4 mins read

When you’re trying to sell your home, leaving potential buyers with a positive lasting impression is vital. Although many people love pets, when it comes to house viewings, they can be more of a hindrance than a draw. Smells, pet hair, and damage can all leave a negative impression that can impact how a buyer feels about your home.

Follow these tips to tackle the most common problems effectively, and ensure your home puts on it’s best show at house viewings.

How to get rid of pet hair on common surfaces

Carpets: To really get at all the pet hair stuck into your carpet fibres, dampen it first (but do not get too wet) and go over the surface with a rubber bristled broom. This will help pull out some of the more deeply ingrained hairs and make it easier to vacuum up. When vacuuming, make sure to go over your carpet at least twice, in different directions, to pull out stubborn hairs.

Soft furnishings: Because pet hair relies on static to stick to lots of things, it’s worst enemy is a bit of dampness. To remove hair from soft furnishings, use a pair of lightly wetted rubber gloves, or a sponge, and rub repeatedly. The hair should come off in clumps that you can vacuum up or throw into the bin.

Hardwood floors: Unfortunately vacuums are a little less effective at picking up hair from hardwood floors. They tend to blow hair around rather than collect it. A more effective solution is to use a mop with a microfibre pad.

Pro Tip: Blankets or covers on sofas If we’re being realistic, sometimes you’re not going to have time to do a really deep clean of all the surfaces that might have come into contact with your pet - particularly if you have a last minute viewing. Keep covers or blankets on your sofas in between viewings. This will prevent hair getting onto your soft furnishings, and they can be quickly stowed away before your visitors arrive.

How to tackle smells and stains

Research has found that one of the biggest turn-offs at a home viewing are bad smells. Taking steps to ensure the predominant aroma isn’t your pet will go a long way to improving your prospects for attracting a buyer.

Baking powder is your friend. It’s a great natural deodorizer. Often all you need to do for a quick refresh is sprinkle some powder onto a soft surface, allow it to sit in for a reasonable length of time - 10-20 minutes should be enough, but can be left overnight - and then vacuum it up.

You can also sprinkle baking powder over cat litter. It’s less off putting to cats than scented litter, and just as effective.

Stains and smells caused by cats marking carpets or soft furnishings can be particularly troublesome. This is because the uric acid crystals and salts in cat urine are insoluble and bond tightly with the surfaces they land on. If any kind of moisture gets on the crystals they will release that distinctive smell.

The best way to tackle this is to saturate the affected area with cold water and blot with kitchen paper or cloths until nearly dry. Apply a carpet cleaner to the area, and rinse well with cold water containing a few drops of disinfectant. Dry again with kitchen paper.

Pro Tip: The most important thing to remember is to never clean up pet stains or odour spots with vinegar (or vinegar-based cleaners). Although vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner, the smell will encourage your pet to mark the area again.

For more advice on how to prepare your home for sale, check out our handy guide.

Repair any damage

You may have gotten used to the cat scratches on your kitchen table legs, or the tattered pillow your dog loves to chew, but it’ll be very noticeable to a potential buyer. Even if you won’t be leaving the furniture behind, obvious damage can leave a negative impression about your home. Make sure you repair or replace anything before you host home viewings.

This goes beyond interior damage too. Check your garden carefully for signs that your lawn or flowerbeds have been dug up - and for any little ‘presents’ that would put a potential buyer off.

Unsure how to prepare your home for sale? Try a simple ‘home audit’. Learn how here.

Ready to make the move? Meeting agents is the first step. Compare the best performing agents for your sale here.