Around the Asheville area, it’s very common to walk into a place of business and be greeted by the office dog. For many of us, we immediately get a good vibe about the company. Of course, they must be good people if they love dogs!
Being a Real Estate Broker I have been blessed with the ability to bring my dogs to work with me. Sometimes they even get to help out. A few years ago I marketed and sold a Boarding Kennel / Training facility where two of my dogs helped with the photo shoot to advertise the property. On another occasion, I was asked to bring my Tag along when listing a home. The owner was in her 80’s and the thought of selling her family home was very stressful. Tag sat at her side and gave her comfort through the process. A friend of mine is a home health nurse and often takes his dogs along when visiting home-bound patients. He says this always brightens their day. A photographer that I know in Florida has used his dog in many photo shoots for jewelry and other items.
When I decided to change real estate offices, I interviewed with several companies. Everyone is positive that I picked Town and Mountain Realty because they have truly gone to the dogs. On an average day, you will see a half dozen different dogs trotting around. As cute a Frankie Doodle is, he really isn’t the reason that I picked this office but he told me a lot about the office. He told me the office has a heart. This is a place that cares about every person that enters the door. Just the other day I was greeted by the secretary Kassie as I pulled in the parking lot. She was walking two visiting dogs while their owners were discussing an offer on a potential new home. How many employers would tell their secretary “Yes! Go play with the customer’s dog so they can concentrate”. Not many people get the significance of that one little act of kindness. It says a lot about the office I work at and the people I work with. It makes your work environment feel much more inviting. And it doesn’t hurt to always have a fuzzy face to cuddle with when you are having a bad day!
(I wrote this article for the next Pet Gazzette Magazine but here is a sneak peak!)
56% of homeowners share their home with pets and in the Asheville area, it’s a pretty good guess that this number is higher. WNC loves their dogs and when it’s time to sell our home we have to balance our companion’s needs with the needs of a potential buyer.
Most internet articles will tell you to send Skippy on a vacation. That’s as likely as sending the kids to boarding school so the house can stay organized. Skippy isn’t going anywhere so we need to work around this. There are two aspects to selling a home with pets that we need to look at; cleanliness and logistics.
This is the time to be honest with yourself. Even if you groom your pets daily they still bring dirt into your home. Give everything a good scrub down. Vacuum daily to remove pet hair. Wipe down base trim and wall corners that your dogs rub up against. Remove nose prints from windows before each showing. Repair any damage that your pet has done to your home. Clean litter boxes multiple times a day and use high-quality kitty litter to help mask the smell. Put away toys and remove any pee pads. Pay attention to odors. We get used to the odor our own pets bring to our home but be sure that buyers will smell it. Use Fabreeze liberally, baking soda in litterboxes and carpet cleaner on the rugs. In the summer, run your air-conditioning during showings and put a good HEPA filter on your furnace to help filter the air. Even if a potential buyer is also a pet owner they will be more grossed out by other peoples “dirt” than they are by their own so eliminate it as much as you can. Don’t forget the yard. Buyers look for omens to tell them if this is the house for them and stepping in Skippy’s little “gifts” is not a good omen! Lastly, don’t be surprised if your pets start having house training issues. They feel your stress plus the added stress of strangers coming in when you are not home. When pets get stressed, accidents happen.
So what do you do with your pets while your home is being shown? Cats will pretty much disappear but if you have one that might be an escape artist then invest in a large dog crate or cat pen for extra security during showings. Locking Kitty in a bedroom is not a good option. We want buyers to have full access to your house and not have to worry about letting your pet escape. Dogs are another story. It IS NOT ok to let your dog loose in the house when it is being shown. This is a very bad idea. Even people who love dogs will be nervous around a dog they don’t know and you know what? Your dog will be afraid of them too. I don’t care how friendly and well socialized Skippy is, their home is being invaded by strangers and this puts them in a bad spot. Do I guard the house? Do I let them in? This is not fair to Skippy and it’s unfair to put him in this situation. You have the ability to set your showing instructions to give you some lead time when your home is being shown. Give yourself enough time that you can run home and crate your dog or remove them all together. Maybe this is a good time to check out a doggy day care in your area or maybe a dog walker that can run over and get Skippy out of the house for an hour. If they must stay home and a crate is not an option, put them in the laundry room or a bathroom (think small, easy to view from the door) and put up a secure baby gate. This confines your dog and gives them a barrier between them and the intruder, hence a sense of security for everyone.
Selling a home is stressful for everyone but with some planning and a game plan, you can balance this and make it work for everyone!
– Susan M. Young is a long standing Asheville area Real Estate Broker and has been active in dog sports with her Golden Retrievers for over 20 years.