The Pet Parents’ Home Sellers Guide

Selling your home when you’re a pet parent is a little different from selling your home when you have no pets. It’s a fact of life, like showing a home when you have no kids vs. having toddlers. It doesn’t have to be a nightmare though! A 2016 study showed that 61% of households either have or plan to have pets so leverage your experience as a pet parent and show off your pet customized home (doggie doors anyone?) 

Other features to emphasize are home renovations that benefit young families and pet owners, such as fenced yards or laminate flooring. Pet-centered focuses like built-in feeding stations or cat litter closets are excellent as well. They can be attractive selling points if they are clean and in good repair. All of these features can increase the value of your home. Thank you, Fido!

Be aware: Homebuyers look more carefully for any damages caused by our four-legged companions. As a pet parent yourself, would you prefer to move Spot into a nice living space or one full of stains and odors, scratches on doors and floors, and torn screens? A 2016 study says homebuyers prefer places that offer safety and comfort to their pets. 

So, to ease the hearts and minds of pawrents everywhere make sure to repair any damage that your adorable fur baby may have caused before showing your home. That’s not to say that you must erase your pet from your home entirely when you put it on the market. Quite the opposite! Buyers want to imagine their own pets in your home, so a pet-friendly space without your pet may be best. You should probably remove your pet from the home during showings though. Having strangers walk through their home can be upsetting even to the most mellow pets. 

If you have a pet-friendly neighborhood that has features like nearby dog parks and excellent veterinary hospitals it can make your neighborhood even more appealing to pet parents. A home that looks and smells clean and fresh in a pet-friendly neighborhood and a few fur baby conveniences can be very attractive to the 61% of pet parents looking to buy a home.

Pet Odors May Put Off Your Home Buyers, but Help is at Hand

Pet Odors May Put Off Your Home Buyers, but Help is at Hand (puppy at the spa)

You’re selling your home, so you want to make sure everything is set up for maximum appeal.

You’ve tidied up, moved out some of the bulkier items of furniture and given the place a thorough clean.

There’s plenty of advice out there about setting the scene to make your potential buyers feel at home. Coffee brewing and freshly baked cookies on the kitchen counter, anyone?

However, there’s one household odor that can be an acquired taste.

Your pets. You love them. They’re part of the family and you’re used to their unique odor. Unfortunately, not everyone who visits your property has had the opportunity to get acquainted!

The good news for Fluffy and Fido is that there are plenty of solutions that don’t require them to pack their bags.

Step One – Understand the Pet Odor Sources

OK, we all know what the source is – yep, it’s you we’re looking at Fido!

In fact, there are some simple mechanisms at work here. Urine, feces, and vomit provide a great source of nutrition for smell producing bacteria. So ideally you want to stop that ending up on the carpet and furnishings in the first place.

Most domestic animals will avoid fouling their own living spaces if they can. Some positive reinforcement can help train your pet to go to the door to show you they need to go out. Regular exercise and being aware of the tell-tale signs will help both of you.

Animals are very sensitive to odors and can quickly get the idea that an untreated smelly patch of urine is where they are supposed to go again. Cleaning up accidents quickly and efficiently will help discourage repeat offenders.

Dogs and cats have natural odors in their fur, saliva and sweat. This is going to transfer onto furniture and bedding if they’re allowed to snuggle up. Ideally, they shouldn’t be allowed on the furniture but hey, that’s why we call them pets! Putting a throw over the sofa at cuddle time will help to keep odors out of the fabric. You can easily wash the throw on a regular basis.

Accidents Happen – Clean Up Tips for Rugs and Pet Bedding

Loose fabrics can go straight into the washing machine. The Humane Society recommends that a pound of baking soda can be added to an enzymatic detergent. This will also work on some of the more established dried-in stains and smelly fabric from pet bedding too.

For larger items, like rugs, use a lot of paper towels above and below the site of the urine to soak it up. If it has already dried then dilute it with fresh water and a mild detergent, before soaking it up with paper towels and some old rags top and bottom. Sprinkle and rub in a good handful of baking soda to neutralize the smell.

