How Pets Can Help You Sell Your Home

It all started with Chompers the corgi, starring in a video to sell his owner's home went viral. 

Then the furry floodgates opened wide. Now there's even a website, Pet Realty Network, devoted to helping animal lovers find pet-friendly real estate agents and property.

Not too long ago, pets were considered a serious hindrance to the home-selling process—cuddly companions that should be hidden at all costs. So what caused the change of heart?

For one, the ever-growing number of animal lovers—56% of homes now have pets—may have helped turn the tide. But more than that, furry faces are just plain good advertising, touching on our emotions without getting too personal. The Internet proves this thousands of times a day when videos such as “Cat vs. Cucumber: Guess Who Wins” get a zillion views.

When used for real estate purposes a pet solidifies the American dream: the kids, the dog, the whole package.

So how do you leverage Quilty the canary dog to help you sell your place?

It’s all about showcasing the attractive things and putting away the unattractive.  If you're wondering where to draw that line as pet owner (news flash: not everything Olly the dachshund does is cute, endearing, or irresistible), here are some tips for every area of your home.

One way to win over pet-loving home buyers as soon as they walk in the door is to show off that essential accoutrement you grab every day when you take your dog for a walk: the leash.

Tastefully hint at a pet-friendly space by showing an attractive leash hung nicely. Key word: attractive. Don't put some ratty old thing that's been dragged through the mud on display. If you have a cotton, canvas, or fabric leash, toss it in the washing machine to give it new life, or pick up a new one that complements the decor. Fake it if you have to. There are many stylish ones out there these days.

Find a cute treats container to display on the counter, and think about upgrading your animal's standard water bowl with a sparkly new and stylish one. A fresh bowl of water paints the right picture. 

Living room
While showing off framed photos of family is considered a serious no-no, it's OK to leave framed dog and cat photos. More and more listings are doing this, as well as shelter magazines and websites. It isn’t as personal as a family photo, but it's successful in implying a space for all types.

A faux sheepskin throw rug can be seen as a romantic element or also a cozy spot for a pet to curl up. Alternatively, place a new, or at least nice and clean, dog bed at the foot of yours.

Dog or cat beds and baskets—if they're clean and have a sensible place to be—are great. But stash the chew toys.

I've suggested that sellers repaint the doghouse with a fresh coat. It freshens it up quickly. Just remember to stick to light colors, as darker shades absorb the sun and heat.

But the most important tip: Make sure the backyard is immaculate (read: no poop. None. Whatsoever. BTW, did I mention No poop?) before showing your property. You want your pet-friendly listing to be memorable for the right reasons.

And remember, the one mood killer to avoid at all costs is any kind of animal scent: Whether it's the whiff of cat litter or just an overall doggy smell, any odor or hair can drive off a buyer in an instant. No smell, no problem.

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