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Part of my full-service package as a Realtor is offering decorating, design and staging advice to my clients. There are several basic suggestions I have for sellers when listing their homes. Some of them involve pets. I love animals–I have four dogs (two outside, two inside), plus a grand-dog named Gus who visits from Lexington. Gus is a 6-month old Labrador that’s as big as a 6-year-old kid. Bella and Barkley are my two little Yorkies that live in the house with us. Or, I should say, we live in Bella and Barkley’s house!
All buyers have personal search criteria that we use to narrow down listings in order to find a home that will suit their needs. The one thing every buyer is looking for is cleanliness.
The other day I was showing a buyer several listings in a nice subdivision with upscale homes. My client brought her mother and daughter along to see the houses and help her with her decision. We decided to look at the one she liked the best first.
This house is a gorgeous, custom-built home in Northern Kentucky with professional landscaping, an inviting front porch with sweet wicker furniture and lovely ferns welcoming us. We were so excited and could hardly wait to see the inside! If the outside was any indication as to what the inside would be like, this could be “The One.”
We opened the door to behold the beauty inside and we were immediately assaulted with the foul stench of pet odors. The dogs were there to greet us – from their crates. Even though we tried to calm them by talking nicely to them, they barked the entire time we were in the house. They were nervous because strangers were in their house and they were just trying to protect their territory. My client is a dog lover too, and we spent most of the time talking nicely to the dogs, trying to make the them feel better about us invading their space.
We tried to discuss how the home might work for my client and her daughter, but it was a difficult conversation with our fingers holding our noses. It was absolutely disgusting. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
The other three houses we were scheduled to look at were on the same street, so we walked to the next one. They were all nice, but as it turns out, the first house was the one my client liked the best.
The “dog” house featured a spacious open floor plan, cathedral ceilings, crown molding, beautiful cherry cabinetry in the kitchen, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, large bedrooms, and a finished walkout basement. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get past the reeking smell of pet odors.
As a listing agent, I always encourage my sellers to take the pets for a walk or have the neighbors watch them during showings, if at all possible. Barking dogs are distracting to buyers and worst of all, it’s very stressful on our furry friends to have strangers in their home.
If you are selling your house, try to see it (and smell it) as a buyer would. The smell in my client’s favorite house made a lasting first impression—and discouraged her from making an offer on what would have been “The One.”
(Monica Howe is an award-winning Broker/Associate and with REMAX Affiliates, Florence and a certified Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource. She lists and sells all types of real estate in Grant County and Northern Kentucky. Howe resides in Dry Ridge with her husband Steve and they have two sons, Boston and Lincoln.)