Showing a House with Pets, Problems at Walk-Through


Dear David,

We’re ready to list our house. What do we do with our cat and our dog during showings? – CONCERNED PET PARENTS

DEAR PARENTS: Your pets are valued family members and it’s important to keep them safe and secure above all else. If at all possible, I would urge you to leave your pets in the care of someone you trust, or arrange for them to stay at the puppy/kitty spa for the days your house is on the market.

Using the right strategy, your house can probably be sold inside of week. By moving your pets to a safe location during that time, you’ll ensure they won’t be disturbed by strangers or risk escape as people come and go. There’s also less chance of a prospective buyer being turned off by their presence. I always find the choice to accommodate your pets safely while your home is on the market is a worthwhile investment.


Dear David,

Our home purchase is supposed to close tomorrow. We did a walk-through of the house and it looks like all of the seller’s belongings are still there. What do we do? – UNPLEASANTLY SURPRISED

DEAR SURPRISED: It sounds like the vendor is buying and selling on the same day, which forces them to move their belongings out of the house almost as the keys are being handed to you. This is not a strategy I would ever recommend, though I’ve seen it when working with inexperienced agents.

First and foremost, you should never try to buy and sell on the same day. It’s far too risky. Residential sales commonly take place in a chain-like pattern as folks move out of one house and into another, across a string of properties. If they all buy and sell on the same day and somewhere along the line there’s a hiccup, it can quickly create a domino effect. Suddenly multiple people are delayed — a problem that’s compounded if it’s a Friday (or worse, the Friday of a long weekend).

To protect clients from unexpected hiccups, I always advise them to leave at least a day or two between the closings of their new home and their old one, which allows them to be out of the old house in plenty of time. Since that’s obviously not what happened here, you and your Realtor need to take quick action.

Put the other side on notice that you are not comfortable with the current state of the house. Have your Realtor arrange another last-minute walk through on closing day to ensure the home is in suitable condition and that any included chattels, window coverings, appliances, etc. are in place.

(Note to sellers, it’s a good idea to leave a key in the lockbox until the sale closes, “just in case”)

P.S. The simplest way to accommodate offset closing dates is through bridge financing, which your mortgage specialist can arrange in the planning stage of your purchase.