The Thing About Pets...
We love our pets. During the pandemic, nearly one in three people adopted a pet. This is both a challenge and an opportunity when staging a listing. Our goal is to help you get top dollar for your listing, whether you sell to a pet lover or not.
When we stage a listing that has been home to a beloved pet or two, professional stagers follow very specific steps to ensure the home appeals to a broad range of potential buyers.
1. Understand the reasons.
Some people have deep-seated fears of particular types of pets due to a traumatic event. Some have severe allergies that cause physical discomfort or pain. Others' love for pets can be distracting.
Our job is to keep the focus on the unique and beautiful home you are selling and to help every potential buyer imagine just how much they'd love to live there.
2. Delay the evidence.
If the listing is occupied:
- Keep the home pristine. If you want the best price for your listing, do a thorough inspection and quick clean before every showing.
- Find a temporary solution. If possible, have the owners find a temporary place for the pet to live for the first week the home is on the market. It can be as simple as staying a few days with a friend who also has a pet.
- Watch the first impression. Make sure there is no visual clue that there is a pet in the home, from the buyer's first look from the curb and the first look into the home. That means no pet tower in the window, no dog toys in the yard or on the sofa, and no pesky pet fur drifting up when the door is opened.
- Clear the first floor. Most buyers enter on the main level, then walk upstairs, and then check the downstairs areas. Keep the first floor (and the upstairs, if you can) free of bird cages, kitty litter, dog bowls, and fish tanks.
- No sneak attacks. If the pet is in the listing during a showing, make sure that you keep the pet safely contained. Cats are notorious for streaking out from under furniture at the wrong time. An excited dog can scare a potential buyer - or distract them. Worst of all, a pet might slip out of the door behind a potential buyer and get away.
3. Eliminate the signs.
Whether or not the home is occupied, there are steps we always recommend:
- Repair any damage. This might mean the screen door, window sills, or baseboards.
- Remove or replace the soft surfaces. Dander and fur will work deep into curtains, pillows, upholstered furniture, and rugs. There is something about warmer weather that seems to concentrate the smell.
- Clear the yard. Clean up all poop. Water the areas where your pets urinate.
- Deep clean the pet door. Cat and dog doors collect dirt. A thorough clean that removes the fur and dirt around the frame will help nip smells at their source.
4. Always get an outside opinion.
If you've lived with a pet for any length of time, it will be hard for you to tell if there is evidence of the pet in the home. A sharp-eyed professional stager will point out the elements you may have missed (a profusion of doggy photos or the treat jar) and tell you if any scent remains.
Successfully staging a listing with a pet is more difficult, but definitely worth the time and energy. If you have a listing with a pet - or a listing that is just not moving where a pet used to live - contact me. You can count on me for candid feedback to help show any property in its best light.