Seller FAQ: What do I do with my pets during showings?

What do I do with my pets during showings?

Sellers with pets can have an extra burden when listing their house for sale. If the pets cannot be removed from the house during showings, here are some tips that will ease the stress for you, your pets and the potential buyers touring your home.

Indoor-only cats
As a buyer’s agent, I certainly have had to chase down an indoor cat that decided to become an outdoor cat! It’s very stressful on everyone because how horrifying would it be if the cat got out during a showing and was lost?

You know your cat best. If strangers scare the cat into hiding, you might be okay. Posting reminders and warning notes on the front door that the cat is an indoor cat and to keep all doors closed is helpful to the buyer’s agent.

It’s also helpful to have a screen/storm door at the entrance. The screen door will always be closed even if the front door is left open.


If I had a nickel for every time a seller told me how friendly their dog was….!

Dogs are naturally going to defend their territory, and will bark and do whatever they need to do to protect their home and owners.

If the dog cannot be removed from the house during showings, then the dog will need to be crated. I know this is tough to hear but even having the dog loose in the garage or the mud room poses a problem for buyers. I had a showing where the dogs were in the garage, uncrated, and were having a fit that there were strangers in their house. We could not view the garage and had to reschedule the showing.

Dogs without their owner’s presence may also act unpredictably. Please do not put your pet, yourself or the buyers viewing your home in this situation where you dog may attack or on a lesser scale, have a nervous bladder and have an accident.

Reptiles and birds and other pets in cages
For some reason, it’s human nature to tap on a glass aquarium or to try to touch or poke an animal in a cage. I have no idea why but we all have the urge to do this! For sellers, my recommendation is to cover the cage with a towel, if you can, and put “do not touch” notes on the cage.

Minimize distractions
The overall goal is to minimize distractions for the buyer. This is always why your listing agent will tell you to declutter and depersonalize your home – to reduce distractions to the buyer so they can envision how they will live in the home.

If buyers have to be stressed out whether or not a cat escapes the house or deal with an angry dog, it takes away the experience for the buyer in truly viewing your home and considering it.

The gold standard is to remove the pets from the home, but if that cannot happen, hopefully these tips will help. Please share other ideas you have!

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