Staging Your House: What About the Pets?
Staging Your House: What About the Pets?
Staging Your House: What About the Pets?

staging a house with pets in mind

Staging Your House: What About the Pets?

Despite the fact that 68 percent of all U.S. households own pets, pets can still tank your home sale. When home buyers see that a house contains pets, they start wondering what pet damage might be hidden. Even pet owners themselves are wary of houses with dogs and cats, as subtle pet odors could trigger misbehavior in their own animals. But owning pets doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to lowball offers when selling. With these cleaning and staging tips, you can make your house look perfectly pet-free.

1. Repair All Pet Damage

From gnawed baseboards to stained hardwood planks to scratches on doors, walls, and floors, pets can do a number on your home. Before you think of inviting prospective buyers in, repair all major and minor pet damage. Pay special attention to flooring, as hardwood floors and carpeting almost always bear evidence of pets.

2. Shampoo and Launder

You may not notice the pet odors in your home, but they’re there. Odors settle into fabrics around the house, so the first step in eliminating unwanted odors is shampooing carpets, area rugs, and upholstery, and laundering curtains, throw blankets, and other household linens. Vinegar can neutralize everyday pet odors, but for smells caused by urine, use an enzymatic cleaner like these products recommended by Top Dog Tips. Once everything is clean, keep pets off the furniture and carpets until the house is sold.

3. Clean the Vents

If funky odors continue to linger after you’ve cleaned soft surfaces, your ductwork may need some attention. Odor-causing particles can become trapped in ductwork, causing smells to circulate through the house every time the heat or air conditioning runs. You can do a basic air duct cleaning yourself, but if the odors aren’t neutralized, you may need to pay for a professional cleaning. Don’t forget to give floor vents a good scrub. Not only can pet hair and dander settle into floor vents, but if your pet has had accidents indoors, there could be dried urine in the vents as well.

 4. Vacuum and Dust Daily

Unless you can arrange for your pets to live elsewhere until your home is sold, they’re going to continue to make messes. Start a daily vacuuming and dusting habit while your house is on the market to prevent pet hair from accumulating and contributing to odors.

5. Fix Up the Yard

If your yard is sporting holes and bare patches of grass thanks to your dog, this is the time to fix it. Once you’ve filled holes, patch the lawn with these instructions from Country Living. Try to complete this task well in advance so the grass has time to regrow. While your house is on the market, arrange for your dog to do his business while on walks instead of in your yard.

6. Hide Pet Items From View

All your effort will be wasted if the first thing buyers see when they walk into your house is a dog bed or a family portrait with you and your pup. Before open houses and showings, pack all your pet’s belongings into a bin. Keep the bin in your car rather than stuffed inside a closet to prevent buyers from happening upon it as they look around. And of course, always remove your pets from the home before prospective buyers visit.

While you shouldn’t lie to buyers if they ask about pets, giving your house the appearance of a pet-free home can help your sale. However, sometimes it’s hard to notice damage and odors in your own home. If you’re having trouble spotting the areas that need attention, invite a neutral third party to walk through your home and identify problem areas for you.

About The Author

This article was written by Seth Murphy.

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