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View Full Version : Quandry - how to keep your horses/dogs/cats safe from prospective buyers?



ESG
Jan. 17, 2009, 08:14 AM
So, we've put our place on the market. I have three dogs, four cats, and six horses on the property. My realtor is confident that I won't have to have prospective buyers sign releases to keep my liability to a minimum, but I'm not so sure. After 22 years in the horse business, I know how stupid people can be around animals. :rolleyes: True, most folks who come here to look will be horse people, but some will not. And I know that no realtor or buyer is going to chase after my escape-artist cat when he rockets out the front door and disappears into the holly hedge outside it. :mad: I don't blame them - I wouldn't, either. But I'm terrified that my animals will suffer from the sales process.

Any suggestions?

idtogo
Jan. 17, 2009, 08:19 AM
I think your best bet would be to have the dogs and cats boarded and out of the house or confined to crates when prospective buyers come to see the property. They will only be a distraction for buyers. the horses should be fine

Calamber
Jan. 17, 2009, 08:25 AM
I would most definitely either kennel the dogs outside or in crates, kittie/s in crate. I once rescued two dogs who had been let loose by the real estate agent or the clients when they left the gate open on the outside fence. The woman started crying her eyes out (they were not home but arrived as I was going house to house) they were safe only because I saw them cross the busy road and they were friendly enough to cram themselves into my little truck.

bf1
Jan. 17, 2009, 08:29 AM
I agree that the cats and dogs must be confined. When we showed our house, I put everyone in the car and drove around until they were done. Of course, that was a house, not a horse farm. But they need to be out of the house. And I would hope that they wouldn't open any gates, or stalls.

twofatponies
Jan. 17, 2009, 08:34 AM
For sure all the indoor/house pets should be gone when buyers come to look. Drop them off at a kennel each day, or take them with you in the car (in crates, whatever) while you go wherever you go. Assuming your property is otherwise appealing and tidy, having pets in the house is distracting, and potentially dangerous, not only for the pets (who might get out, or accidentally locked in a closet), but also to the strangers, who might be phobic or might accidentally trigger a bite or scratch when trying to interact with them. Imagine the perfect buyer looking at your house, and then they hear the dogs barking endlessly or they hate cats, or they have to spend extra attention trying not to step on them or let them out, and that kills their interest in buying!

The horses are behind fences or in stalls, so it's unlikely there will be any interaction with them - the buyers don't need to open gates and go into paddocks to see the property!

county
Jan. 17, 2009, 09:22 AM
What do you do when people come to your place now? I'm not sure what the problem is we have people here all the time looking at horses for sale, people looking at the stallions to breed to, freinds that stop in etc. the cats and dogs just go about their life as always.

Foxhound
Jan. 17, 2009, 09:40 AM
My husband and I are currently looking at horse properties. It's better if the horses are boarded elsewhere. Prospective buyers want to be able to walk into the stalls, go into the paddocks, etc, without worrying about someone else's horses.
Dogs and cats should definitely be off the property as well. Board them or put them with a neighbor, but they should not be in the house during showings.

SuperSTB
Jan. 17, 2009, 09:53 AM
Yeah I guess I'm asking the same as county is. You know you *CAN* be home when realtor shows the house. I never removed my animals when my house was on the market. My dogs were in a kennel (sometimes I took them with if the showing was going to be lengthy). My cats all stayed in the house. I've even been home during a good many showings. Likewise when I went house hunting- many many homes the current owners were there. I actually PREFERED it because they can tell you little tidbits that the realtor forgets.

Example my house in Millbury. We were 2 blocks from the town green. Very convenient as we could walk to just about anything. Also we had probably the best view of the fireworks in the summer and never had to struggle to pack up and find parking for the parades, we just walked to the corner. It was fabulous. Of course you ucan tell your realtor these details but they don't remember these little tidbits unless its detailed on the sheet. And you can't detail everything so...

