Thursday, December 27, 2012

How To Stage Your Pet-Friendly House

Pets bring so much joy to our homes. About half of today's Canadian households have at least one pet. Dogs and cats are the most common animal friends and companions, while other popular choices include birds, fish, and critters like hamsters and ferrets. Let's not forget those with a more adventurous side who prefer more exotic pets such as snakes, spiders and lizards (as long as they follow local laws, of course).

Our pets are a source of companionship, and also a form of protection against intruders, so are definitely considered genuine members of most families today. But let's be honest: not all homeowners are pet lovers, and not all potential home buyers would warm up to the idea of pets in the property. When it comes to staging the home for the buyer's market, several procedures and strategies have to be taken to make sure that the home is as welcoming and marketable as possible to broad market base, whether they like pets or not.

Below are a few pet-friendly suggestions to get your home prepped for potential buyers, while also ensuring that your animal friends are not neglected or forgotten while your house is up for sale:

Arrange alternative lodging for your pets in the meantime. This is not an easy or popular thing to do, especially if you are very attached to your pets. But the easiest way to keep your home in the best staged status is to keep them somewhere else for the meantime, especially if you are using rented furniture. Check with neighbors or extended family who may be able to accommodate them for a while; they may not even have to be that far from you, such as within the neighborhood or down the street. If you alternative lodging arrangements for your pets is not a possibility, just make sure pets are not in the property during showings or open house.

Get pet stuff out of the way. Those cat litter boxes, dog potty pads, bird cages, food or water bowls, pet toys, and other accessories should be out of view. Even if your pets are elsewhere during a showing, seeing pet accessories would turn off a client who is allergic to pets or not a fan of pets. By the way,remember to also remove photos of you and your animals tacked on to refrigerator doors or displayed on shelves and work desks. Also, avoid posting pictures of your pets posing in different areas of the house in online listings.

Clean, clean, clean. Stains should be removed from carpets and area rugs; stubborn stains and dirt may require the expert solutions of professional cleaners. Pet hair must not be found on beds, couches, and other furniture. Always remember that if you choose to still have the pets around while the house is up for sale, cleaning must be done regularly, perhaps even daily because pet hair and/or furs can easily accumulate.

Absolutely no pet odors. This is a major turn-off for potential home buyers, and signals neglect or poor maintenance of the house. The quickest way to start removing pet smells within the house is to open windows and allow fresh air in to circulate. If you are having your home cleaned professionally, ask about enzyme cleaners or other odor-removing solutions that can be used. Some people have allergic reactions to air fresheners, so it may be best to stay away from those; instead, air sanitizers or fresh-smelling scented candles may be better. To be sure your home is pet odor-free, have a neighbor or friend come in and do a whiff test.


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