How to Maintain
the Value of a Pet Home

For pet owners who want to avoid a huge cleaning bill or a big reduction in the sale price when they want to sell their home.

Published on September 2nd, 2020

Your home is probably the most expensive investment you'll make in your lifetime. And because your home is so valuable, you'll presumably want to hold on tight to that monetary worth and not see your hard-earned money go down the drain.

However, we all know pets can reduce the value of your home.

As many as 67% of U.S. households own a pet, which equals just under 85 million homes. Out of these households, 63.4 million own a dog, and 42.7 million are home to a cat. [1]

That's a lot of homeowners at risk of losing money by not taking care of their property.

After you've been living in your home for a while, many things may go unnoticed. Pet hair here and there, a lingering pet smell, yellow grass in the backyard, and a few chewed up corners.

golden sitting

Although you may be happily sharing a home with your fur-friends, these little signs of a pet home are not exactly good selling points. After all, most buyers are concerned that pets affect the cleanliness and smell of the property.

A British survey found that, on average, a pet can cause $1,120 worth of damage to a household pet year [2]. Also, even the smallest signs of the property being home to pets may cause buyers to lose interest. It has been estimated that the value of a home may be reduced by as much as $30,000 if it is a household with pets. [3]

When selling a house, having pet hair everywhere, pet waste on the front lawn, or that nasty pet urine smell on your carpet are huge turn-offs. A pet home that is not kept clean and smell-free will lose value and take longer to sell.

You may also be losing potential buyers because, according to studies, in the U.S., three in 10 people have allergic reactions to cats or dogs [4]. A messy home with pets often raises health concerns in buyers and will definitely see a reduction in value.

So what are your options if you don't want to be getting that lower sale price?

In short:

  1. you either keep your home clean, or
  2. you pay a huge cleaning bill before selling (and hope it does the trick!)

Wear and tear can not be avoided in any home, but keeping it to the minimum will ensure your home will not lose its monetary worth. The key to maintaining the value of a pet home is regular cleaning and making sure the mess doesn't build up.

If the damage is already done, you will either see a colossal cleaning bill, some serious repairs, or a significant reduction in the price when you eventually want to sell.

Regular cleaning is important because pet homes can be very difficult to clean thoroughly if the mess and smells have been left to sit for years. If the owner has neglected proper cleaning for ages, even a professional cleaning company may find it challenging to bring the cleanliness up to par.

Next, we'll go through 7 actionable steps to take to ensure your pets are not bringing down the value of your home little by little.

7 Easy Actions to Take

1. Don't treat your home like a chew toy

If your new pup gets his teeth on the window sill or your cat reacts to boredom by scratching the door frames, your home will soon have a worn-down look to it. Quickly your eye will get used to the little marks of owning a pet, but buyers won't see them as signs of a well-kept home.

Make sure your dog or cat doesn't damage woodwork by scratching or chewing. Repairs can be expensive, but new owners definitely don't like chewed up baseboards. Everything that is damaged by your pet's teeth or claws needs to be repaired before selling the home, or it will reduce the selling price by more than what it takes to get the work done.

So get out those chew toys and get your pup to focus its energy on other things to maintain the value of your property.

dog pee on carpet

2. Prevent that pet pee smell

Getting rid of the smell of pet urine is easier said than done. Even cleaning professionals struggle to completely remove the unpleasant odor, and buyers may quickly turn around at the front door if they get a whiff of that stench.

When it comes to pet pee odor, it's better to avoid the damage altogether than to try and clean it up later on. The smell of pet urine is nasty, but after a while, you may not even notice it yourself. The potential buyers, however, will see it as a big turn-off.

Housetrain your dog or make sure your cat has a litter box that keeps those smells confined. Larger dogs that need the exercise are taken out to do their business, but many owners are tempted to use pee pads for smaller dogs.

Although you may think that a little dog pee on an absorbent pad won't affect your home, actually, the smells linger and cause your whole house to smell.

Cat owners need to be careful too. If you don't use high-quality cat litter and change it often enough, your home will quickly start smelling like cat pee.

Also, be careful that your pet isn't marking its territory. You may not even notice it, but the smell can slowly build up. Pet pee is one of the most difficult reeks to remove, and even a cleaning professional may not be able to save a stinking home.

3. Vacuum your home regularly

Vacuuming your home once a week should be an obvious part of upkeep cleaning.

Pets shed dander and hair, which quickly builds up, causing your home to look untidy and smell stuffy. The dust and dirt build up on the edges of floors, in corners, and on top of baseboards. Slowly nooks and crevices start to look gray and old, giving you home a dirty look. Built-up dirt even causes your home to have an old smell.

