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If you’re ready to sell your home and you’re a pet owner, there are a few things to consider before inviting people to an open house. First, you need to make sure that any potential buyer cannot tell that you have pets. That means not only removing all physical evidence of Fido or Fluffy (toys, bowls, beds, etc.), but also all odors and smells. Here are some tips for getting ready for a successful open house, with and without your pets.

First, you need to make your home spotless. Stage it like it’s a hotel. That means removing extra furniture and possessions so that people have room to walk around each room and imagine themselves living there. And don’t think of storing all the extra stuff in your closets because those will be looked at too. Potential buyers want to see themselves in your home, and they want to see how much room it has for their stuff. If you need to rent a storage facility for some of your furniture and family heirlooms, do it. That will also allow you to remove any appliances and other pieces that won’t be coming with the house.

Second, you need to clean, clean, clean. This is where Fido and Fluffy come in or, more accurately, go out. In addition to vacuuming, dusting, replacing air filters and washing windows, you need to make sure that no one can smell your pet. That probably means hiring professional cleaners to steam clean your carpets and wipe down places you might forget like fan blades and the top of the refrigerator. You don’t even want a photo of your fur babies around in case potential buyers are hesitant. This is a case of what they don’t know won’t hurt them. If they can’t tell that you have pets, then you’ve done your job getting the house ready for them. (You can find tips for removing pet odors here.)

Third, you need to make sure that everything your potential buyer sees is immaculate. If it’s broken, fix it or replace it. If it’s dirty, clean it. If it’s personal and intimate, take it out of the house before you open up for visitors. Pictures of your kids are fine; pictures of your family camping trip in bathing suits and flip flops may be a little much. Also remove all jewelry, medicines, and personal papers that you don’t want people flipping through. Safety first.

Finally, be sure that your home is inviting on the day of the open house. Remove cars from the driveway and open all curtains and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. Provide snacks and lemonade or water, and put out naturally fragrant flowers or candles. Don’t burn the candles though, or use air fresheners as some people are allergic to the chemicals.

Have pamphlets available with details about your house (square footage, price, school district, etc.) and photos highlighting the indoor and outdoor features. Include your contact information, and have a sign-up sheet to get the contact information of all visitors to your open house. Speak with each person to ask what they thought of your home and any suggestions they might have if they’re not interested, so that you can make corrections for next time.

There are many things that you can do to make your home picture perfect in preparation for an open house. If you’re a pet parent, you’ll have to do extra work to make sure that your fur baby’s smell isn’t lingering in the home. You’ll also want to have your pets elsewhere on the day of the open house. But if you’ve done your due diligence in cleaning (or hiring someone to clean) your house, potential buyers will see who they can become in your home, not what critters have lived there before.

Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.