Don’t Let Your Dog Bite You Where It Hurts! 5 Ways to De-Pettify Your Home Before You Sell


Whether you realize it or not, you and your pet have probably made substantial changes to your home since you first got it. While some things may be obvious - like the scratch marks Sparky left on the door, or the flowers he dug up from the garden - others might be out of sight and out of mind. Beyond damage possibly caused by pets, potential buyers might not always appreciate alterations made to enhance the home for animals. When selling your home as an animal lover, it's good to run through the following steps and consider making changes before putting your house on the market. Easy, affordable or even free alterations could significantly increase the appeal - and value - of your home.

In the Wake of Animal Destruction, Cheap Repairs are Well Worth the Effort

You may have grown used to the signatures your pets have generously signed throughout your home: they may even have a sentimental value, but buyers won't see things the same way. It's best to remove any trace of animal destruction when affordable. If buyers don't like animals, they don't want to be reminded that they're thinking of moving into a past cat or dog paradise. Replacing stained carpets is an easy place to start, and a good opportunity to update the interior. Tears in blinds and curtains are another good example. Even more substantial damage like bite and claw marks on doors, windows and frames might be an easier fix than you think. The surface can often be sanded clean and repainted, or a thin new panel can be fastened over top and merged through a fresh coat of paint across the entire accent. If you have aquariums, check carefully for water damage before the inspector does. Be honest with your realtor about any pet-caused quirks or problems; they will be able to suggest the best ways to correct or reduce the issue.

Consider Finding a Pet-Sitter or Second Home During Viewings and Open Houses

People have allergies to animals of all sorts, and while some house-hunters might find the furry critters cute, others will begin to make unfair assumptions about your home based on the presence of any animals. If you can, find a good friend or professional kennel to look after your pets during viewings and open houses. Also make sure to clean - and remove, when possible - all cages, water tanks, litter boxes, climbing trees, dog toys, gates, ramps and hamster wheels before leaving the house for a viewing. Beyond being a distraction, if your realtor wants to make any quick staging adjustments, these elements will simply get in the way.

It's Wise to Deodorize, But Don't Over-Do It!

After cleaning and tidying, it's inevitable that subtle hints of that lovely 'wet dog' or 'old cat' smell will be lingering in seemingly impossible locations. You've likely grown so used to it that you can't smell it anymore, but get a second opinion and you may find that it’s another potential turn-off for prospective buyers. Sprinkle baking soda on your furniture, carpets and rugs and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up; the soda will absorb a lot of the odour. Following this, use a natural deodorizer to mute any remaining smell. Don't use something too strong. Potpourri wax tarts or candles are a great, subtle solution that won't be overpowering to those with sensitive noses.


Doggy Doors and Cat Flaps Might Be Easy to Replace

If your doors are finished wood-grain or have complex patterns on them, replacing a dog or cat door will be near impossible without also painting or significantly changing the whole door; if the animal flaps are a concern, you should explore getting a cheap replacement door. If your doors are simple, painted wood, though, any carpenter will be able to remove the animal flap and put a solid panel in its place, finishing it off with a fresh coat of paint so you could never tell the hole existed. This extra expense usually isn't necessary, but if your animal flap is already causing drafts or security concerns, it might alter the perceived value of your home – and filling in the gap might be well worth the cash.

Think Outside as Well As Inside

While some animal accents - like a nice, classic dog house or fish pond - can actually increase the appeal of your garden, others - like digging pits, yellowed grass and animal feces - are most definitely downsides. Instant or 'quick fix' grass seed can be a miracle in these situations. Replace torn up garden beds with pre-grown plants if possible. Even artificial greenery might be better than nothing. Remember, it's more about demonstrating the potential of the property than creating a 'perfect home' for all tastes. The most important thing, though, is just to make sure that your yard is tidy, safe and presentable.

Making your home look like it's never been home to animals may be an impossible task, but a few quick changes can demonstrate how clean and versatile it is, while also removing potential allergy issues and negative stigmas. Your pets will thank you for all the ruckus when the extra value of your current home helps them settle into their new place. Get in touch with us today for expert advice on selling your house and finding a new pet-friendly paradise.


Sara MacLennan is the Director of Marketing at Liv Real Estate and a licensed Real Estate Associate. The bulk of Sara’s experience and wealth of expertise lies in on-line technology and marketing both for agents and consumers. Sara is the former National Director for Interactive Marketing for Coldwell Banker Canada where she was responsible for an extensive training program traveling to offices across the country training agents and brokers on marketing and technology. Find Sara on Twitter @edmontonblogger. Digg

One Response to “Don’t Let Your Dog Bite You Where It Hurts! 5 Ways to De-Pettify Your Home Before You Sell”

  1. Dennis & Kim DowneyNo Gravatar 26. Feb, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Great advice, on what can be a tricky issue when you are selling your home.