October 21st, 2019 at 11:00 am


Hosting an open house can be an exciting time in every home selling journey. It’s thrilling to see your home dressed up in a new light and, with the help of a fantastic agent, you’ll have potential buyers swinging through in droves to picture their lives in your home. It’s a lot to handle! 

Before you get wrapped up in all the hustle and bustle leading up to open house, take some time to assess a plan for any pets in the home. It’s crucial to take into consideration just how your cats, dogs, and other critters will respond to the atmosphere, given just how many strangers – and smells! – will be introduced into their space. Needless to say, the experience can be just as overwhelming for them as it is for you, and that’s a lot on your plate when you’re already dealing with the stress of getting your home off the market and moving.

Below, we have a few specialized tips for sellers who want to make their home inviting to as many people as possible for open house while keeping their furry friends at ease.

Drop ’em off at daycare

Even if your pets are well-behaved, cordial, and polite, it’s important to prepare for a wide variety of scenarios when you’re holding an open house. Who knows if the next potential buyer swinging through your home is intensely allergic to pet dander? What if the family that strolls in has a child who’s afraid of cats?

As much as we think we can predict our furry friends’ behaviors, we often can’t. With so many new folks and smells entering your home during open house, pets can understandably become anxious, aggravated, or afraid. You may actually be doing your pets a favor by dropping them off at a sitter or doggy daycare.

For this reason, temporarily removing your pets from the environment might be the best option for everyone involved. It will certainly reduce the risk of accidents or anything beyond your control going wrong.

Have small pets like turtles, birds, or fish? Keep them out of sight and store them safely away in a quieter area, or in your backyard. Potential buyers have to imagine themselves in your home and that can be hard to do when there are so many items and living beings that remind them of another household!


Furballs be gone!

If you have a cat or dog, it doesn’t matter if you just cleaned, you probably need to clean again.

Fur is light and flies distances. You can even be carrying it on your clothes as you head over to another room, distributing the hair there. Having fur everywhere just is part of the reality of being a pet owner, but that’s why we love them so much! Your visitors, however, don’t necessarily need to know that.

Get down and dirty and investigate your floors. Vacuum, mop, and get out a duster to get into those hard-to-reach areas and corners. Pro tip: Invest in some wool dusters, as they naturally contain lanolin, which attracts dust and fur like a magnet.

Let fresh air in

Once you’ve cleaned up and gotten rid of as much dust and dander as you can see, open all your windows and screen doors, and refresh the home with new, clean air from outside.

We get so used to the scent of our own home that we don’t recognize it anymore when we step in. Visitors are always able to pick up on a home’s scent at first meeting. It’s best to start from basics and allow some time, a few hours ideally, to introduce fresh air from outside throughout the home. The breeze will eliminate any musty or stuffy odors your home may be holding onto.

When your potential buyers come through, keep the windows slightly open, just enough to keep ventilation actively flowing.


Hide pet supplies

Doggy gates, loads of toys, bitten tennis balls, scratching posts, and other pet items will detract from any prospective buyer’s experience during open house. Plus, kitty litter boxes, certain treats, and bully sticks are just plain smelly. Make sure all these items are stowed away until open house is over and your pets can enjoy them once again.

Don’t forget to hide bags of dog or cat food you may have laying around in your kitchen for convenience and stow away their food and water bowls. Remember, it’s important to tailor the open house experience and present potential buyers with a completely fresh, or at least neutral, home state.

Have a built-in doggy door? Try disguising it by lowering your curtains or blinds so that it appears less prominent.

Introduce a fragrance

A pleasant, non-overpowering fragrance, whether that comes from a candle or a stealthy wall plug-in, will greatly enhance the ambiance of your home. Who isn’t enchanted by a sweet-smelling area? Visitors will love it and enjoy the cozy atmosphere as a result. The fragrance can also help mask any underlying pet-related odors.

We recommend shying away from more specific scents such as incense, as it is less universally received and may be a bit trickier to work with for a crowd you don’t know.


Consult with your real estate agent

Hosting an open house is an eventful experience for all homeowners and their families, pets included! Sometimes, the most exciting part about open house is refreshing your home and rediscovering it as its best self. Don’t be surprised if you have a variety of mixed emotions when potential buyers come in and declare they want your home as their next. It’s certainly a lot to take in.

It’s true that pet owners need to take a little more into consideration before preparing their open house. Just remember that your efforts are well-intended, strategic, and will help prepare you and your family into the next chapter of your lives. If you find yourself facing a unique or difficult situation, remember to consult with your real estate agent, as they have probably been through same or similar situations many times before!

After all, home is wherever your pets are, no matter where you live!

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