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real estate

Farm Out Your Pets For Open Houses

Planning what to do with the family pets when your house is being shown to buyers needs careful thought. Jill Brannigan of AFA Homes in Darien thinks pets are a liability when trying to sell a house. “You want a buyer to try a house on for size and that’s very difficult to do with a pet there,” she says. “Even pet lovers get distracted.” Linda Raymond of Raveis in Southport agrees. “It’s best to have pets out of the house during showings,” she says. Tammy Felenstein of Halstead in Stamford says “Some agents will not enter a house with a barking dog.”

Lois Lehman with AFA Homes in Fairfield says, “Shocking though the concept may be to sellers, boarding dogs during the first week of showing will ensure the house is clean, quiet and calm.” Dorothy Curran , of Weichert in Westport, agrees. “If the dog barks a lot that’s really a deterrent to lingering, understanding and falling in love with the house,” she says. Amy Waugh Curry has even more important advice. “Make sure your pets are alive,” she says. “I found a dead one with some buyers about a month ago. It was very sad.”

Cats are trickier. Making sure that indoor cats stay in can be a hard. Though Susan Calabrese of Coldwell Banker in Riverside ran into a different problem. “I actually let a cat into a house that was whining at the door, only to find that the owners had just one cat and it was in the bedroom!” Mary Petro of Coldwell Banker in Westport recommends buying a cover for the litter pan and trying to keep it as clean as possible. Barbara Martin of Wilton’s William Pitt/Sotheby’s says, “It is crucial there are no pet smells upon entering the home. Nothing turns a buyer off more.”

But cats and dogs aren’t the only animals that live in our homes. Nancy Pantoliano , manager of Prudential Connecticut Realty in Wilton, was showing a house to a potential buyer when a loud voice boomed from another room. “We thought someone was home,” she says. “First the person told us we were beautiful, and then told us not to be an ass!” It was the seller’s pet parrot. “Exotic pets (like expensive jewelry) should not be in a house when it’s shown,” says Ray Rume r with Norwalk’s Prudential. If you can’t find a friend to take your snake or lizard, cover the cage.

Do you have any pet stories you’d like to share? Leave a comment here or email me at

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