How to Handle Pets During a Showing

October 26, 2016

Sellers who have pets are devoted to their furry friends, but dogs, cats, and other household animals don't always make a home sale easy. "Pets are either an attractive distraction, so cute that they distract prospective buyers from looking at the real estate, or completely the opposite — smelly, frightening, or otherwise off-putting," says Diane Saatchi, a broker with Saunders & Associates in East Hampton, N.Y.

Here are some tips from realtor.com® recently for pet-proofing a listing prior to a showing:

Get the yard ready. Make sure the yard is clear of any pet droppings, and repair any spots where the family dog may have been digging holes. Be sure to double-bag any waste so it doesn't smell up garbage cans in the garage. Also, address any brown or yellow spots in the yard created by pets' urine. Realtor.com® suggests aerating and seeding any bare spots, or even consider replacing patches with new sod.

Watch the smells. Have a professional service clean the carpets and rugs to help remove pet odors. If the odor is too potent, replacing the carpet entirely may be necessary. Also, encourage clients to bathe their pets regularly to help prevent odors.

Check your insurance. An unknown visitor entering your clients' home may prompt even a normally calm pet to lash out. If a potential buyer is scratched or bitten by a pet, your client could be held liable. Have your client check their homeowners insurance to see if they're covered for such incidents. If their pet isn't covered, it may be best to keep the animal out of the house during showings.

Stow away the evidence. Ask that all pet caretaking items — leashes, toys, water bowls — be put away during a showing. Don't forget the cat's litter box, too!

Crate or relocate. If the pets must stay during showings, ask your client to crate them or confine them to an area. Warn other real estate professionals the pets are there so they can let their clients know. The best-case scenario is that your clients will relocate their pets during the showing so they won't distract potential buyers.

Source: “6 Essential Steps for Selling a Home with Pets,” realtor.com® (Oct. 25, 2016)