Covering Your (Pet’s) Tracks
We all love our pets. Unfortunately, when selling a home, a potential buyer might not understand or agree with your tolerance for a stain or a scratch here or there. For landlords that own rental properties, damages caused by a tenant’s pets can be costly upon move out, since the harm done could actually reduce the property’s value. Here are some helpful tips for covering your pet’s tracks when moving out of your home.
Tackle Floors First
Our furry friends certainly take a toll on our floors, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be made as good as new. For carpets, early stain treatment is key. Try to eliminate potential urine stains by blotting the wet spot with a paper towel, then cleaning it with a mixture of water and vinegar. Finish by adding a bit of banking soda to the area and allow it to dry before vacuuming. If your spot cleaning hasn’t always been perfect, seek out a professional carpet cleaner who offers water extraction services. A professional can remove most stains with this method, so that the carpet doesn’t have to be replaced. In the end, if the stains can’t be removed, consider a replacement or offering a credit for a replacement to a buyer.
Hardwood floors can recover their luster with a few simple tricks. To conceal lingering odors, vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can work wonders. Scratches on the surface can be easily concealed with a stain-filled marker, while deeper scratches can be removed by applying wood filler and sanding. Re-staining the floor will have it looking shiny and new, but keep in mind that you should start with a light stain and only progressively apply darker stains if needed. If you’re working on a large area, you should reseal the floor with polyurethane, and pay special attention to matching the finish to the rest of the hardwood. Its best to hire a professional to handle this kind of work to ensure the job is well done and the floors are protected.
Make Furniture Repairs
Even if your furniture is moving with you, it’s vital to conceal any damage inflicted by your pet, since potential buyers might notice and question if other parts of the home are damaged. It’s not uncommon for pets to bite or scratch furniture, so knowing how to return it to its original condition is important. For wood furniture, you’ll have to get a bit crafty. Cut small hatch marks diagonally with a utility knife across wherever your pet has chewed. Then, layer several coats of auto-body filler, and wait till it’s almost dry to remove any extra filler, and reshape it. Finish by sanding the area down and painting over it with acrylic paint of varying shades to match the rest of the wood.
Scratched leather furniture can often be mended by rubbing the area down with white vinegar, followed by leather polish. If this method doesn’t work, a leather repair kit may do the trick. Buy a kit with a solution which matches your furniture, then place a scrap of fabric into any holes. From there, cover the area with the repair solution, and then place grain paper (grain side down) over it. Finish it off by ironing the grain paper, and removing it to reveal a scratch-free surface.
Spruce up the Walls
If the damaged wall is sheetrock or paneling, repairing it can be relatively easy. Sand the area down first, and then spackle over any holes, applying multiple layers if necessary. If extra layers are needed, make sure the one previously applied dries completely before more is added. Finish by sanding over it again and covering it with primer and paint. Unfortunately, wallpaper isn’t quite as easy to repair. Damaged wallpaper will need to be removed, from which point you can either replace it or opt for paint.
Enhance Curb Appeal
Wondering how a family pet can take a toll on a home’s curb appeal? Take a look at the lawn. If you have dogs, it’s likely that your lawn or backyard serve as a common place for your pet to do his business. Or perhaps he’s fond of digging? Dogs can certainly do a number on your lawn. Thankfully, making the yard attractive again isn’t much of a chore. Filling holes is a bit of a no-brainer. As for the grass, you can have it looking green as ever with a little extra water (to wash away urine that hurts the lawn), grass seed and fertilizer, or if need be, replace sections with sod.
The most important thing when selling your home where pets have lived is simply erasing the tracks they leave behind. Prevention goes a long way, so it’s important to stay on top of pet damage whether you plan to move or not. In the event that you have had some pet damages, we hope our tips can be of help.
For all of your South Florida real estate needs, you can count on the team at Stein Posner. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in South Florida, give us a call today.