Selling A Home With Pets
Your Home Is Ready to Sell!
You’ve de-cluttered and de-personalized, staged, freshened up the paint, fixed the glaring evidence of daily life, made sure the beds are made and the floors swept, laundry is hidden away, and all the counters are clean and clear… you’re ready for the Open House and the offers will come pouring in…
Unless you have overlooked one very CRITICAL thing…
That’s right… these two precious faces right here. Your “other” kids, your “furbabies”, your, best buddies. They sleep in your bed, eat from your table, have their own dishes, snacks, clothes, blankets and they are in ALL the pictures….But they can cost you a sale. For real. Pet odors and pet issues are one of the biggest turn-offs in the Real Estate market.
As a Home Inspection Company customer service specialist, I could spend the better part of several days sharing the weirdest and most demanding pet stories and accommodations of the past 5 years. But I won’t. Suffice it to say, I have had to reschedule whole Inspections with all 6 services because “Fido” or “Fluffy” hadn’t been removed or taken care of! … bar none strangest Inspection ever was the high-dollar property that contained a pedigreed pup, multiple framed sofa-sized oil paintings of said dog, and a dog sitter whose job it was to make sure nobody went near or disturbed said dog…. she was there to ensure we did not “stress the dog out”!!! – Weird right? Yes, but hats off to that Seller for not expecting us to handle her pooch. She made sure the dog was taken care of.
Sadly, that is not the case for many of our buyers. There is an entire marketing campaign for a well-known de-odorizer company that is centered around being “nose blind” – In a nutshell, you become acustomed to and learn to tolerate (or simply no longer notice) the smells in your home. But trust me when I say they are there and buyers NOTICE!!! (and they complain too!)
And yes, they can absolutely walk away from your home and not consider buying it due to your pets.
And the truth is, they don’t need to feel the least bit bad about it. Even if they are pet owners themselves. It’s a Seller’s job to remove/cage/handle their pets. We try as hard as we can to be careful and make sure we think on our feet when we get to a home and an unexpected pet is there. (I had an Inspector call me and between fits of laughter tell me “I think the dog was lonely! She followed me up my ladder and poked her head into the attic to see what I was doing up there!”)
Recently, we shared this article on our Facebook:
The article linked there clearly outlines what is (and isn’t) ok for selling a home with a pet. As a former Buyer myself believe me when I yell “LISTEN TO WHAT THE ARTICLE SAYS!” I walked away from no less than 4 homes over that issue. And one of them I didn’t even go past the front porch! Dog beds all over the place, hair anyplace, smells overpowering the wax melters…NOPE. I’m out!
But let’s take a second to look at the chaos caused by an unattended pet during the inspection itself. Doors have to be closed and remain closed (all of them). Certain areas may be unable to be inspected because a pet is housed/contained there and the Inspector can’t let them out (or go in). The back yard or exterior of the home may be inaccessible due to the presence of a pet, or any area of the home for that matter.
These situations have and do happen. And when an Inspector has to skip an area and then return to a home later to check an inaccessible area, there is most likely a fee involved for a return trip to complete the inspection. And as the Seller, it typically falls back on you to cover that cost. The proper handling of pets during inspections is simply to remove them.
And it doesn’t end there! – This article popped up right after the first one in the series! As weird as it seems, they didn’t make it up! People have been sued or sued over pet related issues! It’s not even rare
or uncommon! It happens and it’s making headlines. News Flash: your homeowner’s insurance may NOT cover it if your pooch bites somebody during the Inspection!!! Be sure to brush up on your coverages for things like this if you don’t plan to remove the pet…. (Better yet, follow the advice given in the articles and get Fido or Fluffy out of the house completely.)
I had never heard of these kinds of lawsuits but in the 5 years here, I’ve learned there is ALWAYS something new to learn! And before I sign off for this particular blog post I want to share my absolute favorite “pet accommodation” story…. I received a call from the LA (Listing Agent) on a home and she said (and I quote) “This home is currently being occupied by the Chief of Herpatology of the Zoo. I just wanted to make your Inspector aware there is a locked room in the basement that is full of cages of venemous pit vipers. The door will be unlocked on Inspection day. He can open the door and observe the room from the doorway but the seller doesn’t advise entering the room as the snakes are poisonous. Also, since they are vipers they will begin to hiss when disturbed. It can be a little unnerving.”….Ummmm WHAT???? We did the inspection but it was a quick PEEK in that particular room and he went back after the room had been cleared out to complete the space!!!
As always, thanks for tuning in and remember, we are here to help make your buying/selling experience the best it can be! Check us out on the web! www.stlinspectors.com and don’t forget to like and share! See you next week!