Is it OK to leave your pets and all their stuff out when showing your home for sale?
In a word, no.
“A lot of people are fearful,” says Stefania Cardinali, an associate real-estate broker at Citi Habitats in New York City. “Not everyone is familiar with dogs and cats.”
Beyond buyers’ phobias and allergies, there is also the potential for mishaps like biting, jumping or clawing, Cardinali says, which could be disastrous for a sale.
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As a general rule, she suggests, it’s best to remove your pet from the home during showings. Take your dog for a walk or your cat for a visit with the neighbors.
You should also do your best to minimize any evidence of shedding.
“Pet hair is a nuisance,” Cardinali says. “You want to make sure people can sit down on the couch” without needing to use a lint brush afterward.
“A showing is not just about looking,” she says, “but about relaxing and enjoying the space.”
And when it comes to pet toys and accessories, says Joan Dineen, an architect and dog owner who recently put her Manhattan home on the market, the fewer the buyer sees, the better.
“You want to guard against someone just hating the idea that an animal lived there,” she says. “People don’t want to feel like, once they move in, there will be any hint of it.”
Storing everything associated with a pet before every showing can be onerous — if not impossible, because of space constraints. So Dineen suggests a targeted approach.
First, eliminate any real eyesores. It would be a very bad idea, she says, to have kitty jungle gyms displayed prominently in the living room.
Leave only those accessories that work with your home’s décor.
“A dog bed should look like a pillow you’d want to have in your house anyway,” Dineen says. “You can get some beautiful toile de Jouy and other designer-friendly fabrics from companies like Harry Barker and Jax & Bones.”
Just before each showing, she says, thoroughly “de-fur” all surfaces and make sure there is no visible pet-related damage.
Cardinali says she recently showed a Manhattan apartment where the dog and a multitude of dog-related items were left inside, much to her dismay.
“There’s a gate that goes in front of the spiral staircase, a dog ball and leashes and towels,” she says. “When you walk into the place, it’s right there, and it spoils the flow.”
Better to play it safe, Cardinali says, to “minimize the potential objections and nuisance factors.”