Okay, I have to start off by saying that I have not only owned dogs (and other pets) my entire life, but I also firmly believe that animals end up being the most loyal of companions throughout life. Provided pets are adequately cared for, loved, regularly exercised, fed, and kept warm, I am a strong advocate for people having them.
But, there is a time and place for an animal to be present. And, when you are trying to sell a home, this is not an optimal time. This is a delicate subject that is not being communicated to sellers. This is more than evident when we browse through interior photos for listings. In fact, I just closed a Realty Office website, where I found photos of a beautiful home listed for sale. My browsing session was going wonderfully, until I clicked to enlarge the photo of the living room. I gasped to find a beautiful, big-eyed Bull Mastiff, dead-center in the photo, staring me down. He/she was the focal point of the photo. And, if you know Bull Mastiffs, you are fully aware that this is one of the largest dog breeds out there.
Although this dog is beautiful, and the owner is probably very proud of it, the buyer's psyche automatically starts its crazy, rampant processes. 8 out of 10 buyers automatically believe that there will be an odour, damage to the property throughout, stains that are impossible to get rid of, and even a build-up of animal hair and/or dander. The true case may actually be that the owner takes immaculate care of the property. Maybe that dog was just visiting for the afternoon. Maybe there is actually no trace of a pet within the home.
We are talking about assumptions based on visualization and imagination. Including photos with pets in the frames is something we really should be avoiding, at all costs. They are just acting as a trigger, sending the majority of initially interested buyers running away from the listing. They will NOT call to schedule a showing. Remember, buyers are not at all interested in listings that make them feel that they will have to complete work on in order to move in. Pet damage/odours/stains translate into "work".
Best case scenario, the home-owner should enlist the help (pet-sitting) of an outside source right from the moment they decide to list their home, until the new home-owner takes possession. This, of course, is most important in the case of indoor pets. At the very least, we should be ensuring that the photos used in marketing materials, on-line and off-line, do not include pets of any sort.
But, THE MOST important thing that we impress upon our clients, is that pets cannot be present on the property when the home is being viewed. But, not only must the pet be absent, all signs of a pet must be removed or packed away as well. This means food dishes, beds, toys, treats, hair, and all stains must be out of sight, taken care of, thoroughly cleaned. We also have to remember that there are many people out there who have pretty severe allergies to animals (hair/dander). If a potential buyer enters a property they are interested in, but starts to have an allergic reaction, this is an obvious deterrent. This buyer will promptly leave, and become discouraged with the property. Most likely, you won't hear from them again.
The main thing we tell our clients is that the process of purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions people make in life. Because it is so emotionally charged, and involves a large investment, the psyche of buyers works in mysterious ways, and creates lasting/concrete impressions in the brain that just may not make common sense to you and me.
Rhonda Wilson - CCSPTM
Home Staging and Decluttering Services
We transform properties into highly
sought-after products that sell in half
the time and for 7-10% more money.
Through personal experience, extensive
research and training, and a compassionate
approach, we De-clutter living/work spaces for
up-lifting and positive life changes.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada