Do pets affect your chances of selling your property?

For many people, pets are like family. But does having a pet (or several) affect your chances of selling your property and its selling price?

The short answer to the above is yes – evidence of or the actual presence of your pet/s can indeed affect your chances of selling, as well as the price that your home achieves.

The current buyers’ market in residential properties provides wonderful choice and aggressive pricing for buyers. Sellers are faced with extensive competition from other alternate options, and have to do everything they possibly can to present their homes in the best possible light. Furry or feathered members of your family can leave evidence of their presence that viewers and potential buyers may not enjoy – to the extent that they will cross your home off their list. Here is some advice on what to do to avoid this.

Understand how people may feel: Many (many) people are nervous of animals, including your pet. And it's not only dogs that instill fear – there are plenty of superstitions around cats.

And let’s not even discuss rats, bats or snakes. Or spiders. Also, let’s face it, pets are not always predictable – and your pets aren't their pets. They may imagine that yours bite, jump up, vomit, claw and spit-up hairballs – totally unlike their pets. Their pets are perfect.

An unpopular, but top, pet solution: As hard as this is to say, or accept, the top tip here is to relocate your pets while your property is on the market, or at least while it is being viewed.

Shutting them in part of the garden, the garage or a locked room is not fair on them, and won’t do the trick. Let a friend or relative care for your pet/s, board them at a kennel, take them to work with you, or move out and take them with you.

First impressions count: As Gary Player is famously quoted as saying, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Removing overt signs that you have a pet is smart practice.

Any ‘landmines’ or other gifts left by your pets, including any damages they may have caused (holes in the lawn, scratches on doors) need to be spirited away or fixed. Put food and water bowls away when not being used, and vacuum religiously. Pick up and pack away pet toys, cat trees, carriers and other tell-tale signs.

Odour eaters: Pet smells are a huge turn-off to potential buyers. Often owners are actually immune to these, so perhaps check with a friend if they are picking up any animal-related scents. Cat litter boxes must be keep out of sight and impeccably clean. In terms of pet pongs, cat urine is undoubtedly the worst – but dog odour gets into carpeting and pet beds too. Hire professionals to remove any stains on the carpets, furniture or floor. Otherwise potential buyers will spot them – and form unfavourable opinions about the rest of your property. If stains can't be removed, you need to remove the affected floor covering and replace it.

Smell is a very powerful sense. Use it to your advantage by including fragrant scents in your rooms and cupboards.

Don’t lose potential buyers or price by turning off the pet averse. Take care of the tips above, and work together with your estate agent to facilitate viewings. Soon you and your menagerie will be off to the home of your dreams!

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