Pets that help sell homes
Conventional staging wisdom says pets should stay out of sight when your house is on the market. But these Manhattan cats and dogs helped seal the deal.
We've all heard about the basics of staging a home for sale: reduce the clutter, get rid of the wallpaper, showcase a few well-displayed accessories.
Never once has Sabrina Soto, the HGTV staging guru, suggested leaving a friendly dog or cat around to warm up the home. In fact, she advises hiding any evidence that a pet has ever been there.
But according to The New York Times, some Manhattan real-estate agents have found family pets an asset, not a liability, in selling property.
Jon Lightman and Judy Batalion were charmed by the resident cat they met at a Chelsea loft they eventually bought.
"We were so flattered by the cat’s attention," Lightman told The Times. "He was so warm and social. He’d climb on anyone, even our real-estate broker and us. He made the apartment feel lived in, homey."
My tabby greets all guests at the door, but he occasionally bites one, so he may not be a good cat for staging, even if his warm neutral color does match the gray sofa.
The real-estate agents interviewed by The Times' Constance Rosenblum told stories of several friendly animals they thought helped close the deal.
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Wraggles, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, proved such as natural at staging that he climbed without instruction onto a chaise in the living room, framing himself as part of the view. The dog was such a hit that his presence was requested at all future showings. To avoid those repellent doggie smells, Wraggles visited a dog spa beforehand.
"The person who bought the apartment told me that with the dog on the chaise lounge and the fire in the fireplace, it felt like a real home," owner Deborah Pilla told Rosenblum.
The agents did tell several stories in which the family pets did not help close the sale, including one in which seven barking Yorkies followed prospective buyers around as they toured the apartment. This is not a scenario that makes you want to hang around and take a second look at the granite countertops.
Real-estate broker J. Philip Faranda of New York, who owns a German shepherd, expressed skepticism that these few anecdotes are a signal to ignore the traditional home-staging advice to keep your pets where they can't be seen, heard or smelled. In a comment responding to the article, he wrote:
… I find the notion that pets do anything but hinder the sale of any property to be laughable. Just because a few anecdotal examples exist where people clicked with the pet doesn't detract from the fact that they are a distraction to the eyes, ears and nose.
What do you think? Would your pet help you sell the house or would he impel buyers to run in the opposite direction?
Two (of four) cats would possibly be out, the other two would hide unless you sit down the cats wouldn't come up to you.
The dog would friend anyone who came in, she will "go lay down" no matter who tells her to [lay down].
We have had one of the cats for 15 years.
Everyone who comes into the house asks how we have no cat smell. When we had only the one cat, the carpet cleaner didn't believe we had a pet.
I wouldn't take the older cat out of the house, he would be under a bed while people were there and he gets sick in a car (our cats are ONLY indoor pets). If the cat made it so the house didn't sell, it just wasn't meant to be.
I would have no problem buying a house with pets in it; the pets go with the seller, I would however leave a place that had an aggresive animal, which wouldn't allow me to see the house...
We have four children and two grandchildren, three cats and a dog, they are all part of the family.
My cat tends to roll on the floor in front of anyone who enters the house... she's looking for belly rubs and is quite cute about it. The dog, however, is a bit crazy. We love her but even at 9 years old, she has A LOT of energy and thinks that everyone is her best friend. She is not at the house when it's showing.
That being said, what I find interesting about this article and the topic of pets and real estate in general is that, while almost every real estate agent, stager, appraiser, mortgage loan officer, et al, will tell you that pets are not welcome when showing your home, statistics show that more people own pets than ever before. Not only do Americans own more pets, but we treat them like one of the family. Seems like conflicting information to me. Nonetheless, the cat stays when the house shows, the dog does not!
My cocker spaniel would probably not help sell the house. They'd love him for the wonderful dog he is, but he's not being sold so why show him off?
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.