Your Clients’ Pets & You

Family with their pet dog

Have you noticed that pets are playing a much bigger role in today’s housing market than they have in the past? You’re not alone.

“[A 2017 SunTrust Mortgage survey] asked recent home buyers why they were buying their first home and their dog was the third most commonly cited reason, coming above children and marriage. Only more living space and the opportunity to build equity came above the furry companions.” – Money magazine

Whether you’re a buyer’s or seller’s agent, your clients’ pets can pose some hairy challenges. Here are a few ideas to help you plan ahead and create a pawsitive experience.

Tips for selling a home with pets:

Despite the popularity of pet ownership and the rise of pet-friendly real estate businesses, it’s generally considered a good idea to minimize the more unpleasant signs of your clients’ furry friends when putting a house on the market. Look for ways to tactfully tackle:

  • Shedding, odor & waste. If pets are going to stay in residence while the home is on the market, the seller will need to think about strategies for keeping flooring and upholstery clean, poop scooped and odors ousted.
  • Clutter! Just as the humans in the house need to pack and declutter, so do the pets. Clients should reduce the number of pet toys, bowls and other accessories to a minimum and especially consider hiding the most unsightly (AKA well-loved!) of the bunch.
  • Food & water. Your client’s pet may be used to grazing at a food bowl throughout the day, but that can lead to a lingering smell. Ask your client to consider feeding at defined times of day and then cleaning and storing the food bowl out of sight. Naturally, they’ll want water to be available at all times, so you can suggest a variety of attractive fountains or bowls that will complement their décor.
  • Pet damage. From scratches on hardwood floors and bald patches on carpeted stairs, to tooth marks on baseboards and lingering stains, pets can be hard on a house. Encourage sellers to make repairs if they can, and don’t forget to check the lawn and landscape for digging damage or dead spots.

Depending on your budget (and how often you handle clients with pets) you may want to develop a relationship with a local pet boarder and/or cleaning services that specialize in pet stains and odors. A gift card, coupon or other referral discount may make your clients happy while also making their house easier to sell!

Looking for a way to start the conversation? Share our story, Prepare a House for Sale (Despite Kids & Pets!)

Tips for finding pet-friendly homes:

Though homebuyers typically don’t have to worry about things like pet deposits—the way renters do—there are things that can make a potential home or neighborhood more or less pet-friendly.

  • Local amenities. Some buyers may prioritize nearby dog parks or dog-friendly trails and recreation spaces in their home search. Proximity to veterinary care is also a plus.
  • Yard requirements. Will your buyer need a yard that’s a particular size, or a fence that’s a particular height?
  • Home features. Some pet-lovers may be interested in a screened-in porch, pet spa, mudroom, or other pet-pleasing home features. Others may be concerned about an elderly pet’s ability to manage stairs, or worried about their flooring options with a big breed. Here’s where new homes can really be your go-to, since some of these selections may be available to clients who build from the ground up.
  • Pet restrictions. Local municipalities and HOAs may have restrictions on the number and type of pets residents can keep, as well as additional ordinances on leashing, noise, vaccinations and waste disposal. If your sales area has breed bans or communities with strict pet covenants, you’ll want to let your clients know before you spend too much time touring there.
  • Neighborhood wildlife: Small dogs and cats + coyotes don’t mix. Enough said?

Paying attention to your clients’ pet-oriented priorities is just one more way you can demonstrate your commitment to their positive homebuying experience—and maybe earn some referrals in the process!

Already have some pet-owning clients or leads? Share our Moving Checklist for Pets!