Monday, October 15, 2012

Pets Etiquette 101

This blog is to educate both homeowners and buyers with a little bit of "pet etiquette" when it comes to their homes and homes that you may be viewing.  Now as a disclaimer let me say this before I go any further, I am a pet owner I have 5 dogs and 2 cats so I understand that the dogs shed, and the cats litter will never smell like a bouquet of roses!  As a buyer you will want to be courteous because these animals are very much part of the homeowners family - as a homeowner you will want to be courteous that not everyone is a animal person! 

Let's begin with some etiquette for the buyers and some tips to keep potential problems at bay!
  • If you are severely allergic to any specific animal, you should really share this information with your Realtor.  More than likely we still going to take you to those homes unless it is severe, your agent will explain the special circumstances to the listing agent. The homeowners can do a bit more of cleaning, and we will know in advance what we may be walking into.  
  • Hopefully the homeowner has cleaned up but if you happen to walk into a home, and there is let's say the smell of a cat or dog do not say anything about it to the homeowner it is rude, mention it to your agent, let them communicate to their agent.  If it is an ongoing issue their agent will be aware of it, and will be able to approach it in their own way to their client. 
  • Recently I have been coming across people with extreme fears of dogs, but this goes for any animal.   Although the animal will not be coming with the house their is nothing worse than not being comfortable while your viewing potential homes.  You don't ever want to have to rush through a home, your agent will make a specific call to make sure you will be able to view the home animal free!
Now before I go any further I would like to give you an example of why "pet etiquette" is so important for not only the people who are viewing your home, but for your pet as well! 

I recently went to a rental listing where the owners had a very large pit bull, he was quite surprised to see me in what was clearly his part of the yard! My client is petrified of dogs, so although he was only protecting his turf this gave her quite a scare.  If she had mentioned this fear I would have never shown her a listing where she would have to live along side not only a dog but an extremely large dog.  The listing Realtor should have also written clear showing instructions on where access to the apartment, the dog would not have been to blame if he attempted to protect his turf.  

Now let's talk about some tips for homeowners and their pets ! 
  • If you have pets sometimes it is best to ask for advance notice before your home is to be shown, nothing extreme but if you need 3 or 4 hours to make arrangements that is reasonable.  If your animal is small enough to be crated it is a good option, especially if you have a small animal who could easily get past a buyer who may hold a door open for too long or not notice an escapee! 
  • Vacuum and invest in some air fresheners ! Vacuum a bit more to prevent any accumulation of dander or hair in case of buyers with sensitive allergies.  Put in some of the automatic air fresheners discreetly around your home, although you may not smell your animal potential buyers can be turned off by animal smells.  
  • Clean up after your pet! You will want to clean up any toys, or "presents" your pet has left you in a timely manner.  If you have a cat try and clean the litter box up daily, same thing with a dog buyers don't want to dodge landmines when they are walking around your backyard! If you have  any puppy pads you will also want to pick them up before your buyers come to look! 
  • Crate any smaller animals that you may have, place a post it on them asking buyers not to touch the cages.  This prevents your pet from getting locked in any small spaces they may wander into, and any incidents can be avoided.  I once had a Realtor tell me about her own cat cornering buyers in an upstairs bedroom and growling needless to say they stayed in that corner until the agent came to their rescue! 
  • The best thing you can do when you have pets is to find yourself a pet friendly realtor! We can help you with the process of making sure your pets are not only well taken care of but protected when your home is being shown! 
An example of where your animal would need to be protected is something I came across just the other day and I give credit to not only the homeowner but to the agent! I arrived at a listing where the homeowner was not present for the showing, and on the door there was a note from the Realtor it said "Please be careful there is a small kitten in the home, when you open any closets please be aware of where she is so she does not get locked in closets or boiler room, if you are not able to get her out of any area please call me immediately do not try and grab her!"  The kitten did indeed great us immediately at the door, and would have scooted right out if we hadn't been aware prior to going in that she would be there! 

Here is another example, my homeowners who will more than likely see this blog (hi guys!) happen to have a average sized dog.  Any showings that I do during the day I go a bit earlier than the buyers are expected and I take Bella outside into the backyard.  When they are ready to view the backyard I simply walk her onto the sidewalk, and than back into the house!  The homeowners leave me her leash out on their kitchen table for showings during the week, and during open houses Bella visits families members for a bit! 

Never assume that a Realtor will do these things for you, not everyone is comfortable with other peoples pets! You will want to talk with whomever your choose to list your home about what arrangements you should make for your pets and what they are comfortable doing to help! 

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