If it’s a carpet or furniture fabric, then you’ll have to work from the top. A wet vac can be very helpful here.

Wooden floors are a lot easier but be careful not to use any cleaning products that might damage wax wood treatments or varnishes.

According to the Humane Society it’s best to avoid products containing ammonia, or vinegar because the odor can encourage pets for a repeat performance.

Lingering Pet Odors in the Background

No matter how careful you are, there will always be pet odor. This will be apparent to visitors who don’t have pets. You can lessen the effect of this by ensuring that rooms are well ventilated immediately before a viewing. If possible, open the windows. In winter conditions you may need to just do this a couple of minutes before and turn the heating up!

Go with competing odors like coffee and fresh baked bread and anything else that makes a naturally pleasant odor. Air fresheners are a last resort as these are often very obvious and not very effective.

Remember You’re Selling a Home, not a Doctor’s Office

People are looking to buy a comfortable home. It’s important not to be too paranoid and clinical here. Check with the realtor beforehand. Viewers with pets of their own being welcomed by your (well behaved) pooch will make any lingering odors completely understandable.

If they don’t like pets, then discretion is the better part of valor.

Crank up the coffee machine and serve freshly baked cookies!

Ohio Residential Property Disclosure FAQs

If you’ve never sold a home before, you may be unfamiliar with real estate disclosures. Also known as Residential Property Disclosures, this is a legally binding document filled out by sellers for buyers to review. It is required by the state of Ohio in almost all residential sales and is typically completed with all other listing paperwork.

First-time sellers probably have a lot of questions about this document. Here are a few things you need to know. Also, remember that one of our expert agents will help you every step of the way during your home sale!

What is a Residential Property Disclosure?

A Residential Property Disclosure or real estate disclosure is a form that accurately describes the condition of a property. It includes questions, checkboxes, and spaces for sellers to provide further detail. The questions are about the integrity of the structure and its interior systems.

What is the purpose of a Residential Property Disclosure?

A Residential Property Disclosure is important because it provides details about a property. The document’s purpose is to alert potential homeowners to any known problems with the house. Buyers have the right to know what they are purchasing, so almost all sellers are required to fill out this form.

What needs to be included in the Residential Property Disclosure?

Any items that are not in working order or that make the property unsafe must be disclosed. However, Ohio disclosure law requires sellers to only disclose items they are aware of. You will not need an inspection to complete the form, only your knowledge of the property. This includes things like neighborhood nuisances, safety hazards, water damage, and anything that has  needed repairs.

When is an Ohio Residential Property Disclosure necessary?

Ohio law requires sellers to fill out a real estate disclosure. There are certain circumstances, however, where it is not needed. For example, when a property is a foreclosure, is being transferred directly between owners, or when a property is transferred to or from a governmental agency. These are some instances where a real estate disclosure is not necessary. If you are confused about whether you need to fill one out, ask your REALTOR!

What happens if a seller lies on the Property Disclosure?

You do not want to lie on a real estate disclosure. Sellers who willfully cover up information about their property can be sued and even convicted of a crime. Also, because a residential property disclosure offers information about issues that can go unnoticed, buyers can rescind their contract after receiving the form. However, the rescission must be before closing, within 30 days of signing the purchase contract, and within three days of receiving the form itself.

If you have any questions or concerns about completing your own real estate disclosures, you can always talk to one of our REALTORS. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Selling Your House: 7 Things to do Before You List

selling-your-house-what-to-do-before-sale

By Maddie Ogden

If the time is right for selling your house, don’t miss these 7 professional real estate tips to help you get your house ready before you list!

Getting a house ready to sell can be overwhelming, especially for first time sellers. You might be wondering where to even start. The simplest and most effective way to prepare your home to list is by putting yourself into the shoes of potential buyers. Imagine you’re looking for a home and walk through your own home with a pen and paper and make notes. What do you see when you drive up? What’s your first impression? What is it about your home that stands out, or what turns you off? The answers to these questions are going to help you prepare to list your home, especially combined with the help of our expert agents.

