Worried About Your Home's Value? How to Sell Your Home Where Your Pets Have Lived
Mon, April 19, 2021

Worried About Your Home's Value? How to Sell Your Home Where Your Pets Have Lived


Imagine selling a home where your pets have lived because you need to relocate to another neighborhood. You love your fur babies to death, but do you think your potential buyer will like staying at your house?  A home with pets carry a stigma and may turn off buyers, said Elizabeth Weintraub of The Balance, a website dedicated to personal finance. If you are worried that your house may not sell that well because of your pet, then you need to find out how pets reduce the marketability and value of your home.

Pets In the Home Buying and Selling Process

The National Association of Realtors, America’s largest trade association, found that 63% of US households currently owned a pet while 3% planned to get one. Only 34% said they did not own a pet. 43% of US households would be willing to move to accommodate their pet compared to those who answered “no” (57%).

The respondents bought a home for the following reasons:  their desire to have a home of their own (29%), their desire for a larger home (9%), desire to be closer to family/friends (9%), change in family situation (8%), other (8%), and a desire for a home in a better area (7%). The most important factors for their new neighborhood were its quality (63%), convenient to their job (46%), overall affordability of homes (44%), convenient to family/friends (41%), convenient to shopping (30%), and design of the neighborhood (28%).

68% agreed that community animal policy influences their decision to rent/buy a home in a particular community, unlike those who said “no” (19%) and “don’t know” (13%). For Realtors’ clients, the most important aspects in home search were a fenced yard (49%), a large enough home for household and pet (27%), flooring (24%), dog door (3%), and mud room/animal washing station (2%). Other important aspects were animal pool/outdoor water feature (2%), cat litter closet (2%), and built-ins for food dishes animal beds (1%).

The most common pet-related changes members always or often make to their seller clients were taking an animal out of home for showings (78%), replacing anything damaged by a pet (72%), cleaning the home to remove animal scent (70%), and having the home professionally cleaned (61%). Removing pet objects (47%) and replacing carpet or finishing floors were one of those pet-related changes.

13% of Realtors who consider themselves animal lovers (81%) and volunteers in an organization that helps animals (14%) said they would advertise animal lovers to their potential clients. Only 70% and 17% said “no” and  “Not, but would in the future,” respectively. Among Realtors, they recommended the following to their clients: decluttering home (93%), entire home cleaning (89%), carpet cleaning (81%), removing pets during showings (80%), minor repairs (75%), depersonalizing home (72%), and painting walls (68%). 



Why Does My Buyer Not Like My Pet?

Pets make some buyers queasy, and not everyone grew up being surrounded by pets or going to the zoo. Further, your pet’s playfulness may be your buyer’s pet’s aggressiveness. Pets and owners are different. In fact, many potential buyers will not purchase your home if they think the animal is aggressive.

Pets can be unpredictable. For example, a friendly dog might not like something about another person. Some buyers might also think that your pets jump, vomit, bite, or hyperactive when in fact, not all pets act like this. Animal allergies are a concern as well, and buyers who are allergic may not like a home that has pets, according to David Scott of RE/MAX Valley Realtors in Roscoe, Illinois, quoted by Romana King of Money Sense, Canada’s personal finance website.

“Buyers occasionally are sensitive enough that they ask not to see homes where certain pets, typically cats or dogs, are resident,” he explained. There are also buyers who request to leave immediately if they smell malodorous pet odors.

Even among pet-loving buyers, yellow or dying grass in the front or backyard, half-chewed toys in yards or in rooms, and smelly litter boxes can be a subject of concern. To Damian Ciszek of RE/MAX 10 in Chicago, pet-related problems can last for years. For instance, the odor of pee can linger indefinitely in your house and pets can scratch and chew on woodwork, causing lasting damage.  



How Do I Make My Home More Presentable to Buyers?

Clean your house thoroughly, especially if it has rugs or carpeting, before putting it for sale. Don’t forget to clean the air vents. You may need to call professional cleaners to help you keep your place immaculate. Consider asking your broker or a friend if pet odors are noticeable in your home, as you may not notice the odors yourself.

Mark Santoyo of Chicago’s RE/MAX Loyalty stated, “However, if there is pet hair everywhere, strong pet odour in the house or pet waste around the yard, it can increase the time needed to sell the property and reduce its value.” Vacuum your home every day. Store pet toys and cat paraphernalia away to remove the telltale signs of pets. Change the carpeting or flooring if your pets have urinated on them. When putting your house for sale, it is highly recommended to remove pets or only take them out during showings.

You can also keep them in a small room or crate. Remove online photos of your pets in the house on the furniture, as this can also turn off prospective buyers. This also includes taking down photos of pets from the table-tops, refrigerator, and walls. If you want to sell your home at a high price, you need to invest to fix any problems. Ciszek warned, “It may not be cheap, but it will make money for you in the long run.” Ciszek likens an animal-damaged home to a home that has not been updated for three decades.

You will have to increase your bid by $2 to $3 for every dollar you need to spend to clean or address a pet problem, per Scott’s estimate. To illustrate, the buyer will have to reduce their offer by $20,000 to $30,000 if replacing the floors would cost $10,000. Before showing your home to buyers, be sure to notify your agent and attach a note to warn clients not to disturb your pets. Surely, no home seller would want to see their clients get bitten or scratched by your pets.  


Selling a home where pets have lived can reduce its value on the market. However, owners can make it more appealing by thoroughly cleaning the house and replacing the flooring. It is better for homeowners to address any flaws— which may be costly— to ensure marketability and profit.