Pets are members of the family. For pet parents, pets are not just lovely companions, but fixtures of our homes. And once you have had one, it becomes increasingly hard to imagine life without them. You could say that pets are kind of like Pringles— “once you adopt, you can’t stop!”
According to a 2020 report by the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), 58% of Canadian households own at least one dog or cat. While it was a close race, it would appear that the majority of Canadians are cat people. There are currently 8.1 million cats populating our homes, compared to only 7.7 million dogs.
When it comes to selling homes, however, pets can pose a bit of an obstacle. Sadly, a 2019 article by MoneySense reports that our furry friends can negatively impact the sale price of our homes for a number of reasons.
Recent projections estimate that as many as 20 to 30 percent of young adults have or will demonstrate an allergy to pet dander. Experts suggest that these numbers are also correlated with, and in some cases exacerbated by, existing medical conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.
Sometimes, however, even the evidence of pets is enough to make a turn off prospective buyers. Pet hair, strong pet odour, or pet waste around the yard, yellow or dying grass in the front or back yard, or permanent damage to a home’s woodwork as the result of scratching or chewing can increase the time needed to sell then property and reduce its value.
While some of these effects are permanent, many of these factors are entirely manageable! If you are a pet owner who is interested in selling your home, here are some tips for getting your house sale ready:
Get ready to deep clean your house from top to bottom. Realtor.ca suggests beginning by opening up all the windows in your place to maximize air circulation and help eradicate unwanted smells.
From there, get ready to scrub! Wash floors, baseboards, and pay other spots where your pet may have had an accident with odor neutralizing cleaners, vacuum your floors, and change your air filters. In some cases, be prepared to add a fresh coat of paint on walls or doors to give them a post-pet refresh!
Pay particular attention to fabrics, such as rugs, blankets, pillows, blankets, curtains, and removable couch cushions since they can hold pet dander deep within their fibers. For serious smells, consider renting a carpet shampooer or steam cleaner to really penetrate each individual thread.
Finally, leave no object unwiped! Pet dander is an airborne allergen, which means it can float through the air and settle on pretty much anything.
No one wants to be the parent of a smelly animal, but sometimes, we become “nose blind” to their odours. That’s why it is important to outsource smell tests. Bring in a friend, or ask your broker if odours are noticeable, and after giving your house a thorough cleaning, ask them again!
If pet urine has soaked through to the pad and flooring below your carpets, you will need to hire a professional cleaner. If they cannot remove the stains, you will likely have to replace them.
Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to cover pet stains with an area rug or strategically placed furniture. As the experts at Rocket Homes observe: “if buyers, or their real estate agent, see that you're hiding something, they'll wonder what else you're hiding and probably move toward the door.”
Removing pets from the home while the house is on the market is key to keeping it clean and saleable throughout the process. If that is not a possibility, take pets out during showings or keep them confined in a small room or crate.
Also, experts also advise sellers to remove pet litter, toys, or any other evidence of pet presence, as even the sight of these objects is sometimes enough to turn off prospective buyers.
At McGarr Realty, our team is here to help guide you through every step of buying and selling homes. We can offer guidance on all pet-related matters and will even help you to go through a “pet checklist” of sorts to ensure that your property is sale or move-in ready! So, if you’re ready to get things moving, get in touch today!
You can reach us at our St. Catharines office at 905-687-9229, or at our Niagara-on-the-Lake office at 905-468-9229. Or send us a message on our contact page, HERE.