Sure, pets can be cute but don’t let them blow your sale!

When it’s time to sell a home, pet owners have a few extra tasks on their plate. Moving is not only stressful for pets, but pets can also cause issues throughout the selling process. Since many homebuyers view pets as an indicator of damage and odor in a home, sellers should stage their home so it’s not obvious they own pets. These four steps explain how.

Eliminate Odors

Whether you own a dog, cat or another animal, your house likely has a hint of pet odor. Before scheduling a cleaning, use a UV light to find old urine stains on carpet and upholstery, then apply an enzyme cleaner to spot-treat stains. If you have litter boxes, empty and scrub them before refilling. If the box is scratched up, replace it. Scratches in plastic are havens for odor-causing bacteria.

Outside, The Nest recommends cleaning up dog waste and spraying areas that smell like urine with a hose to dilute odors. If your pet has sprayed urine on hard surfaces, scrub the surface with soap and water before rinsing. While your home is on the market, use walks as bathroom breaks to minimize new messes in the yard.

Sometimes it’s the pet itself that’s the source of odor. Brush and bathe dogs, including cleaning ears and brushing teeth, and wash or replace pet bedding and toys to eliminate the dreaded dog smell.

Keep It Clean

Between shedding, drooling, and dirty paws, pets can do a number on a home’s cleanliness. The easiest way to get it clean is to pay for a professional home cleaning, including carpet and upholstery cleaning. However, if you’re the do-it-yourself type, take a methodical approach to cleaning so you don’t miss anything. Tackle one room at a time, following Living Well Spending Less’ top-to-bottom approach that starts with dusting ceiling fans and door frames and ends with flooring and baseboards. Don’t forget to wash the interior of closets and cupboards, as pet fur and dander can accumulate in these areas.

Once your home is clean, the challenge is keeping it clean until it’s sold. To minimize daily vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting, designate certain rooms off-limits for pets, use slipcovers and area rugs to minimize messes in rooms pets are allowed in, and brush and wipe down pets before bringing them indoors.

Fix Damage

If your pet has a destructive streak, add household repairs to your to-do list. Examine baseboards and door trim for signs of gnawing, doors and floors for scratches and the backyard for holes and damaged plantings.

Holes in the lawn and light scratches in flooring are easy for homeowners to fix themselves. You may be able to repair light scratches in wooden trim with sandpaper, wood filler and paint, but deep gashes call for replacing trim with the help of a handyman.

Board Pets

If pets remain in the home, they’ll continue to create messes and odors. If possible, board pets with a friend or family member while your house is on the market. If that’s not an option, you can try to arrange boarding on days when showings are scheduled. In addition to getting pets out of the house, pack up pet items like litter boxes, beds, leashes and toys so interested buyers don’t spot signs of pets when viewing your home. And, of course, never bring pets when viewing homes in the area that you’re interested in buying. Other sellers have worked hard to get their homes show-ready and pet visitors bring unwanted mess and distraction.

Not everyone agrees on the value of home staging but for homeowners with pets, it’s a necessity. A home that shows signs of pet damage will turn buyers away and lead to offers that fall short of Knoxville’s average listing priceof $225,000.

The bright side of cleaning old pet stains and fixing up flooring? You’ll know what damages to look out for when shopping for your own new home.

This article is a guest post provided by Medina at

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Shawn Swisher

Shawn is an Affiliate Broker with Realty Executives Associates in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you need help buying or selling a home in Knoxville or the surrounding area, just ask Shawn!
Shawn Swisher
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