Sell Your Home by Promoting it as Pet-Friendly

A house that Fido and Fluffy love could fetch your asking price

When it comes to selling a house that might sit on the market for a while, one of the best ways to attract a different breed of buyer is to appeal to those who plan to share the home with their best friends: the four-legged kind, that is.

“Pet owners are bonded to other pet owners, so it’s a real selling tool if you show that your home is good for pets,” says Francine Hardaway, an Arizona Realtor. She adds that for the most part, this applies to dog owners. “Cat owners are less particular about things than dog owners, although cat owners like homes without drapes and other window treatments that cats can climb.” Almost any home can be marketed to pet owners and if you take a little extra time to highlight the pet-friendly aspects of your house, it just might sell more quickly.

On the cheap

Sprucing up your house to appeal to pet lovers doesn’t have to be expensive. Juliet Johnson of www.julietjohnsonstaging.com in Essex County, N.J., suggests sellers start by hanging a leash or two on a coat rack by the back door and placing a large jar of dog biscuits on the kitchen countertop. “Set an inexpensive dog bed at the foot of the bed in the master bedroom or in the family room, and be sure to put a dog or cat magazine on the coffee table,” she adds.

Tell your real estate agent that it’s fine for prospective buyers to bring their dogs along to scope out the property. Angela Warren, a real estate consultant with RE/MAX Allegiance in Alexandria County, Va., suggests that sellers set out a water bowl out for a buyer’s dog. “Sellers often want to leave food for pets, however, pet owners are often brand loyal and are concerned about feeding unknown products,” she says. “The water bowl is a simple, safer option.” She adds that buyers are often impressed when sellers visibly show their love for their pets, so post pictures of the family dogs and cats along with a list of local pet shops, activities and dog parks on the refrigerator.

Pricier options

“Hands down, the best pet-friendly investment is to install an electric, invisible fence around the perimeter of your yard or a wooden fence around the property, while the newest thing is to put a pet bath in the laundry room or garage,” says Sandy Nettles, a Realtor with AgentOwned Preferred Realty in Mount Pleasant, S.C. She adds that a surefire attention-getter is a custom-built doghouse that’s a replica of the main house.

It’s equally important to hide those parts of a pet-friendly house that may initially turn even the staunchest pet lovers away. “Realtors everywhere love Febreze, so you should spritz all of the furniture and dog beds before a showing to eliminate any odors,” says Nancy Sublette, a residential interior designer in Chicago at www.nancysubletteinteriors.com. “Outside, a specially designated area with wood chips or pea gravel makes for easy cleanup. The lawn should be immaculate when you show the house. If you can’t do it, hire a pooper-scooper service.”


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