Anyone who knows me knows that I am a pet lover. I’m definitely one of “those” owners who is way too affectionate with their dog. Which means I’ve got pretty much 2 things on my mind at any given moment: real estate, and my pup. Pets are a part of the family, and when it comes time to sell your home, they can add some extra steps. Owning pets doesn’t have to mean a major obstacle for selling your home, though. Here are a few easy-to-follow tips that will have your place ready for showings in a snap:
Find a pet sitter during showings
There’s a good chance your prospective buyers are pet-friendly, but there’s also a chance that they don’t like animals or have allergies. There is a liability there as well if anything happens to a prospective buyer. I know my dog is very friendly when I’m around, but super protective of our home, especially if we’re not there. The safe bet is to keep your pets away from the home during a showing.
Give the home a thorough cleaning
Pet owners know that hair finds its way into every nook and cranny of a home. No matter how hard I try to keep up with dog hair, it always finds its way back. When you’re getting ready to sell your home, you should give it a top to bottom cleaning anyway, but if you’ve got pets you’ll want to especially do so. This means cleaning behind and underneath furniture and rugs, emptying out and cleaning closets, and cleaning any other hard-to-reach spaces that might be skipped during routine cleaning. Getting rid of pet hair and dust in those spaces will make a noticeable difference. This also will help combat pet smell: most pet owners become nose blind to the “dog” or “cat” smell in their home after a while, but buyers will definitely notice!
Create a quick pre-showing cleaning routine
The deep clean is a good start, but before a buyer shows up, make sure to sweep the floors, clean smudges from windows, and remove any hair from blankets and furniture. You don’t need to necessarily hide the fact that a pet lives there, but aside from maybe a toy bin and some food dishes, it shouldn’t be obvious. I’m also a big fan of the unscented Febreze Allergen Reducer (I have both the air spray and the fabric spray at my house). I think it does a great job of leaving the home smelling and feeling fresh, without being bogged down with scent. It also supposedly removes airborne allergens, which may be helpful for potential buyers with allergies.
Organize pet toys and other items
You don’t want toys, leashes, and other pet items strewn about your home. It should look like a human’s home, not an oversized doghouse. Get rid of the clutter and put all your pet items in one spot. A mud room or laundry room is a great spot for your pet’s belongings. If you have a cat that uses a litter box, it may be a good idea to put a cover over it at least when showings are being conducted. That way buyers won’t be staring into your cat’s litter box, and it may help contain any odor. This will improve your home’s appearance and show buyers that you are careful about containing pet-related activities.
What other ways have you prepped to sell your home with pets? Or do you have a horror story of a home with pet clutter and funk? Tell us in the comments!
Ah, the Comp. It’s a word you’ll hear over and over again in real estate. Comp is short for comparable property, and it is how a real estate agent will arrive at a market value for your home. If you are the seller, your agent will use comps to arrive at a recommended list price. If you’re the buyer, your agent will use comps to help suggest a fair purchase price. You may think that sale price is the only factor when you’re looking at comps and trying to set a price for your listing. But it’s actually a bit more complicated. Here are five things that affect comps that you might not be aware of:
- New construction nearby: Because of low prices for lots and varying prices in home building materials, new homes can actually be cheaper and cost less per square foot than existing homes. If there’s a lot of new construction nearby, that can affect the price for your own listing. A seasoned agent can account for this by using comps that are closer in age to your property, and assessing the quality of the finishes in a new construction compared to the subject property.
- Renovations: Recently renovated homes typically sell for more than homes that haven’t been updated in a while. If you’ve recently upgraded your home–especially sought-after upgrades like the kitchen or master bath, your home should be priced appropriately.
- Developable lots: Not all lots are created equal. Even if the square acreage is the same, a lot that’s easily developable will get a better price than a hilly or rocky lot that needs a lot of preparation. In this same vein is the zoning of the property. If your lot is zoned for multiple dwellings, it can fetch a higher price than a single family dwelling.
- Listing price vs. sale price: Whether sellers actually get their asking price depends greatly on the market. When you’re pricing your home, it’s important to look at sales prices, not just listing prices. The listing price doesn’t always accurately reflect what a home will sell for. Be sure to take note of average list price vs sold price as well. If homes are consistently selling for over or under listing price, it can give you a good idea of what a fair market value would be.
- Location: Nearby amenities, safety, schools, and noise levels can vary greatly within a neighborhood. Homes in more desirable parts of the neighborhood will sell for a higher price, all else being equal. Walkability is usually a very desirable trait, and so proximity to amenities can be a boost your home’s value. Similarly, being on too-busy of a street can lower your home’s value compared to other homes.
At the end of the day, fair market value is the price a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept for a property. The best way to get your home in front of the most qualified and serious buyers is to have a competitively and accurately priced home, something a seasoned real estate broker can help you with!
I took a fantastic class this morning dealing with a new law that was recently passed: starting January 1, 2018, anyone wishing to sell their home within Portland city limits (with or without an agent) must get a home energy audit prior to listing, and must provide the report with the home energy score (HES) to any prospective buyers. The HES is on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being least efficient and 10 being most efficient. Scores are based on BTUs used, and the majority of your score comes from heating, water heating, and cooling.
There is a lot of talk about the impact that these scores are going to have on the real estate market, and a lot of confusion as to what this is going to mean for sellers. I’ve taken some of the more important information that I learned and put it into an infographic for easy reading and sharing:
It’s important to realize that the requirement to sell only applies to the City of Portland (so if you’re in the Metro area, but not Portland proper you don’t have to have one). You’ll also want to note that you don’t need to make any upgrades or repairs based on the report. All you have to do is get it done and provide copies.
This city ordinance is still in early stages: they haven’t yet worked out everything, and will have a rule-making session in July to nail down some of the finer details. For instance, we don’t yet know how long an energy audit will be valid (but my guess is probably a year). Also condos are an area of concern because there are too many variables when you have units on all sides. Chances are that condos will be an exemption, but we won’t find out until July.
Even if you’re not thinking of selling next year, knowing your HES has great benefits. For starters, you’ll get a really clear picture of the energy efficiency of your home. The last page of the report shows upgrades that would increase the efficiency. It is broken down into 2 categories: update now, and update later. Alongside these repairs, your report will give you the estimated annual savings by making the change.
I’ll update once we know more about this new ordinance, but as always, feel free to reach out with any questions you have!
Lovely 2 bed/2 bath home in North Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood.