For many homeowners, pets are part of the family. And just like other members of the family, pets can sometimes cause problems around the house. A stain here, damaged wooden floors there: It can add up over time. Before selling a home, a homeowner will want to rectify these problems just like any others.

Oh My, What’s That Smell!

Sometimes you can tell pets live in a house the moment you open the door. This is not something you want to happen to potential buyers coming to take a look.  There is no simple fix for pet odors.  Sprays, plug-ins and scented candles might cover the smell, but may also set off alarm bells as people wonder what you’re trying to hide with all that perfume.

The secret to solving this problem is thorough and complete cleaning of all problem areas. That means deep cleaning carpets, furniture, and floors and walls. The smell of cat urine is perhaps the worst offender, and it the hardest to remove successfully.  The process can be involved, but here are guides from and that will help immensely. In addition, here are some more suggestions:

The Damage Pets Can Do

Hardwood floors and sharp, hard claws do not mix well. Cats and window screens is a disaster in the making. We won’t even consider some of the more exotic pets. All of this can add up to significant repair costs. So, here are some ideas to help prevent damage in the first place

  • Keep pet’s nails trimmed so they won’t wear away the finish of a hardwood floor.
  • Give your cat something to scratch so they’ll leave window screens alone.
  • Don’t train your dog to scratch at the door when it wants to go outside. Unless the door is protected, it’s going to suffer over time.
  • A bitter smelling spray from the pet store will help discourage teething puppies from chewing the edge of a door.
  • Double-wide sticky tape will keep cats from scratching that area.
  • Make sure to clean up urine and water spills quickly. Water can seep through the floor, and cause damage all the way down.
  • You’ll have to do it when you sell your house, so go ahead and vacuum up all of that pet hair hiding behind the refrigerator.

A final tip: Your homeowners insurance policy will only cover damaged caused by pets if that animal is covered by the policy. You’ll need to talk to your insurance agent if you think you need to expand your coverage.

And when it comes time to sell your home, I’m here to help you. Give me a call and let me help you get the best possible price for your home, pets or no pets.

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI
Keller Williams Realty

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Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting

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