By Bill Primavera
My wife Margaret is a practically perfect woman with only one discernable flaw: she dislikes dogs.
Hence, I have lived a happy marriage with only that one major difference between us. I love dogs and have always longed for one. But alas, I have had to settle for a couple of cats to share our home, a species I don’t particularly relate to.
While “woof, woof” can be music to a dog lover’s ears, there is sad news for those of you who plan to sell your home someday – your dog can hinder the sale.
Truth is that some prospective buyers will not share the affection you have for your dog. Any feeling they might have is usually disinterest at best and naked fear at worst.
Real estate agents like me tend to moan when they book a showing for a buyer client and the listing instructions include comments such as “dog’s name is Killer, but he’s really very gentle.” Or better yet, “it’s best not to enter the garage where two large dogs will be in crates. If your buyer insists on entering the garage, do NOT try to pet the dogs.”
Showings should be as convenient as possible and the dog issue is be taken seriously and accommodated creatively, even if it puts a genuine hardship on the owner. Buyers are more likely to make an offer on a house they like if they get to spend more time in it. If there is persistent barking while they’re viewing the house, they might want to leave as soon as possible.
A while back good friends of ours, two gentlemen who were great dog lovers, acquired three medium-sized dogs over a couple of years. The dogs were all the same breed of English bulldog, a truly hyper variety with faces only a mother could love. They were the most ill-behaved dogs I’ve ever encountered. When my wife and I would visit our friends for dinner, the canine trio would jump on us until our legs would ache. My wife began to wear jeans for our visits, instead of her usual skirt and stockings, in order to brave the dogs’ manic behavior.
While the dogs were mauling us, their incessant barking was accompanied by yelling from their owners demanding that they calm down. My wife finally insisted that she could visit our friends’ home only if the dogs were secured in another room while we were there.
When our friends moved to North Carolina, I was delighted to list their exceptional arts and crafts-style home. However, I insisted they take the dogs out of the house when it was to be shown. The owners agreed.
When we were looking for our own home, my wife and I booked a showing where, as soon as we got out of our car, we were greeted by a chorus of loud barking. When we entered the center hall of the house, a closed door to the right was literally being strained from its hinges by two large dogs hurling their bodies against our only defense against them. Even though we liked the overall look of the house, it was difficult to concentrate with such a distraction. We just wanted to leave.
More laid-back dogs that remain in a house when it is being shown might be found in crates. My heart goes out to them. Although we’re told that dogs accept this kind of restriction, I have a hard time believing that and always feel guilty about their containment because of my visit.
Sometimes there is a residual dog smell in a house of which the owners may be unaware. This can be an issue with cats, too, perhaps even more so because of the litter box.
One of the most distressing sights involving dogs is when hardwood floors are stained by urine and/or the surface is severely damaged by their claws. It’s nearly impossible to correct that situation unless the floors are completely replaced.
I also sometimes receive sad calls from dog owners who have great difficulty in finding a landlord who will let them have a dog; some condos and co-ops restrict their presence as well.
Real estate buying and selling is fraught with challenging issues. But a realtor’s job is to market a seller’s home and his or her responsibility is to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the process doesn’t go to the dogs because of dogs.
Bill Primavera is a publicist, journalist and a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. (www.PrimaveraPR.com). To take advantage of these areas of expertise, you can engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale. Just call 914-522-2076.