Randy Miller

Broker Of Record

Urban Avenue Realty Ltd., Brokerage

Whitby & Brooklin Real Estate

Office 905-430-1800

Direct 905-430-9444

Email: randy@randymiller.ca


 How to sell a house where pets live

Almost everybody loves pets. Me too,  but just not when I am helping clients buy and sell houses. And the reason for this is simple:  Pets can distract in many different ways.

Your pets stink. As a loving pet owner, you may not realize this because you’ve grown accustomed to it. But don’t expect a potential buyer to feel the same way. Potential buyers don’t want to purchase stinky houses.

Allergies. Some buyers are allergic to pets (their saliva, fur and urin). You can’t blame the buyers for leaving your house before even having seen it.

Fear. Especially if people are coming with small kids, pets can become a problem. Pets are not always predictable. Some buyers are afraid of being bitten or terrified of catching fleas.

Barking and Meowing. Pets sometimes get noisy and this distracts the showing.

Nervousness. The buyers may feel uncomfortable when a pet rubs, sniffs, or jumps on them. Even if buyers like your pet they may miss out on the wonderful features of your house because they concentrate too much on your pet.


What to do before a showing

Owning pets could reduce the value of your house if potential buyers notice odors or other pet issues. If you want to get the highest final sale price, you'll have to stage your house and create the illusion that you are not a pet owner  or at least eliminate any signs that your animals were destructive.

Dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs: they all shed or/and stink (litter boxes, cages, fish tanks). So what can you do before showing your house?

The best thing to do to ensure top price for your home is to relocate your pets while your home is on the market. Removing the family pet while selling a home is not usually the option most homeowners want to hear, but it is the best solution not only for potential buyers who want to tour a home which smells fresh and clean and is free from pet hair, but also for the pets who can be upset with strangers touring the property on a daily basis. Let a friend or family member take care of your pet or send it to a boarding kennel until the house is sold.  Putting your pets in the back yard, in the garage or in another room that you keep locked is insufficient, and it's not fair to them.

If you don’t want to take the professional advice and absolutely refuse to move your pets out of the house, then at least minimize their presence in your home.

Get rid of the evidence!

Deep cleaning. Before your house goes on the market, make sure that it gets a huge deep cleaning, behind all furniture, all closets, under all beds, etc.!

Remove litter boxes. Keep cat litter boxes and dog potty pads out of sight and impeccably clean. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the door of a house and being greeted by a full or stinky cat box.

Remove stains. Hire professionals to remove pet stains. Buyers will spot them and form unfavorable opinions about the rest of the house. If the stains can't be removed, then remove the floor covering and replace it.

Get rid of the stink. Not only are odors very obvious when buyers first enter your a home, they are usually very difficult to get rid of (cat urine is the worst). Home buyers know this and could immediately scratch your house off their list. Have all of the carpet and underlay in the home replaced or at the very least professionally cleaned.  You should also have your furniture steam cleaned at the same time.

Other useful tips:

  • Remove pictures of your pet (e.g. photo of showing your cat asleep on the bed)
  • Seal up pet doors
  • Put away food and water bowls when not in use
  • Vacuum  as often as possible
  • Put away pet toys
  • Remove cat trees
  • Pack up all cages, carriers and other tell-tale signs

Curb appeal. The outside of your home is the first thing potential buyers will see, so it's the first place you should look for signs of pet damage.  Curb appeal is hugely important to buyers, so lets make sure that all outside areas of your home are pet free as well.  From your front yard, your back yard, your courtyard, etc.  Make sure your backyard shows no signs of pets. The most obvious issue to address is holes in the yard from a dog that's been digging. Make sure to fill any holes before you open your home to buyers.  Remove all toys and ‘poop’ that may be present.

Selling a home is not easy. With a pet it’s even harder. But if you keep all the above things in mind, it’s all worth it in the end… 

If a move is in your future, let’s sit down and talk about your plans. I will be working for you every step of the way to make sure that you get the highest possible price for your home in the shortest period of time. So, contact me today!


Randy Miller 


Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage  

905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400


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