Real Estate Q&A

Pets’ things shouldn’t be out during home showings


New York Times

Q. Is it OK to leave pets and all their stuff out in my apartment during showings?

A. In a word, no.

“A lot of people are fearful,” said Stefania Cardinali, an associate real estate broker at Citi Habitats in New York City. “Not everyone is familiar with dogs and cats.”

Beyond buyers’ phobias and allergies, there is also the potential for mishaps like biting, jumping or clawing, Cardinali said, which could be disastrous for a sale. So as a general rule, she suggests, it’s best to remove your pet from the apartment during showings: Take your dog for a walk or your cat for a visit with the neighbors.

You should also do your best to minimize any evidence of shedding.

“Pet hair is a nuisance: You want to make sure people can sit down on the couch,” Cardinali said, without needing to use a lint brush afterward.

“A showing is not just about looking,” she said, “but about relaxing and enjoying the space.”

And when it comes to pet toys and accessories, said Joan Dineen, an architect and dog owner who recently put her Manhattan home on the market, the fewer the buyer sees, the better.

“You want to guard against someone just hating the idea that an animal lived there,” she said. “People don’t want to feel like, once they move in, there will be any hint of it.”

But because storing everything associated with a pet before every showing can be onerous (if not impossible, because of space constraints), she suggests a targeted approach.

First, eliminate any real eyesores. It would be a very bad idea to have kitty jungle gyms displayed prominently in the living room, Dineen said.

Leave only those accessories that work with your décor.

“A dog bed should look like a pillow you’d want to have in your house anyway,” she said. “You can get some beautiful toile de Jouy and other designer-friendly fabrics,” from companies like Harry Barker and Jax & Bones.

And just before each showing, she said, thoroughly “de-fur” all surfaces and make sure there is no visible pet-related damage. Dineen’s dog, Charlotte, has been known to chew bedspreads and carpets. But once the apartment has been prepared for potential buyers, Dineen said, “there’s nothing to show that she has in any way depreciated the value of the property.”

Cardinali said she recently showed a Manhattan apartment where the dog and a multitude of dog-related items were left inside, much to her dismay.

“There’s a gate that goes in front of the spiral staircase, a dog ball and leashes and towels,” she said. “When you walk into the place, it’s right there, and it spoils the flow.”

Better to play it safe, she said, to “minimize the potential objections and nuisance factors.”

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