There can be no doubt that pets are a significant part of our lives today. A recent study by the National Association of REALTORS® showed that 70% of households have a pet, but only 40% have a child under 18. Moreover, 20% of all buyers said they factored their pets into their real estate buying decision! As a former REALTOR® myself who has chased my fair share of escape-artist cats down the street in slip-on loafers, I think it is important to highlight some pet tips for buyers and sellers.
Sellers With Pets
The most important thing to consider when selling your home is how potential buyers perceive it. The ideal presentation of a home is clean, decluttered, and free of distractions, so a buyer can slip into the land of make-believe and start to imagine themselves in the space and begin placing furniture in their mind. Although your pet is wonderful and well-behaved, some buyers are terrified of animals, and some pets act differently when their owners are not around. For this reason, the ultimate course of action is to remove the pet from the home for showings or at least kennel them when showings are possible.
Additionally, be aware that nose blindness is real, and the smells you are used to don’t register to you anymore simply, so remember the smell of clean trumps the smell of pets every time. Take extra steps to ensure you have washed, wiped and deodorized all pet areas to remove that objection by the buyer.
Finally, pet accessories can also get run down or ugly, such as beds, scratch poles, or stuffed toys that have seen too many tugging matches. Remember, the idea is to help the buyer mentally move in, and all these things can distract from that goal when you simply don’t know who will ultimately buy the home.
Buyers With Pets
People love their pets, and, in many cases, they are considered as close as the human family. For this reason, there are considerations for buyers looking for a home for themselves and their pets. There are the obvious ones, such as access to a yard, proper fencing, and proximity to walking trails of off-leash parks, but are there other considerations? Yes, each municipality can set its guidelines on licensing pets, noise bylaws, and limits on the number of pets in the home, so you should check with the municipality to ensure they align with your plans.
Additionally, suppose you are considering a condominium property. In that case, the condominium corporation can also set its bylaws on the number, type, and even size of the pets permitted in the unit as well as noise controls and penalties. Most condominium corporations will require buyers to seek written approval from the board for their specific pets, and that approval is both conditional and revokable by the board if violated. Since condominiums are common ownership, the corporation can enforce their pet bylaws within the law. Some cases have even required owners to sell their units by court order in extreme circumstances! If pets are a big part of your property decision, be sure you have considered municipal regulations and condominium bylaws when applicable before making your decision.
When marketing and selling real estate, REALTORS® have the big job of caring for their clients and promoting the client’s best interest above their own. Sometimes that means telling your clients the hard truth when no one else will, such as “There is a strong pet smell,” or “Your pet does not fit into the condo bylaws for this building,” hoping they don’t shoot the messenger.
Additionally, the REALTOR® has provincial rules and requirements to consider, such as warning fellow REALTORS® about a pet in the home before scheduling a showing or being honest about the existence of pets in the home when another REALTOR® asks for the sake of allergies or other considerations. Like any other fact or condition material to the real estate trade, REALTORS® should ask, and clients provide candid answers about pet considerations in the real estate purchase or sale to ensure a smooth transaction.
A quick tip from an old REALTOR®, when showing a home, take the time to ring the bell, knock on the door, and when ready to open the door for your clients, just crack it open an inch for a few seconds to see if a furry face or wet nose is there to greet you unexpectedly before proceeding. Some surprises are fun, and others are not.
Provincial Practice Advisor
Bryan has many years of experience in the real estate industry including over 10 years as a former broker in the Edmonton Region.
Email: email@example.comPhone: 403-209-3619