your home plays a huge role in how it’s perceived by your potential buyers. When you have a dog, this will go far beyond moving the furniture and opening drapes. Start by clearing each room to the point where it becomes easy to clean and vacuum on a moment’s notice. You may wish to swap out any old bedding for something that is pet-hair-resistant. Keep your yard clean by picking up after your pet each time he does his business. Chemical burns on the grass may be prevented by pouring water over fresh urine. Remove photographs of your pet and make sure their outdoor area looks neat and tidy. If you have a dog house, pressure wash it and add a fresh layer of cedar shavings to its interior and exterior.
Board Your Best Friend
No, you don’t really have to get rid of your pet – at least not permanently. However, it is never a good idea to leave your dog on the property when strangers are around. When you have an open house planned, consider boarding your dog with a private service provider. You can also establish a relationship with a drop-in dog sitter who may be able to help get your dog out of the home during pre-scheduled showings. This person may be also be able help with small cleanup tasks to eliminate pet odors prior to each home viewing.
Any time you’re showing your home, it should be in pristine condition. You can simplify and speed up the cleaning process by hiring professionals to give the house a good deep cleaning. Expect to pay between $116 and $235 for this service. If you must do it yourself, you can reduce your time spent cleaning by limiting your dog’s access to the main living area. Restrict his sleeping quarters to one location, where you should also keep his toys and food. This will make it easier to keep track of the messes he’s tracked in and to gather his belongings when you need to vacate quickly.
Since dogs leave behind a telltale scent, you should be prepared with plenty of baking soda, vinegar, and other natural cleaning products that eliminate – not cover – odors. Sweep your home twice each day and vacuum every morning before you leave the house, paying attention to corners and baseboards, where pet fur can collect. Invest in an air purifier (which can be purchased for under $100) to help remove the hair and dander from the air that can make things look dirty and trigger an allergic reaction in particularly sensitive buyers.
Dog-friendly places when you need to get away quickly
While most realtors will request a 24-hour notice for showings, that may not always be possible. When you need to leave your house and don’t have time to board your pet, consider spending an afternoon in the sun at a dog-friendly park. Always call ahead to confirm the area you wish to go is pet-friendly.
A note for buyers
Buyers — you also have manners that must be followed when home shopping. Avoid the temptation to drag your dog along with you. The sellers may have allergies, and your pet is a liability. Find a friend to look after Spike while you trek in and out of open houses.
With a little preplanning – and some elbow grease – your home can be an inviting place for buyers and remain cozy and comfortable for your entire family.