Cleaning Up After Pets: A Homeseller’s Guide

If you’ve ever been a pet owner, you know fully well that dogs and cats quickly become family members. We love them, we cherish them, we worry about them when they’re sick, we want what’s best for them. And we put up with even their least appealing aspects—messes, smells— generally with a cheerful grin.

When you prepare to sell your home, however, those less-than-adorable pet foibles can really strain your patience. Simply put, it can be challenging to keep your home clean and properly staged when you have a messy dog or cat who is present.

In this post, we’re going to offer some tips for pet owners who are trying to get their place sold. How do you get your place neat and clean? How do you ensure your fuzzy family member doesn’t jeopardize your home sale, or risk a bad impression among house hunters? What’s the best way to sell a home when you have a cat or a dog living with you?

We’ll cover all that and more. And remember: For individualized house selling tips, snag your free seller’s report from today!

The Best Way to Sell a House When You Have Pets

Hide the Evidence

First, let’s talk about hiding the evidence that you have a dog or cat in your home.

To be clear, you don’t have to hide everything, and you don’t have to pretend like you don’t own a pet! There’s nothing at all wrong with being proud of your dog or cat; with keeping photos of your pet mounted on the refrigerator; or with having some cat toys or a dog bed visible to buyers.

What you want to conceal is the gross stuff—things that might be a turn-off to buyers, especially those who are not pet owners themselves. Some advice:

  • Put the kitty litter box somewhere it’s unlikely to be seen, either in the basement or garage—and definitely not near the kitchen!
  • Make sure you don’t leave any wet kitty food where buyers might see it.
  • Don’t leave any puppy potty pads where they can be seen.

Get Rid of Odors

In addition, you’ll want to do anything you can to eliminate any pet odors that stink up your home.

Note that many pet owners essentially become “nose blind” to these odors. You may want to ask a friend or neighbor to stop by and give you their honest opinion about whether your house smells funky.

There are a number of ways you can get rid of pet odors. Our tips include:

  • Open up windows and let the place air out.
  • Replace all old pet bedding.
  • As you list and show your home, try to limit your pets to certain areas of the home.
  • If pet urine has stained floors or baseboards, you can try scrubbing with a watered-down white vinegar mix. Alternatively, you can purchase pet odor neutralizers from any pet store.
  • If you have fabrics that have been hit by the pet urine, like drapes or curtains, wash them. Renting or purchasing a steam cleaner is probably your best bet.
  • Shampoo carpets and rugs. Alternatively, hire carpet cleaning pros, but only if you’re ready to contain your pets and keep them off the carpets until the home sells.
  • If all else fails, make sure you use scented candles and potpourri in strategic locations throughout your house!

Conceal Signs of Damage

One more consideration: You may have areas of your home that have been damaged by pets — claw marks, bite marks, you name it.

While a small pet-related issue probably won’t cost you the sale, major and highly visible damage needs to be taken care of—whether that means having a baseboard replaced and repainted, getting new carpet, or moving a thoroughly-gnawed piece of furniture into storage.

House Selling Tips for Pet Owners

Ultimately, as you try to get your house sold, pets can create some hurdles—but these hurdles can always be overcome.

Make sure you have the right strategy to get your place listed and sold. Start by getting your free, independent seller’s report today, and get a personalized recommendation for how you should get your house to market.