What to do with Fido and Fluffy when you have a showing? This is a dilemma and there is a different solution for every seller just as every pet is different. First and most importantly your pets are valued family members, and getting ready for showings is just as difficult for them as their routines are interrupted as well.
Your home will show best with no distractions – human or animal – so you will need to find the best way to keep these distractions to a minimum. Ideally this is a perfect time for your pets to take a vacation to visit the relatives on that lovely farm where they will be cared for and adored! No paws will be set on the new carpets or shampooed rugs, there will be no scratches on the refinished and gleaming hardwood floors, and showings will be conducted with little inconvenience or fuss.
This perfect scenario is seldom the case and we are usually left scrambling to figure out who is available to gather them up and hit the road for a while. When we sold our house it fell to me to drive home, pack up the Lab and Shih Tzu, the non-car loving cat, toss their beds and dishes in the car, and drive them around while the potential Buyers enjoyed their uninterrupted visits. It paid off and my scratches healed.
Leaving pets in cages isn’t the best idea, especially in the main areas of the house. Buyers want to see every room and if they encounter a sign that reads “keep door closed and don’t let cat/dog out” they will definitely be put off and you lose their attention. The Buyers who love animals as much as you do often feel sorry they’re locked up and perhaps are even tempted to open the door and risk a nip or a scratch for which you will be held responsible. The Buyers who are not animal friendly might just be frightened and want to leave as quickly as possible.
Although the showing Realtor is usually given information if there is a pet in the house it can be misleading. I once showed a house that with a cute little Spaniel kenneled in the living room that the Buyers fussed over instead of paying attention to the room. Since we were told there would be a dog on the premises we went on to tour the rest of the house … no one was prepared for the caged Rottweiler in the large walk-in closet of the master suite. The dog did not bark, the cage seemed inadequate as he leapt at us and threw himself and the cage toward us … terrified was an understatement. We didn’t finish the tour.
Ideally nothing should interfere with the potential Buyers uninterrupted attention to your house, especially after all the work you have done to get them through the door. There is almost always a way to manage the lives of your pets in showing situations including setting specific times for the showings to occur which will allow you to collect them. Hopefully will they enjoy a little car time or a nice long walk!