How Pets Affect Staging Your Home

Pets and Home Staging

Consider Your Pets When Staging Your Home

If you are a homeowner with pets, and are looking to stage your home before putting it on the market for sale, always remember to consider how your fur family fits into the equation. While most of us love animals, there are several reasons why having evidence of pets in your home can affect your potential home buyers and sale of your property.


Some potential home buyers may have animal allergies, and if not the buyers themselves, then perhaps someone who is close to them who will be in their home often (maybe their parent/brother sister/best friend). If the potential home buyer sees you have a pet in your home, it could be a reason for them to pass on your house and buy another in your neighbourhood that does not have pets. You don’t want Fido to be a deciding factor in the sale of your property, so consider this before putting your home on the market.


As a home stager, I have been in many a home where I could tell instantly that they had pets upon entering the property. I can detect if the dogs in the house need a bath, or if kitty has been peeing in a corner. Fish tanks can give off a funny smell too if not kept clean regularly. I once went into a home where the homeowner’s unfinished basement had several piles of cat vomit on the concrete that needed cleaning! Keep your home vacuumed often, keep your dog bathed regularly and you must shampoo your rugs. If you suspect your cat has been peeing in corners or behind drapes, get these cleaned pronto. Vacuum your furniture too so there are no telltale signs of fur lurking about. Vacuum UNDER your furniture and your beds, wash all your floors, and don’t forget to clean above your kitchen cupboards where fur and dander can hide. I even pull out my washer, fridge and dryer and vacuum under there as fur likes to hide in that area too. Pet dander can make your potential buyers sneeze while on the viewing!


I have occasionally consulted at homes that had many pet toys and cat trees displayed throughout. You don’t want to leave dog bones and toys on the floor that your buyers may step on or trip over (or if they have a crawling baby, put said toys in their mouth when parents not looking!). Cat trees should NEVER be on display. I’ve had cats all my life, and as a designer and stager, I can tell you, they are not part of staging decor that you should have in your home when selling. They are not furniture, they are not art. They will not help swing the sale of your home, so best they get put away and not be on display (not even in your garage or basement).


Some people have a fear of animals (my sister in law is like that; cats terrify her). If a home buyer has a fear of dogs, it may put them off buying your house, or worse, they may simply not continue with the viewing and walk out if they see any animal belongings. This same point is equally and vitally important when it comes to leaving your pet in the home during viewings. DO NOT leave your dog in the house when you go out for your viewings! Dogs may whine, or worse, bark at the people viewing your home–a definite no-no and it will put them off wanting to buy your home if the dog is disturbing or affecting the viewing.¬†Take your dog for a walk, take them to dog daycare, take them to a friend or relative’s house, but do not leave your dog in the home when buyers are there to view it. When I sold my last home earlier this year, I kept my dogs bathed once or twice a week, and during viewings I would sit in my car down the street with my 3 dogs (and 1 cat in a cat carrier). I would park a few houses down about 15 minutes before the viewing, and I could see when the viewers were going in, and when they were going out. As soon as they left, I went straight back in the house with my pets (and this also let me know how long the viewers had been in my home; good to know when selling!).


Another reason why you should never leave your pets in the house, is in case a viewer or realtor accidentally leaves a door open, and your cat gets out and runs away. Your cat may even be an indoor/outdoor cat, but if your cat surprises potential home buyers, and runs past them outside, you could be causing the viewers alarm, as they might think they have just risked you losing your pet forever. They may even go outside and try to chase and catch it, making your cat fearful, or at risk of being hit by a car. And that is a definite big risk to your home’s sale. Cats and dogs are very sensitive to house moves and they may act out of character. One last note; if you leave your cat or dog in the house, and someone comes to view it with children, the children may want to rush up to the animal and play with it, pull ears or whiskers, and traumatise your pet. Or worse, scratch or bite the child, and you can kiss your sale goodbye.


Hopefully this will have given you many excellent resources for what to do about your pets when selling your home. But here are a few more:

-Keep your fish tank filters super clean

-NEVER leave a litter box on display; when selling, I put mine in my car trunk before a viewing in garbage bags, or I would put it in the garage or basement with a box over it to hide it. No one wants to come across a cat box, no matter how clean! But saying that, clean your cat litter box every single day, and put an electric air purifier nearby if you can.

-Put dog beds in a plastic bag under your bed, or better yet, if you can, put it in the garage.

-Arrange for your dog to stay with a pet sitter for the first few weeks your house is on the market.

-Only schedule viewings when you will be home so you can take your pet out during that time.

Pets are a beloved part of our family, and they should be considered with care during the sale of our home, so stress is minimised for us the sellers, for our buyers, but most especially, for the pets themselves.

The author, Monique Shaw, is a proud pet guardian to 3 dogs, 1 cat and several fish.