I looked at a house here in CA. The sellers sheet said zoned for up to 4 horses. The owners were home so I asked them a few questions (such as how old the roof was) well realtor didn't know that there WAS a zoning issue with the horses and that a roof contractor was replacing the roof the following week. I'm sure these 2 details would make many folks walk away.

When they show the house- hang out in the barn :)

Bayou Roux
Jan. 17, 2009, 10:04 AM
I'd confine the kitties and doggies in crates or a stall or extra room in the barn, and I'd hang in the barn while prospective buyers are looking. Use the extra time in exile in the barn to clean your tack or repair those piddly little things that never get addressed...like the zipper on my favorite fleece jacket!... be industrious and invisible.

75% of visitors will just be tire-kickers, so your presence on the property at the time of their first visit won't be that big a deal. If they're serious, interested parties, they can come for a second visit, at which time you can arrange to be away, with the animals properly confined (with you, boarded, or in their barn space). The serious, interested ones are likely to be one step more reliable than the general non-horse-smart public.
Maybe. :sadsmile:

JanM
Jan. 17, 2009, 10:24 AM
Make sure that the listing (the insider notes for the other realtors) state what type of animal species are in the house. A friend's brother was looking at places and he is extremely allergic to cat dander-he was looking at former rentals, told the landlord/seller about his extreme allergy, and the landlord thought he was exaggerating or didn't believe about the allergy, and when he walked into the place he almost collapsed-apparently the former tenant had numerous cats and poor Bobby was sick for days and had a trip to the ER. Even though you are showing a farm property some people do need to know these things up front.

Can you confine the cat in something like a four-season room or something with see through doors so they can view the room but not enter? "Do Not Enter" and "Don't let cat out" signs don't work-some people seem to think it doesn't mean them. Can the horses be out in the pasture instead of in the barn so you can show the barn empty and avoid contact with outsiders? A lot will depend on the weather and the setup for your home and barn.

I was present for all showings for my previous home-it did limit when people could visit but if anyone had let my dog out I would have offed someone-I didn't interfere but I did say if you have any questions I'll be here and I left them alone otherwise (my realtor emphasized the answer only exactly what they ask thing too). I also am very AR about touching up the paint-realtors kept asking when I painted because the walls were flawless (I took down and packed all pictures and patched the holes, touched up the paint) because I was ready for the movers-I never had repainted (the house was only a year old when I moved in and I only lived there five years). And you need to store securely anything personal (fancy picture frames or silver) or expensive--Not only does it depersonalize it for showings but you don't want to have anything grow legs and leave (Yes it happens fairly often unfortunately-I know several people that lost jewelry, silver or fancy framed pictures during showings or open houses).

A good thing to do is a one page description of your property like a real estate flyer-it's amazing what you don't know until you think about your property objectively. I like to leave a list of the age of any appliance or permanent features (Heat/AC, roof) and what's staying-window treatments etc. Definitely note anything that you will be taking-preferably if you have something like the heirloom chandelier etc that you are taking you will put it's replacement up before showings. Especially note anything you will be leaving as a buyer's incentive (mower, lawn tractor etc) and I like to leave a list of the favorite contractors or workmen that I have found reliable for the next owner. And set a price that you will not go below-but remember that it's better to sell now than to wait for a buyer who may never come and offer what you want. It's better to sell fast for less than to pay a double mortgage for a long period of time. Realistic pricing and a great marketing plan is the secret to selling. When I'm looking I don't even consider places without a lot of pictures-it also eliminates some of the tire kickers and people who just look at houses for fun. This state (Alabama) has no disclosure so if I ever sell I would definitely not be here for showings, because unlike the previous a$$*#($@ who sold me the place I would have to tell them the owner across the street is a drug dealing b#*$* and her boyfriend is in jail again, and the local DA plea-bargains everything out and they will always live there (I have to hope for a rival to take care of them I guess-not nice but I have zero sympathy for people who push drugs to kids). There are some situations that definitely make it better that you not be present for showings-also you can hear some hideous remarks from potential buyers who don't care that you are sitting right there. You need to separate your self from your property, after all it is no longer yours after you sell so if they decide to bulldoze the house to build a mcmansion there's really nothing you can do about it.

