Published 20 days ago

Pets & property sales: help or hindrance?

Pets & property sales: help or hindrance?

In the space of just eight weeks, the subject of using pets to help sell your property has made it into the national newspapers. Both the Financial Times and The Times have run features on the art of property sales with pets as prominent features.

The articles picked up on the growing trend for property photographs to show four legged residents, with cats curled up on beds and dogs lounging in living rooms. The vignettes they create are designed to sell a lifestyle – long walks in the countryside or feline-friendly neighbourhoods.  

There are pros and cons to involving a pet in property marketing. Data held by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals claims 53% of UK adults are pet owners so if your photos show a cat or a dog in residence, you may strike a positive chord with a large group of potential buyers.  

Additionally, if you are selling a leasehold property – especially a flat – advertising that the freeholder allows residents to keep pets, can offer a distinct sales advantage. It is, however, worth having any pet-friendly agreements in writing at the time of sale.  

Conversely, pets can be very off putting. The results of a report published in the Daily Express revealed even just evidence of a pet alone can cut over £11,000 from a property’s value, while damage inflicted by a cat or a dog can be even more detrimental. It’s also worth remembering that some people have pet allergies or are scared of domestic animals – even the most well behaved ones.   

Advice for pet-owners when selling

You may opt to play it safe and remove all traces of a pet when your home is being photographed. Keeping cats and dogs is prudent but also consider any pet bedding, food bowls, leads and toys.  

It’s also advisable to remove cats and dogs from your home when you have a viewing booked. Take any dogs for a walk, and put cats outside and lock the cat flap so they can’t get back in. If this isn’t possible, always prewarn the estate agent that pets will be present. Use a crate, carrier or baby gate to confine any pets to one room, or place them in the garden if it’s not too hot.  

All pets have their own smell and it’s quite normal for owners to become accustomed to their own pet’s odours in the home. Even hamsters, rabbits and fish can give off a whiff.  

Our olfactory sense is really strong, so you’ll want to neutralise lingering pet scents before possible buyers turn up for their viewing appointment. Tackle the source first – wash pet bedding, refresh the water in fish bowls, remove cat litter trays and change any sawdust or hay.   

Also pay attention to food bowls – half eaten or crusty Whiskers isn’t an appealing look, so temporarily move bowls to a cupboard. The same for dirty dog towels and pet toys – out of sight is best. Don’t forget to vacuum from top to toe, and use a lint roller to remove pet hair from sofas and bedding.   

One thing you shouldn’t overlook either is any damage that looks like it may have been caused by a pet. Stains on carpets, chewed skirting boards and scratched furniture should be addressed before your home comes to market.  

Finally, think about how your pet uses your garden. Any toilet mess will need picking up and if your lawn is full of yellow patches where your dog has relieved itself, consider purchasing a spot treatment that’s specifically designed to reverse burn damage.    

To discuss the sale of your property and for more home moving advice, please get in touch with our team.

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