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Ask McEnearney: What Suggestions Do You Have For Dog Owners When They Are Selling Their House?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Lisa Groover of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703-919-4426 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What suggestions do you have for dog owners when they are selling their house?

Answer: We all love our dogs and get used to dog hair, dirty tennis balls and bones throughout the house. When it comes to selling your home, however, these are distractions for even other pet owners.

Start by taking an objective look at your home and yard. Remedy any issues before you put your house on the market. You only get one chance for a first impression, and just think how bad your dog would feel if it was her fault that the house didn’t sell!

  • Clean your dog beds, blankets and carpets with a concentration on removing odors and stains.
  • Have a friend that does not have a dog come over to give your house a “sniff test”. If you don’t pass… replace your carpets and buy a new dog bed.
  • Have a game plan for each morning before you leave the house to put away extra toys, beds, leashes and other doggie “stuff”.
  • Repair or replace scratched doors, ripped screens and chewed up furniture.
  • Take a look outside for holes, trampled bushes, dead patches and dog droppings. People start looking at your home the minute they drive down the street, so a beautiful yard will start their tour off right.

Now the hard part. We all think our dog is perfect and everyone would be thrilled to meet them.

Unfortunately that is not always true. I had a potential buyer leave a home because he was allergic to cats. It was the perfect house for his family, but he could not even go in to see it.

So what do you do? There are choices and some tough decisions to make.

  • I had a client that decided to have her bulldog stay at a friend’s house while her house was on the market. She had dark wood floors and his short white hair seemed to be everywhere, so trying to keep it clean for showings was a big issue.
  • I took a client to see a house where there was the cutest older dachshund named Ernie. Luckily we were both dog lovers, so we were happy to have him follow us around and beg for attention. What if that was not the case?
  • If you leave your dog at home, crating is the best alternative. Lots of people are afraid of dogs, and the stress of having strangers in your home can be hard on your pet.
  • For me… I would make sure that my dog was not present when the house was shown. Work out a schedule with your dog walker, neighbors, doggie day care and real estate agent so that you can have more opportunities for people to see your home.
  • Ask your agent to make notes in the listing and details in the showing instructions concerning your dog. Their name, where they will be located, if they will bark, etc. Put signs on the doors to be careful not to let your dog out.
  • Check your homeowners insurance policy for pet liability coverage.

Keeping your dog (or cat) in mind when discussing the best way to present your house is an important topic to cover during your listing appointment. I am proud to say that I have been selected to represent sellers (and buyers) because of my understanding of my client’s pet needs and concerns.

Working with a pet friendly real estate professional can make all the difference in an already stressful situation.

Lisa Groover is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Old Town Alexandria, VA.  Having had seven golden retrievers since moving to Alexandria in 1989, she is dedicated to helping other dog owners through the challenges of renting, buying and selling their home.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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