Tips for selling your home with pets


If you are a household with pets you are not alone… as of 2024 about 66% of US households own a pet! That means that a lot of potential buyers have pets of their own… but the sights and sounds of your pets can be distracting and stressful. Buyers who have pets want to envision their family and their pets living in your space… which means there should be no evidence of your beloved pets in your home when you are selling.

Buyers without pets may be pet free because of allergies. That means they may not even be able to consider your home if there is evidence of pets in your home.

But it can be challenging to figure out what to do with your pets when selling your home. Here are some tips…

Remove the evidence

As you declutter for showings, hide evidence of your pets. This means stashing water and food bowls, hiding litter boxes, banishing toys, crates, beds and cages, tucking away photos. I have one seller right now who puts their dogs in the car for short buyer visits, and another who sent their dog on a vacation at a dog boarding house. Some people have friends or family that can keep pets for a while, some take their dog to work with them, and some decide to buy first so they can move to their new home without having to worry about stressing their pets for showings.

The preferred solution is removing pets from the house, especially the first days/weeks on the market when you will have the highest concentration of showings… a stressful time for the whole household. Here is a summary list of some ideas…

  • Let your pets stay with friends or relatives
  • Board them at a kennel
  • Go on vacation and take them with you
  • Take them to work with you
  • Move out and take your pets with you

Pets can sometimes be the biggest incentive to buy first, sell after.

Clean, clean, clean

  • DEEP CLEAN – deep clean every corner of your house including floor corners, baseboards, walls, upholstery; wash furniture slip covers, quilts, comforters, curtains, throw pillows, and anything that could be hiding pet hair and smells; have carpets steam cleaned
  • STAINS – hire professionals to remove carpet stains, or replace it if they can’t be removed
    • Ask a friend or neighbor without pets to come in and do a whiff test
    • Cat urine is the worst, use an enzyme cleaner
    • Dog odors can get into soft surfaces such as carpeting, beds, furniture
    • Do NOT use air fresheners – people with allergies may react, and many buyers will wonder what you are hiding
  • VACUUM – cat dander and fur from your furry family can build quickly, vacuum not only floors but curtains and furniture where they hang out often (as in at least once every day)

Don’t forget your neighbor’s pets

I have had buyers reject a home because of a dog yapping next door. Talk to your neighbor about keeping pets indoors during showings,  neighbor pets can also be anxious about strangers in your house… maybe you can help with dog walker options. White noise like an outdoor fountain can help mask animal sounds.

Selling your home is always a stressful time, and when pets are part of your family it can be even more stressful. Remember, it is stressful for them, too. Be sure to make time for your pets, and consult your vet if you notice heightened anxiety is taking a toll on your pet… they may have some ideas to help.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results –

Written By

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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