Selling Your House: 7 Things to do Before You List

1. Hire a REALTOR®

At the very beginning of this process, it is wise to contact a REALTOR®. The Columbus Team has the experience and education needed to help home sellers optimize their efforts toward the best possible sale outcome. Your agent will work with you before your home goes on the market to help prepare the property for optimal sale and to help you make good choices about upgrades and other things to do before selling. The Columbus Team also offers our free House Coaching service to help home sellers take all the necessary steps to purge, pack, and paint to maximize their bottom line when selling.

2. Declutter and deep clean your house

Nothing will turn away a potential buyer faster than a bad smell or a cluttered room. Before you list your home, declutter your house by packing non-essential living items. You should also consider doing a deep clean of your home. This includes everything from mopping the floors to cleaning the curtains. Whether you do this yourself, or hire a cleaning service, it is important for your house to be fresh, clean, and free of clutter.

3. Make small changes, not big upgrades

Many first-time sellers mistakenly assume it’s the big changes that sell the house. With costly upgrades, sellers often end up putting more money into their house than they will get back. Instead of a complete remodel, you should instead invest in smaller updates that will help you sell. This can include things like fresh coats of paint, updating pulls and knobs, and changing light fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens. Small changes make for big results. The Columbus Team REALTORS® are always happy to provide insight into what projects to focus on to improve your bottom line when it’s time to sell.

4. Check curb appeal

When buyers drive up to your home, the first thing they see is the front of your home. Now is the time to make a big impact with some small changes. Keep the lawn trimmed, don’t let the shrubs grow too high, and keep weeds out of the flower garden. Paint the front door a bold shade of red or blue that goes with your house but makes it stand out at the same time. Pressure wash the driveway and walkway, and clean up the house. You want buyers to see it shine from start to finish. The first impression sets the tone for the rest of their tour of your home.

5. Hire a professional photographer

Having high-quality photos of your home is an essential part of the selling process. Now more than ever people are searching for homes online and doing online tours. If you don’t have well-done, professional pictures of your house, then it may get overlooked by buyers. Fortunately, The Columbus Team provides amazing high-quality photography and video tours to highlight our listings.

6. Stage your home

Before putting your house on the market, your agent will probably suggest you “stage” your home. While this may sound difficult, it is actually a very simple process. It includes steps like getting rid of excess furniture, removing personal items, and adding fresh flowers to rooms. You should also make sure to open your blinds and turn all your lights on. Buyers like bright spaces and it makes it easier to see your home. Your agent is an expert at this process and will help ensure your home looks perfect for its first showing. Just remember that details sell homes. The Columbus Team REALTORS® offer free home staging from our amazing House Coach for all of our clients.

7. Set a realistic price

Pricing your house right is one of the most important steps of the selling process. It is also one that can be the most daunting, especially for first-time sellers. This is where our expert agents come in. They will take you through the process of pricing your home. This includes things like looking at comparable sales in your neighborhood. Your agent will also look at the housing market trends in your area to see if prices are moving up or down. This information will help you accurately decide the right price for your house.

We hope the 7 things to do before you list will help you with selling your house quickly and profitably.  If you’d like even more information on selling your home, don’t miss our Ultimate Guide to Selling a Home in Columbus Ohio.

Packing and Moving With Heart

Packing and Moving With Heart

Packing and moving into a smaller space can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. We’re grateful for organizations in our community like Downsize With a Heart who help with the entire process of packing and moving. They motivate us to be Realtors With a Heart! 

When we were introduced to Downsize With a Heart, a social enterprise of the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, we knew that home buyers and sellers could use their services. They not only help you with the planning, packing, moving, and unpacking, they also help you donate items and help others. Really, it’s a win-win service. 

Don’t let packing take a toll on your life. If you want to learn more about how Downsize With a Heart can help you, contact us. Our team is proud to sponsor their mission.