Pets and Selling Your Muskoka Home

Karen Acton - Selling your Muskoka Home with PatsMany of us have a pet; a beloved friend and family member that brings us joy, companionship and sometimes security and protection. However, when it comes to selling a property, pets and potential buyers can be like oil and water.

From unpleasant odours, allergies, and in some cases fear, your pet can be a deal breaker. So here are some tips to help ensure that your potential buyer and your pet never cross paths unhappily.

Many people love dogs and cats, but there are people who don’t like them at all. Some prospective buyers may have mild discomfort around a certain type of pet while others could be terrified, especially of dogs or more exotic creatures such as spiders, snakes and lizards. A buyer whose phobia is triggered by your son’s huge, hairy, aggressive dog is no longer looking at your home with the eye of a buyer! The very best practice is to completely remove your pet from the home for showings. This may not always be an option so the next best solution is to confine you pets so they have little or no impact on the potential buyer.

My best advice for the exotic creatures is to get a like-minded friend to take care of them while the home is on the market. Failing that, cover the cage for showings so it cannot be seen.

Litter boxes and puppy pads in corners are a definite source of odour. The smell of urine will not only leave a poor impression with your potential buyer but may leave them with concerns that urine has penetrated into flooring. This could result in “low ball” offers or worse – no offers at all. If you think that urine has gotten into flooring or even sub floors, deal with it prior to listing as, if undisclosed, has the potential to result in costly lawsuits after a deal has closed. It is also good to remember that you’re accustomed to the smell of your own home and may not notice these smells, so ask a friend you trust to walk through and let you know if there are areas that need attention.

If you have pets in your home it will be impossible to completely remove all the hair and dander, but for the sake of the allergic buyer, make a valiant effort to get as much hair and dust from floors and surfaces as possible. Again, a buyer who is sneezing and rubbing their eyes cannot see how lovely your kitchen is! Cats tend to cause more issues than dogs in this regard, and since cats generally get into more nooks and crannies, try to get a damp cloth over all the surfaces they travel. If they have a favorite sitting place cover that spot with a nice throw or blanket to attract the hair and prevent it from being in the air or getting on clothing.

When it comes to showings, even the best behaved cat can create issues with buyers. A nervous cat that realizes a stranger is in the house can dash out from under a bed or race through the home and run under people’s feet as they walk up your stairs. Dogs may be easy-going when the homeowner is around but suddenly territorial when strangers are going through their house. You may not have experienced the aggressive side of your pet and you do not want your potential buyer to be the one who does. Leaving your dog in the yard or garage is not ideal either. These are parts of your home the buyer will want to see too and an upset dog lunging at the door or at the end of a chain is not going to leave a great impression.

Taking your pets away from the home for showings is ideal but don’t forget to put all the gear away. Make sure pet bowls are not out and beds and litter boxes (clean so there are no smells sneaking out) are put completely out of the way.

Remember that your goal is to sell your home, so enabling potential buyers to view it without unpleasant smells, allergic episodes, trip and fall hazards, fear or distraction is the way to do it.

This may seem like a lot of extra work and impractical to sustain but if you home is priced right and shows beautifully, you’ll only have to do it for a short time and you can get back to “normal” in your new Muskoka home before you know it.


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