How Much Are Your Pets Really Costing You?

baltimoreBefore I get started let me preface this by saying that I love all kinds of pets however; I’m talking reality here and the simple truth is that homes with pets typically sell for less than homes without pets. The degree of a home’s loss in value for having a pet depends entirely on how much impact the pet has had on the condition and presentation of the home.

If you own your home and plan on selling in the near future you may want to think twice before bringing that new puppy home from the pet store.

Here are a few of the biggest detractors to your home’s value because of your beloved pets as well as a few ideas on how to mitigate your pet’s negative influence on your home’s value:

  • Pet Odor – Without question this is by far the biggest reason potential buyers will run from a home especially when that pet odor overwhelms them as soon as they walk in the front door. The smell of pet urine absorbed by carpeting and plywood sub-flooring usually will outlast anyone living in the home so do everything you can to immediately housebreak your pets.  In addition, make sure to bathe your pets frequently and keep their habitats clean especially when showing your home to potential buyers.
  • Property damage – If your pets have had one too many “accidents” on your flooring often times the carpet, pad, and sub-flooring may need to be replaced or at a minimum the sub-flooring may need to be treated with an odor and bacteria-killing sealer before new carpet and padding can be installed. In addition, scratches on cabinets, furniture, doors, and walls can also hurt a home’s value. So before placing your home for sale repair any pet damage you can find. It’s also advisable that you replace any doors with existing ‘doggy doors’ before listing your home for sale.
  • Pet Noise – Whether it’s a meowing cat, a barking dog, or a talking parrot, all of these can be excuses for a buyer to eliminate your home from their shopping list. In addition, the last thing you need is for a buyer to step onto your property, have your dog start barking, and then have all the other dogs in the neighborhood join in as well.
  • Remove pets during ‘Show Times’ – During showings make sure to take your pets out of the home and away from the property. No one likes your pets as much as you do and buyers are trying to visualize your home as theirs so help them out by eliminating any distractions your pets may cause. In addition, from a safety stand point it can also be dangerous to leave a dog in a home for a showing regardless of how friendly you think your dog might be.

Remember that homes with extensive pet odor and significant damage can easily suffer tens of thousands of dollars in lost value. Just as important, homes with noticeable pet damage will get far fewer offers, and typically will stay on the market much longer than homes without pets.

I hope you found this helpful and if you have any additional questions, thoughts, or comments please leave them down below.

Decorum Valuations specialize in appraisals for divorce, bankruptcy, estate, date of death, tax appeals, pre-listings, and more throughout the greater Baltimore area. For more info contact us at 800-619-5309, visit us at, or email us @