Although most everyone in America owns at least one pet, they can still cause a bit of a kerfuffle when it comes to selling your home. It turns out that even though we all love our own pets; we do not all love everyone else's choice in pets. Shocking, I know, but apparently some people would be distracted by my boa eying them up as they perused my house.
There are a few reasons why prospective buyers are not thrilled to see pets or evidence of pets in a home that they're looking to buy. First of all, pets stink. I know, I know, you wash your cat / dog / armadillo every day and there before it does not smell. Trust me, it smells. You do not smell the odor of your pet because you live with it. When you live with an odor every day, you become desensitized to it and can no longer smell it the way that someone who's new to your house will be able to. If you've ever gotten into an elevator with a woman wearing too much perfume, then you know how scents desensitization works and how horrible it can be to people who are not used to the smell.
Another reason that people do not want to see your pet when they come to look at your house is that many people are allergic to animals. Even if you've taken the time to vacuum and have your carpets cleaned, if your fur-bearing animals are still living in your house, there's pet hair and dander in residence as well. Did the breeder tell you that your poodle was hypoallergenic? Well, that's not exactly true. Some breeds of dog shed less than others, or not at all, but they still produce proteins in their dander and saliva that cause allergic reactions.
There are many people who do not have any physical problem with animals who will not want to see them at a showing purely out of fear. Many people are very cautious around unknown dogs, which is a very wise reaction to have because you are a stranger in that dog's territory and you could be making it feel threatened. People who are scared of cats are far less common but still worth knowing.
Terrariums with snakes, tarantulas, lizards, or other “creepy crawlies” will definitely need to be moved out of your house for showing. It's estimated that up to half of all women have a fear of spiders and one quarter of people, regardless of gender, have a fear of snakes. Do yourself a favor and send these pets on vacation or you can be assured that some prospective buyers will not be sticking around to check out how fabulous the rest of your house is.
Remember that the trick to selling your house is to encourage people to see themselves living in your space. Seeing your pets and their toys during a showing will at best make it harder to see themselves as owners of the home and at worst scare them into leaving a showing. Do not take any chances at wasting a showing over something that's so simple to plan for. Remove your pets and all their accessories from the house; the faster you can get your house sold, the quicker you can get them comfortably into a new home.