Selling a home as a pet-owner is not difficult if you eliminate evidence of the pets in the home. A thorough cleaning job is a good start.

Some people don’t like living in the homes of pet-owners because of the stereotype that pet-owners keep messy homes. However, with thorough cleaning and some careful planning, you can make it seem as though your pets never lived there and avoid losing this segment of potential buyers.

If you want potential buyers to get excited about living in your home, make sure that you remove all evidence of a pet as you prepare to sell your home. By doing so, you can also avoid having to answer questions about whether there are any pets in the home.


Selling your home can be a stressful time for both you and your pets. By taking the initiative to remove the pets and the evidence from your home, you can attract a wider range of buyers.


Start With a Deep Cleaning


If you have pets in your home, a deep cleaning must be performed to remove all evidence of the pets. Some of the areas to concentrate on include:


  • carpets
  • tile and grout
  • floors
  • walls


Have the carpets and tile steam cleaned to get rid of stains and smells that may have settled in. Vacuum thoroughly to get rid of the dander and make sure that there is no dander hiding in corners, as potential buyers will notice. You should replace the flooring in your home if it has become stained or smells. While you might be used to the smell, this is something that buyers will instantly notice which will turn them off.


“Our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our emotions, our memory and on our perception of things. An initial odor on entering a house is sure to stick in the buyer’s mind, and he or she will likely deduct the cost of carpet replacement immediately from an offer as a result.” says Bill Gassett of RE/MAX Executive Realty. “A strong odor is in fact one of the top reasons a buyer will pass on a home.”


When you have pets, a thorough cleaning is likely one of the most crucial aspects of getting your home ready for sale. If you are not sure how to rid your home of the odors of having a pet, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to take on the job.


Take Your Pets Out During Open Houses


“The last thing you want is to attract the perfect buyer, one in love with your house, who also happens to be highly fearful dogs, snakes, or other critters. In cases like this, if your pet is still in the home, that perfect buyer may not get much further than the front porch.” says Michael Corbett, real estate and lifestyle expert at Trulia.


The truth is that not everyone loves pets. If your pets are around during open houses, you could also be opening yourself up to liabilities. Not all home insurance policies cover pet bites or injuries. Before hosting an open house, check to see if your home insurance policy covers this. If it does not, make sure that your pet is not around when strangers come into your home.


Eliminate Evidence of the Pet


In addition to making your home smell free and damage free, you also want to make sure that you eliminate all evidence of the pet. Start by putting away pet accessories and photos that feature the pet. Many pet owners allow their pets to hang out in the yard. If you have a dog or other animal that enjoys outdoor play or lives in the yard, make sure that you patch up any holes in the lawn and fix any other damage caused by the pet.


Most potential buyers are not interested in your personal effects because they want to envision themselves living in your home. Homebuyers see pet accessories, photos and other items as a reflection of the homeowner. You can also expect that a potential buyer will ask you to foot the bill for repairs to the landscaping that the pet has damaged.


Consider Sending Your Pet Away While You Try to Sell


While it may be hard not to have your best friend around, taking your pet out of the home while you are trying to sell will give you peace of mind. You won’t have to worry about whether the pet will attack or bother visitors and you also won’t have to worry about smells and messes.


You also want your pet to be safe without the worry of the pet escaping or getting into trouble while you are distracted with other activities. Having your pet out of the home may also be less stressful for the pet, which is good for the both of you.


If you are not sure whether it will be safe for the pet to stay in your home during the selling period, speak with your veterinarian. Certain types of pets may experience stress when they are exposed to conditions that are unfamiliar to them, such as strangers entering the home. If you want your pets to stay happy and healthy, consider sending them away.


Clean Regularly While Your Home Is on the Market


If you are unable to send your pet on a “vacation” while you attempt to sell your home, you must clean regularly while your home is on the market. Think of each open house or buyer appointment as a new start to selling your home. If you want buyers to see your home in the best light possible, your home must be flawlessly clean and free of personal effects every time someone comes to view your home.


By making your pet-friendly home accessible to everyone, you can assure that the offers that you receive on your home won’t only be limited to people that love pets.


There are a number of cleaners and contractors throughout the Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and Portsmouth areas that we can recommend to help you get your home ready for sale and keep your pets happy as well!