6 Tips for Selling A Home With Pets

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Published: May 23, 2016 Last Updated: April 15, 2024

Selling a house with pets requires special considerations. Here are six smart things to do when you have a pet.

Pets in a home

The first thing a seller needs to realize is that not all buyers love pets, not even all pet friendly buyers love your pet! Therefore, having a plan on how you and your agent will handle issues that involve your pet upfront is a good idea. 63% of pet owners interviewed said that they consider their pet to be a “Family Member.” Approximately 45% of households have a dog and about 1 out of 3 households have a cat.

Recognizing Buyer Turn-offs

Odor is the biggest turn-off and believe it or not most sellers are a little like livestock farmers.

Livestock farmers who live on a farm do not notice the smells that come from the cattle pens and manure piles. Nothing about it seems unusual or unpleasant to them. When a stranger visits that farm they may be repulsed by the smell or find it almost unbearable.

People who don’t smoke, may find a home with smoke odors repugnant and choose to find another home that doesn’t have a smoke odor. The same is true with pet odors. Bottom line is that we get used to certain smells or odors and don’t even notice them since we live with them every day.


Do you have any of these other buyer turn-offs?

  • Pet hair on beds, counter tops or on furniture.
  • A cat that is constantly rubbing peoples leg or jumping up on people’s laps.
  • Barking dog or one that starts barking the minute the door bell is rung.
  • Growling dog that barks or growls at visitors.
  • Sniffing dog that sniffs peoples legs or other areas of the body.
  • A dog that jumps on people or likes to lick people.

Try the Sniff Test

Try the sniff test: have a truthful neighbor or your agent do a quick sniff test. They will discover odors that you don’t realize because you are around them every day.

Check carpeting, rugs, furniture, bed coverings, pet beds, pet cages, litter boxes, food storage areas, and yard landmines.

Does your pet smell or need a bath? Litterboxes are an obvious source of odors that you and your family may be used to yet strangers will identify right away. Ask your agent if they noticed any smells when touring your home.

6 Pet Tips

Make a list of your various options and include names and phone numbers of the people or businesses where you can easily find the information at your fingertips. That way you’re prepared and don’t have to make last minute decisions which can be very stressful.

  1. Have a Safe And Secure Place In The Home
    • Have a special place where the pet can stay when the home is being shown.  This may range from a dog run at the side of the home to a special pen or cage, or even a private secure place in the garage.
  2. A Good Neighbor
    • Leave the pet with a neighbor or friend; develop a list of friends that you can call.
  3. A Local Pet Sitter
    • Leave the pet with a pet sitter, like a baby sitter and preferably at their house.
  4. Visit a friend or go shopping and take the pets
    • Take the pet with you and go someplace when there is an open house or showing.
  5. Special Hours or Days For Showings
    • Have special hours or days for showings and open houses. Set up specific times or days when the home may be shown when there will not be a pet present. Discuss this with your agent, for it will limit the number of people seeing your home.
  6. A Short Vacation At A Pet Hotel or Kennel
    • These will usually have a professional staff to care for your pet. They will be experienced in what pets like and need. Remember to check with them prior to taking your pet to one about their requirements on vaccinations and how they handle feeding your pet, and if your pet needs medication or special food, how they handle this. Also, check about bringing your pets favorite toys.
Dog with pink sunglasses laying on a dog bed

Check your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Homeowners are often surprised to learn that their homeowners insurance policy has special exclusions, restriction and insurance limits regarding pets.

Policies may exclude certain types or breeds of pets, especially those that have a higher risk of biting or injuring people. Other policies may exclude all pets or require a rider be added to the policy to cover the pet.

Checking with your insurance agent about your coverage for liability and medical expense limitations should be done before any open houses or prospective buyers set foot into your home.

Don’t ignore professional advice. Develop a plan on how to handle your pets during open houses and when the property is being shown. Check for and eliminate odors and preferably eliminate any evidence of pets living in the home. Not only will you and your pet feel better during the home selling process but your home may sell for more and faster.

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