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Open House Etiquette for Sellers with Dogs

Our four-legged friends bring a lot of joy to our lives, but they also make selling a home more difficult. Not only is there more to clean and keep clean to get your house ready to sell, but you also have to keep pets out of the way during showings. This guide explains how you can get a dog-friendly home ready for the open house and practice good dog etiquette during the event itself.

Before the Open House

It’s a simple truth: Clean and organized homes sell better. If you want the fastest sale and highest price possible for your home, keeping it clean is imperative. For example, homes in the Rancho Santa Margarita, California, market have sold on an average price of $643,000 over the last month.


While an immaculate home is harder to achieve with pets, it’s hardly impossible. Start by deep cleaning your home one to two weeks before the open house. Adeep clean should include cleaning the carpets and upholstery, as soft surfaces trap pet hair, dander, dirt and other odor-causing particles. The simplest option is to hire professionals to deep clean. If you opt to do it yourself, check theupholstery cleaning codes to avoid accidentally damaging your furniture. You’ll also want to locate and repair any pet damage in the home.


Once your home is clean, you need a strategy for maintaining it. Close doors and use baby gates to keep pets off of clean carpets. Another option is laying downarea rugs that you can remove before the open house. If training dogs to stay off the furniture isn’t an option, use slipcovers to protect the upholstery and remove them before showings. Be sure towipe paws before letting dogs indoors and brush dogs regularly to minimize indoor shedding.


Homeowners should also keep dogs’ toys, bowls and other accessories contained to one area of the home. Before showings, pack up pet items and store them in a closet or cupboard. If you’re short on storage space, try one of The Everyday Dog Mom’ssolutions. Tucking away your dog’s items before the open house creates a tidy appearance and helps your home appeal to everyone.

During the Open House

On the day of the open house, plan for your pets to stay off site. Dogs distract buyers from the reason they’re really there, which is to view your home. It’s also a safety hazard if your dog jumps on a visitor or a visitor trips over your dog.


It’s not enough to shut dogs in a quiet room or in the backyard. Visitors at an open house need to be able to view every room in the home including outdoor spaces. Even if a dog is contained in a crate, some buyers might not feel comfortable entering a room where pets are being kept.


To ensure your open house is a success, the safest option is to arrangedog boarding on the day of the open house. If your dog doesn’t board well, hire a dog walker to take your pet on a long outing during the open house. Be sure to account for extra time before the open house so you can tidy up without pets in the way. At minimum, you’ll want time to clear and wipe down surfaces, sweep and vacuum floors, and pick up waste from the yard before prospective buyers arrive. The Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Blog lists additionallast-minute cleaning tasks to complete before the open house begins.


As you prepare your home for the open house, remember that booking cleaning services and dog boarders isn’t just for your prospective buyers’ benefit. Taking these steps also protects you and your pets. If your dog escapes during a busy open house or accidentally harms someone, the outcome could be heartbreaking. By preparing appropriately, you eliminate risk and increase the odds that your open house leads to a sale. 


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Article provided by Tamara Gilmore at