Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pooches: How to Sell Your Home When You Have Dogs

One of our biggest concerns when we were starting the process of selling our home was that it would be even harder to do as dog owners. Besides keeping our home spotless, and looking as if no one lived there, we also needed to make it look like no dogs lived there and find places for the pups to go during all of the sometimes impromptu showings.
We are definitely not experts, but these are some things that worked for us and some things we would do differently if we had to sell again (which we are never planning on doing because we love our new home!).

Preparing Ahead
We knew our home would be easier to sell if we did everything right up front and it spent less time on the market. Plus, it would make all of our lives less stressful if it just sold quickly. In the Chicago housing market there are a lot of 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condos just like ours, and we're competing with all of the new construction condos being built. At only 10 years old, we learned many of the features of our home were already considered dated.
At first we were hesitant to spend the extra money to hire professional painters, but then we realized we just needed to get it right the first time because the longer our home sat on the market it would become harder to sell. Plus, if it didn't sell quickly we would still end up paying extra money by continuing to rent storage, sending the dogs to boarding/day care if we had showings during the day, and potentially having 2 mortgages. Not to mention the emotional stress of always needing to have our home showroom ready, living with half of our belongings in a storage locker and not really being able to cook in our kitchen, and disrupting things for the pups.
While it was hard to swallow at first, we ended up having our entire place professionally painted including painting all of the woodwork white (we didn't understand this either, but I guess it's what all of the new condos have now) and adding some wider trim in the main room.
We also took the pups to get fulminated so they wouldn't shed as much, hired a really good house cleaner, and invested in some fancy diffusers to eliminate any potential odors.
While I think a lot of it was based on luck and an intense local housing market, we got the offer we wanted a mere 4 days after listing our home. Even that short amount of time was stressful and completely disruptive, so we were glad we did choose to spend the extra money up front to make things easier for all of us.

Where to Go When They Can't Be at Home
One of the hardest parts of putting our home on the market with dogs was finding places for the pups to go when we had showings. On the first two days we had about 6-7 showings all spaced out at different times. It was nice that we already had a relationship with a doggy daycare where we could send the pups during the day so people could come see our home. We also ended up sending the dogs there for boarding when we were having our home painted.
When we needed the dogs out of our way when we were coming in and out of our house moving things to our storage locker, we sent them to Petsmart to get baths (and furminated!). It's nice because they take the dogs for about 3 hours so we were able to get things done. Plus, they came back clean.
During our Open Houses on the weekend we needed to find longer activities to keep the pups out of the home. We were lucky it was warm and we had nice weather so we were able to do things outside.
We also know there are several indoor places that are dog-friendly that we wrote about, here.

Keeping Dogs Comfortable by Creating Routines
Looking back, this is one thing I wish we had done better. We are lucky that Miss M and Mr. B are both really resilient and adaptable, but I know this must have been a really stressful process for them. We had to take away a lot of their beds and toys (even Mr B's tepee!) to make our home look more marketable. In retrospect, I wish we had done this more slowly. I have one photo (I just can't seem to find it right now) where both of our pups are huddled together trying to sleep on the painter's drop cloth because we had to move their beds.
We also know it must have been stressful because each time we returned home after a showing, they could probably smell all the strangers who had passed through our home.
We tried our best to keep things normal because we know keeping routines is the most important thing for dogs.

These are just some things that we experienced, but we would love to hear if anyone else has more tips on how to sell a home with dogs. 

We've been here almost a week, and so far...no ghosts!

Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and story lines beyond the blog.


Two French Bulldogs said...

Your home always looked super doooper clean. Thank goodness for daycare with all those showings
Lily & Edward

How Sam Sees It said...

All good tips - Aaron and I want to move eventually and keeping the dogs happy is our first concern.

Monty and Harlow

Ashley June said...

I completely understand how stressful that can be. We sold the house that our lab was born in a couple years ago and I tried so hard to make sure she didn't see us packing up and moving things out. I packed things away in boxes over a few weeks so it just seemed like I was cleaning, and luckily all of her toys were in a drawer that could just be closed. We did have issues when people came to look at the house because they were supposed to call first so I could get her out of the house, but they never did. We sold quickly and things went great, and I had an entire plan mapped out for moving into the new house, but we had to stay with friends for 5 weeks, which was pretty hard on her. Luckily, that made the move to the new house all the sweeter. :)

Debra@Peaceabull said...

Oh, that makes me sad, the thought of them huddled on the drop cloth. (Although I bet they were cute.

Anonymous said...

Having gone through the same process not even a year ago I can completely understand what it was like to keep things clean with two large dogs not to mention having places for them to go when they needed to be out of the house.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone! I'm having flashbacks to our move and it makes me itch. Luckily we were able to throw Melvin in the car and drive around during showings (it was a great chance to train him on being calmer in the car). Our frustration was less about readying the house for showing (i prob could have cared more!) but about packing. Melvin was so stressed with boxes and the boxes ended up being how he injured his tail and thus lost it. NEVER MOVING AGAIN!!!

AJ said...

Our pup was super anxious while we were packing up to move from our rental to our first home. It took me a couple days to put it together why he was so stressed and hanging on us like a shadow. Then I remembered his rescue story. In short his first home went into foreclosure, his family packed up to move and he landed in the shelter system. Little guy was probably thinking oh no not again. Thankfully like mr. B and miss M, Roadie is pretty adaptable and resilient. One of the best decisions we made though was to never leave him alone at the house. Since the home we were renting was also on the market and agents were not respectful to appointments and calling ahead, the last thing we wanted was for someone to show the home and finding our boy there. Daycare and walk away adventures became our motto when handling showings. Now we are in a great space and I hope to never have to move again for a long while. Congrats to you both on your new home!

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