The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has just released results of its annual survey on remodeling, titling it Animal House: Remodeling Impact Report. The survey found that 81 percent of respondents reported that animal-related considerations play a role in their decisions about the next living situation.

“In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either have a pet or plan to get one in the future, so it is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership” said NAR President William E. Brown. “Realtors understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family.”

One of the things we want to know is how pet ownership effects home buying and selling decisions.

One-third of pet-owning NAR respondents said that they have often or very often refused to make an offer on a home that they did not consider ideal for their animal.

One downside to animal ownership is their impact on selling a home.  Sixty-seven percent of Realtors surveyed called that impact moderate to major.

How do you sell a home with pets?

When you decide to put the house on the market you need to do some serious housecleaning and repair work before you can command a competitive price.

Real estate agents advise homeowners with pets to always replace things in the home damaged by an animal, have the home cleaned to remove any animal scents and to take animals out of the home during an open house or showing.

You want buyers to be able to picture themselves in your home. This means giving them the space to envision living there, space that is free from too many of your personal things – including pets and all they bring with them. So how do you go about selling your property when you have pets?

Here are some helpful tips to help prepare your home for selling when you have pets.

Remove pets during showings

Ideally you should have your real estate agent showing the home, preferably while you are away. Having a pet in the house or yard can create complications for your agent while trying to show the house, and puts your pet at risk of accidentally getting out during the process. There are also liability issues to deal with as well.

If you are not available to take your pet away from the home, consider boarding them for the day, sending them with a pet sitter or any other alternative option.  While your pet may not be accustomed to this sometimes this is what is necessary when you are making selling your home a priority.

You could be liable for any unforeseen accident

If your pet were to bite someone during a showing you can be held liable.  Statistics show that there are more than 4.7 million dog bite cases reported in the US every year and the average lawsuit resulting from an injury is settled for more than $29,000 and climbing much higher when extensive plastic surgery is needed.

In approximately two thirds of the states in the US pet owners can be held liable for injuries resulting from a dog bite even if the animal has shown no previous aggression.  So while it was previously mentioned that you shouldn’t leave your dog around for showings it can’t be emphasized enough.

Remove pet odors and stains

Our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our emotions, our memory and on our perception of things. A strong odor is in fact one of the top reasons a buyer will pass on a home.  Above all else, this may be the most important tip for selling a home when you have pets; be sure to focus on removing pet odors.

Clean your yard

Not every pet owner is a responsible homeowner.  You may be the kind of person who picks up after your pet regularly, or you might be on the other end of the spectrum.  One of the best tips, when selling a home with pets, is to make sure you don’t neglect the yard as this is just important to some buyers as the inside of the home.

Repair any damage your pet caused

Dogs and cats will inevitably destroy something, including carpets, furniture, hardwood flooring, walls, doors, turf in your yard and your fence.

Regardless of the cost of repair the value you will get for your house will be well worth paying for the repairs.

Prepare your home properly

Selling a home with pets takes work and regular upkeep, but if you maintain your home as if it were pet-free, buyers will have little to complain about and your efforts will be rewarded in the end.