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Becoming a Best Seller

“Becoming a Best Seller”Fido’s no asset when selling your homeSharon BeattieFolks in the Roaring Fork Valley love animals. We dress our golden retrievers with Western bandanas, enjoy visiting with animal mascots of local businesses such as the kitty-litter-trained bunny at Flower Mart and the cat who likes sleeping in the Book Train display window, and we drive around town with dogs leaning proudly and precariously out the passenger- (and sometimes driver-) side windows. But we should not become complacent and assume buyers who view our homes feel the same way about our pets as we do.The pet who grins at you broadly and wags her tail whenever you come home could be the same dog who cornered me and my customers in the car barking ferociously until we decided we didn’t need to see the house after all. An owner’s assurance that his or her animal “never hurt anyone” is not reassuring. There’s always a first time. Why take a chance that you might be responsible or liable for your animal injuring someone? Even if you are cautious and enclose the dog in a garage, dog run or separate room in the house, it’s distracting and leaves a poor first impression. The best solution is to take the pets out before showings. Ask your Realtor to specify the time of showing and either pick up your animal or arrange for friends or family to look after pets away from the home until after the buyers have left.If you aren’t able to arrange to have your animal somewhere else during showings, dogs should be kenneled. Let your agent know the name and location of your pets so there won’t be any surprises. This practice will not only improve showings, your pets will be relieved. Some dogs are so frightened by strangers in their home they shake uncontrollably the entire time. Even if they’re not afraid, dogs often believe it’s their responsibility to protect their homes. By removing or kenneling them, they won’t have to worry about their territorial obligations. If you have a cat that is supposed to remain inside, tell your agent to inform the Realtor who set up the appointment and leave a note on the front door as a reminder. As you prepare your home for sale, be aware of how your animals may detract from the home’s desirability. We become accustomed to the odors associated with our home and may not notice them. Buyers will. Once I entered a home where lunch was being served during the weekly Realtor tour. Several people were making comments about the unpleasant odor of cats. While the listing agent patiently explained the owner would be willing to clean the carpets I noticed he was concocting an interesting brew of spices in boiling water. He was trying to mask the smell of cat urine so the Realtors viewing the home could concentrate on the home’s attributes rather than its difficulties. Although I admired the agent’s quick thinking, it’s always preferable to remedy problems before the home is put on the market. Aim for a neutral smell rather than attempting to cover up odors with air fresheners and fragrances. There are odor-neutralizing products specifically designed for carpets damaged by pets utilized by professional carpet cleaners or can be purchased locally if you plan to clean your own carpet. If you want visual proof of animal stains in the carpeting and you have nerves of steel, purchase or rent a black light. The black light will reveal every area your carpet has been soiled.While you’re scrutinizing your house, be sure to remove pet hair. Not only is it unattractive, it may trigger an allergic response in a potential buyer. Personal turnoffs for me are doors dogs have scratched and smeared. Prior to showings, tidy up areas where your animals eat or sleep, change kitty litter and wash windows.Dogs and cats may be our best friends, but when it comes to selling a house, they’re not our allies. Show your smarts by being aware of problems pets can cause and taking steps to correct them. Sharon Beattie, MRE and e-ProSharon R. Beattie Co.618-8966 or 945-6266www.SharonRBeattie.comSharon@SharonRBeattie.Com


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