Mistake 7: Everyone Loves Pets, Right?
Wrong! Even people who love pets may not love your pet. Buyers and/or their agents may be dressed up when viewing property and may not want to have dog hair or dog kisses on their clothing. Many people are allergic or even afraid of animals. When your house is being shown, the best place for your pet is out of the house. Take the animal on a walk if she cannot be kept at a friend's house or a kennel during your showings. If this cannot be accomplished, at least keep her in the yard or, better yet, in an outdoor pen so that the potential buyers can appreciate the yard.
If your dog is barking the entire time the house is being shown, the amount of time the buyer will spend is going to be much less than if the dog was not home. Even dogs that don't normally bark may do so when the house is on the market. The stress of strangers coming through the house, the break in the routine, and the fact that you are not home can make a good dog turn bad.
Also, pick up food and water dishes so they don't get accidentally tripped over and spilled. Cleaning up dog droppings will allow people to walk through the yard comfortably, and daily vacuuming of the carpet and furniture will keep the hair down.
It seems that more people are allergic to cats than any other animal. Vacuuming up hair is very important in a house with cats. Be sure the cat box is in an inconspicuous place and cleaned out several times a day, including sweeping up around the box where litter may have spilled. If you do not want your cats outside, put a note on all the doors warning people not to let the cats out.
Cats can become very skittish when strange people are in their house. A normally friendly cat may hide or even bite if he receives unwanted attention. Another sign asking that no one pet the cat may help prevent this.
Fish tanks can be an attractive feature—when they are clean. Watching live fish swim around in an interesting aquarium can be soothing. However, if your tank is not clean, a buyer may assume that there are other things you haven't maintained. A dirty fish tank can also smell bad. It can even smell like mold. The smell of mold will turn a buyer off. Even if it is coming only from the fish tank, the smell may stay in the buyer's nose as they walk throughout the house, and they will assume the smell is everywhere. If it is a large tank, especially if it is sitting on the floor, a buyer may also be concerned about potential water damage to the floor underneath.
Reptiles have a particular odor that cannot be hidden. While your house is on the market, the best place to keep your reptiles is at someone else's house. If you cannot do this, be sure you clean the cages daily or more often if possible. Keep good ventilation in the room where they are located. Because many people are afraid of reptiles, it is best to ensure that they are in a secure location and not allowed to roam the house when it is being shown. Cover the cages when you can.
Clean cages and a clean floor around the cage are very important. If your bird is on a perch, you may want to consider a tether to keep it from flying at a potential buyer or jumping from the perch to someone's shoulder. Many people, especially children, will stick their fingers into birds’ cages. This can be a liability to you if someone is bitten. A warning sign adjacent to the cage will help prevent fingers in the cage, and if it happens anyway, the sign is protection against lawsuit damages.