How to Remove Signs of Pets at Open House


If you are a pet owner, one of the most important things you must do when prepping your home for sale is eliminating problematic signs of pets. Potential buyers don’t want to walk into a home and see or smell signs of a pet, even if they own pets themselves. As a homeowner, there may even be pet smells or damage around your home that you haven’t noticed because you’re used to it. Your job as a seller is to find and eliminate these problems to make your home a clean and attractive space buyers want.


Remove Sights and Smells of Pets

The biggest giveaway that pets live in the home (and the biggest turn-off) is pet odors. There are the obvious sources of pet smells, like a litter box or dog bed. Along with these sources, there are also less obvious ways that pet smells linger, whether it’s from fur that they shed or smells in carpets and furniture. To tackle those stubborn smells, you may want to have your home deep cleaned by a professional. A professional deep cleaning will cover everything from counters to carpeting to remove buildup that causes lingering odors.


Once your home has been cleaned thoroughly, you want to keep odors away as long as your home is on the market. You can take some preventive steps by keeping dogs brushed and groomed regularly. U.S. News also recommends keeping pets’ nails trimmed to avoid damage 

from scratches. Vacuum daily, including furniture, and don’t allow pets on furniture where smells could start reforming. Using an air purifier (you can purchase one online for under $75) can keep smells away too, and some air purifiers are designed specifically to handle pet smells.


When you know your home is going to be viewed, opening windows beforehand to let fresh air flow through really goes a long way toward making your home smell fresh. You should also remove a litter box and other obvious signs that a pet is usually around. Make a practice of keeping food and water bowls stored away when they aren’t being used and keep pet toys and treats stored out of sight, too.


Fix Pet Damage

Besides being clean and free of bad smells, your home also needs to be in the best condition possible, which means repairing any damage pets have caused. Pets can leave marks on walls, scratches, and stains on furniture and floors. There may be small things that you wouldn’t notice, so consider asking a friend to come over and let you know if anything jumps out at them. If you have any furniture that’s been marked up by a pet, it may be a good idea to put these pieces in a cheap storage unit while you’re selling your home. In Phoenix, you can rent a 5’x5’ storage unit for as little as $20 a month at the StorQuest - Chandler/Frye facility.


If you have scratches on hardwood floors, you can probably fix those yourself as long as the damage isn’t too bad. Small scratches can be masked with a stain-filled marker, but if you have deeper or widespread scratches, you may need to sand and re-stain a portion of the floor. Stains on walls can be eliminated with a little DIY effort, too. If you have a pet that marks, leaving urine stains on the lower part of walls, K9 of Mine recommends covering those stains with an odor-sealing primer before painting.


Check Outdoor Spaces

If your pets spend time in your yard, don’t forget to look for trouble spots outdoors. Check for holes if you have a dog that likes to dig, and fill in any you find. Holes are unsightly, and you would hate for a potential buyer to step in one and possibly get injured. Some pets chew or lay on plants, so check plants for damage too. And be sure to pick up your pet’s waste before a showing. Along with holes, that’s another thing you certainly don’t want buyers stepping in!


The reality of pet ownership is that fur, smells and even some damage to your home all comes with the territory. Even though your pet is totally worth it, potential buyers won’t feel the same way. Finding these issues and fixing them now will make sure buyers see the value in your home, rather than focusing on pet problems.

Medina James