Real Estate 'Petiquette': Tips for Buying or Selling a Home When You Have a Dog

Written and submitted by James Hill

If you’re a dog owner in the market to buy or sell a home, you know there’s a lot to think about, including what to do with your pet. A recent study indicated that 95% of home buyers consider their pets’ needs when buying a home. These tips will help you follow proper pet etiquette—or “petiquette”—during the process, whether you’re selling, buying, or both.

 Seller Tip #1: Put Extra Effort Into Staging Your Home

Staging your home to appeal to as many buyers as possible is an important part of selling any home. Potential buyers who aren’t “dog people” will notice pet odors and damage that you’ve long tuned out, so make sure you don't put them off.

 Inside your home, this means meticulous vacuuming and dusting, as well as deep-cleaning or replacing any carpets or drapes that could harbor hidden pet odors. Outside, where curb appeal reigns, this means vigilant poop patrol, plus repairing any dog damage, such as holes, urine-burned grass, or scratched fencing.

 Your home’s exterior is the first impression buyers get of your house, so consider hiring a landscaping service to maximize your lawn’s appeal. If your pup has made a few messes around the yard, use a GoGo Stik to get it cleaned up with ease.

 Seller Tip #2: Utilize a Groomer

 If you bathe your animal at home, you know the “wet dog” smell can linger for days. Also, dogs tend to shed more right after a bath. While your home is on the market, use a professional groomer instead. The smell and hair stays off-site, and many groomers offer treatments to reduce odors and shedding between appointments.

 Seller Tip #3: Relocate Your Dog During Showings

 If possible, get your dog out of the house during showings or open houses. Try doggie daycare or see if your pup can stay with a friend or family member for the day. Alternatively, recruit a friend to take Fido for a walk during a showing.

Buyer Tip #1: Don't Bring Your Dog House-Hunting

 You want your dog to love the new place, but bringing your pet to showings is a “petiquette” no-no. The sellers could have animal allergies or an aggressive dog, or your pooch could have an accident in the house. The risks in this situation far outweigh the rewards.

 Buyer Tip #2: Learn the Local Dog Rules

 Owning your home doesn’t always mean complete freedom when it comes to your dog. Before you make an offer, find out about any HOA restrictions, leash laws, breed bans, and other local rules that could be a problem for you and your pet.

 Buyer Tip #3: Introduce Your Dog to the Neighborhood

 Helping your dog feel comfortable in the new surroundings can cut down considerably on barking and escape attempts. Bring some of your pet’s (unwashed!) belongings from your old home. Take your dog to meet the new neighbors outdoors, on neutral turf, after the excitement of moving day has worn off.

 Bonus Tip for Buyers and Sellers: Keep Your Dog Safe on Moving Day

 Whether you’re moving out or moving in, strangers in your home will likely make any animal uneasy. As when showing, try to relocate or occupy your dog on moving day. Otherwise, contain your pet in a kennel or quiet room with a new toy, and check in often.

 Your dog is part of your family and your home. These tips can help your pooch stay safe and happy when it’s time to buy or sell a house.

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