Selling Your Home When You Have Pets

golden retriever sleeping on the bed

Fido and Fluffy might be your best friends, but there’s no doubt about it: they’ll make selling your home a little bit more difficult.

Not only are there the logistics to deal with (where will you put them during showings?), but there’s also all the side effects of pet ownership you’ll need to tackle — the smells, the scratches, the hair, etc.

Are you thinking of putting your home on the market? Don’t want your fur-children dashing your chances of a quick and profitable sale? Just follow these easy steps.

Remove them from the property temporarily.

If it’s at all possible, consider removing your pets from the property while your home is on the market — or at the very least, when showings are scheduled.

This could mean:

  • Boarding them at a veterinary office or boarding facility
  • Taking them to the local park or to a friend’s during showing appointments
  • Seeing if a family member can care for them temporarily

If you want to save on cash (or just miss your furry friend), you might just consider one of these options on the weekends, when showings tend to be most common.

Create a safe space in the home.

If you’re not able to get your pet out of the house, then it’s time to create a safe space for them to stay during showing appointments. This could be a kennel in your garage, yard, or closet, or cage in the utility room — ideally somewhere largely out of sight.

Consider covering it with a blanket to keep your pet from alarming buyers (or getting scared themselves!), and put a note on the cage that says “Please don’t disturb.” The last thing you want is a buyer sticking their hands in the cage and getting bit!

Make sure your pet is up to date on its shots.

Just in case — and to minimize liability — you need to be sure your pet is up to date on all their vaccinations before letting others into the house while they’re present. If they’re not, catch them up with your local veterinarian, and make sure you keep thorough records.

While you’re there, you also may want to talk to your vet about your pet’s stress levels during this time. Many pets get anxious with strangers coming and going, so they may have advice on how to best calm and care for your furry friend during this trying period.

Remove any pet hair or odors.

Next, you’ll want to remove all the evidence — the smells, hair, and other pet-related symptoms that might turn a buyer off. First, consider deep cleaning your carpets. This will get any deep-rooted pet smells out of the fibers, as well as remove any hair or dander. You also might consider an air purifier to keep that dander from affecting allergy-sufferers.

If you can swing it, a robotic vacuum can be a huge help, as it can keep your home hair and dander free without much work and hassle on your part.

Repair any pet-related damage.

You should also repair any damage your furry friend might have done — even if it’s seemingly minor. Small superficial issues can worry a buyer that deeper ones may be at work, so be sure to treat any stains, repair any tears, and fill holes in the yard that your pup might have dug. Replacing or repainting scratched-up doors, fences, and walls is also crucial.

Keep the yard, cage, and litter box clean.

The smell of cat urine is not going to endear a buyer to your home, nor is a step into dog poop. Make sure you’re cleaning up your yard, the litter box, and any other areas your pet might use for bathroom activities multiple times a day — especially if you know there are showings scheduled. If you don’t have time to handle it yourself, consider hiring a neighbor to shovel the yard or invest in an automatic-cleaning litter box to do it for you.

Consider an alternative selling solution.

Finally, if all this just sounds like too much of a hassle, consider skipping the open market altogether. iBuyers like Opendoor, Knock, Zillow Offers, and Offerpad (among many others) allow you to sell your home easily and instantly online — without ever staging, showing, or even listing the property. If you’re looking for a way to sell your home quickly and with very little disruption to your or your pet’s lifestyle, it could be right up your alley.

Harder, But Not Impossible

The bottom line is simple: selling a home when you have pets isn’t impossible — it just has some unique challenges.

Create a plan for how you’ll care for your pet during this time, as well as how you’ll handle showings, and have a back-up in case something changes. Don’t forget to lean on your real estate agent as well; they might have some helpful guidance on how to best approach your pet-friendly home sale.

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By Aly Yale / April 1st, 2019 / Categories: / Tags: , ,

Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.