If you want to keep your home sparkling, you definitely need to stick to a vacuuming routine – especially if you own pets that shed. A stick vacuum is an excellent tool to help you with establishing a habit of cleaning routinely. On the other hand, if you're too busy to clean, you could always get a robotic vacuum (these are some of our favorites).

Either way, it's important that you don't let the mess build up and set.

cleaning carpet with an upright vacuum cleaner

4. Mop the floors and wipe surfaces

Just like vacuuming, mopping floors and wiping the surfaces is also something that should be done routinely. When the dust and dirt are allowed to settle into crevices and corners, they form that greyish gunk that makes your home look dirty.

If stains are left to set of floors, they will be more difficult to remove – and sometimes even impossible. Thoroughly mopping your floors once a week will keep them spotless and looking good. And in the long run, having shipshape surfaces will maintain the value of your home.

5. Thoroughly clean pet accidents

If you own pets, it's impossible to avoid the odd accident. But when you do, you should have proper cleaning equipment ready to make sure urine, feces, and vomit are thoroughly removed.

Light spot cleaning isn't enough, and you should always make sure you deep clean the area with enzyme-based cleaners. Even is the surface looks stainless and doesn't smell anymore, pet pee has often penetrated deeper and may start to smell after it has dried up.

Set-in stains will cause your whole home to smell, which is why you should always make sure any pet accidents are carefully cleaned up. A few small accidents here and there may not seem like a big deal, and you may get used to the odors yourself. But potential buyers may take note of that smell right when they walk in and lose interest.

6. Get your carpets cleaned regularly

Many homeowners try to save a few bugs by postponing getting their carpets cleaned. If there aren't any visible stains, it may seem like there is no point in spending money on a professional carpet cleaner.

But when you have pets, it's not just the visible stains that matter. Drool, body oils, sweat, and other nasty bodily fluids are absorbed into the carpets creating that pet smell. By cleaning your carpets routinely, you can remove all that gross stuff that causes the carpet to smell funky.

And keeping your carpets looking good and smelling fresh will keep up the value of your home.

ensure curb appeal

7. Ensure curb appeal

The first things buyers see are the driveway, front lawn, and front door of your house. Letting your dog dig holes in the yard, pee on the front lawn until the grass is yellow, or scratch the door is not a good idea if you want to keep your home looking good.

Seeing those signs of damage done by pets will make most buyers lose interest immediately. If you have allowed your pet to tear down the outside, what is the inside going to look like?

Train your pets not to demolish the front or back yard if you want to make sure your home keeps up its value. After all, it's the most important feature when trying to make a good first impression.

Summing up

Because your pets are family members, you may easily overlook the damage they are doing to your home.

The smells and stains build up over time, and you may not even notice how your new home is losing its fresh smell or spotless look. A few new scratch marks on the stairs may annoy you for a couple of days, but quickly they become a part of what you're used to your home looking like.

When it's time to sell your home, it may be too late.

If you have allowed your pets to cause damage to your home, you may be looking at some expensive repairs and professional cleaning. Any buyer will quickly take note of the nasty odors, chewed up corners, and overall worn-out look.

Many lose interest completely, and at least you're looking at a big reduction in selling price.

The value of a pet home is best preserved by taking care of your home from day one. Train your pets when they are young to avoid any damage, and when those accidents happen, make sure you clean them up thoroughly. And stick to that cleaning routine to prevent dirt build-up.

A pet home can maintain it's financial worth if you just take a little extra care. 

 

Sources:

1. American Pet Products Association." Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics".
https://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp

2. McIver, Brian. "Report reveals pets cost owners £3.3bn in home repairs every year." Daily Record. Feb. 25, 2011. (Feb. 27, 2011) http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/editors-choice/2011/02/25/report-reveals-pets-cost-owners-3-3bn-in-home-repairs-every-year-86908-22948693/

3.Tuttle, Brad. "What Do Pets Do to the Resale Value of Your Home?" Time. Nov. 10, 2010. (Feb. 27, 2011) 
http://money.blogs.time.com/2010/11/10/what-do-pets-do-to-the-resale-value-of-your-home/

4. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America." Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats?" https://www.aafa.org/pet-dog-cat-allergies/

Matt Clayton

Matt Clayton

Chief Editor & Founder of PetHairPatrol

Matt is the founder of PetHairPatrol.com and has years of experience helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He's been featured in publications like Reader's Digest, Money, and BestLifeOnline. When this neat freak is not searching for better ways to get rid of pet hair, dander, and other messes pets leave behind, he's usually enjoying outdoors with his two (hairy) Goldens: Ben and Jerry. Read more.

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