Some homeowners spend thousands of pounds improving their property before going to market, yet they can be oblivious to issues that prospective purchasers could regard as glaringly off-putting. Sometimes we have to point out some home truths if we are to enhance our client’s chances of selling quickly, and for an excellent price!

This is especially the case when it comes to pets. Just over half of British households own a pet. Six million of us have a cat, 5.1 million have a dog, 4.1 million have fish, 2.5 million have a rodent and 1.4 million keep birds. Just under 1 million of us keep reptiles!

Yet house buyers seem not to belong to the family of animal lovers, despite the fact that 70% of us lived in a pet-owning household as a child, and buyers can be very distracted when viewing a property that houses a pet.

It may be fear of a large or aggressive dog (66% of dogs are classed as medium to large), concerns about allergies or hair on clothing (there are 9.2 million cats in the UK) or the “stand on a chair” squeamishness about rats and mice. Don’t even mention snakes! Yakking, squawking or barking can also be an annoyance when a buyer is trying to concentrate on looking at the property – and hopefully like it.

Not all estate agents have the courage to talk plainly! But we say, if you are selling, please don’t ignore the effect your pet might potentially have on your sale. So take the dog for a walk when your agent brings buyers to view. Clean out the hamster cage twice a week and make sure there are no cat hairs on any chairs. Freshly cleaned carpets not only smell better than “arôme du chien”, but they look good as well.

Fido might have shredded your slippers – but don’t let him wreck your sale! As for us, we love dogs and dog biscuits can always be found in our pocket when we assess a home for sale.

Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA

Chief Executive Officer