Country-of course you can take them with you-didn't you see City Slickers? Great publicity too.

county
Jan. 17, 2009, 10:34 AM
I'm trying to picture trying to board/hide/move over 100 animals when the day comes I put this place up for sale. It ain't happening.

MistyBlue
Jan. 17, 2009, 11:04 AM
One thing that's often forgotten: Remove all prescription drugs from cabinets, counters and bathroom for each showing. Drop them in your purse and take them with you or put them in something that locks. Especially do this for open houses...there are quite a few folks who tour open houses just to steal prescription drugs.
I'd go with crating the cats, removing the dogs. Clean the litterbox right before each showing. Vacuum and use Febreeze air spray to remove as much pet smells as possible. Horses out if possible, but they can stay in if the weather is bad. Just make a sign to hang in the barn for people to please stay out of stalls when the horses are in and please no feeding, petting or giving treats. If the horses have been in all day due to weather and there's a showing, pick those stalls before the showing. Even horse people can be turned off by stinky barns, they'll wonder what type of flooring is in the stalls and if that's going to need to be replaced if it's urine soaked. Decobweb the barn. Repair any hanging fence boards or drooping tape/wire.
In the house concentrate mostly on kitchen and bathrooms. Those make or break home sales. Declutter counters, vanities and call cabinets and closets. The more room/counter space visible the better. Kitchens and baths sparkling clean. Bleach or regrout the tub/shower, no showing mold or dark spots.
Remember when your house is on the market it's no longer just your home. It's a product for sale and it needs to be presented in the best possible light to buyers. Yes, it's a PITA to have a house for sale and have showings. But it's also a 6 figure sale item and shouldn't be presented badly due to inconvenience purposes.
I would vacate the house...homes that the owners stay in for showings take on average 3x longer to sell and sell on average for 5-10% less. Homeowners are notorious for giving too many "tidbits" of info that the buyer's Realtor will know how to use against them during negotiations. Buyers don't need the skinny on every little bit of info on the first showing, they can get more info on the second showing. As a homeowner it's great to make your own presentation packet that has color photos of the property in different seasons and bullet points on fun extras such as "walk to park" or "right on the trails" or "great block parties in summer!" A present homeowner may be asked questions by buyers that can ruin a sale and it looks bad if the homeowner refuses to answer a pointed question or answers is badly and if the owner lies/fibs a bit over the answer they can be sued at a later time. Leave the showings to the Realtors...they know what they're doing. :winkgrin:

ReSomething
Jan. 17, 2009, 11:50 AM
This is a sick but funny story - DH and DD got some rabbits and kept them caged in the back of the house. Well, one of the bunnies was a "jumper", she would leap up and do back flips in the cage. Realtor called and they bailed out of the house for a showing. When they got back, the jumper had evidently done a back flip and broken her neck while they were gone. So to this day DH wonders if the potential buyers didn't freak out because there was a dead bunny in the cage, or worse yet watch the bunny when it killed itself. Needless to say they gave the bunnies to a good friend soon afterwards.

Huntertwo
Jan. 17, 2009, 12:19 PM
So, we've put our place on the market. I have three dogs, four cats, and six horses on the property. My realtor is confident that I won't have to have prospective buyers sign releases to keep my liability to a minimum, but I'm not so sure. After 22 years in the horse business, I know how stupid people can be around animals. :rolleyes: True, most folks who come here to look will be horse people, but some will not. And I know that no realtor or buyer is going to chase after my escape-artist cat when he rockets out the front door and disappears into the holly hedge outside it. :mad: I don't blame them - I wouldn't, either. But I'm terrified that my animals will suffer from the sales process.

Any suggestions?

ESG,
We had the same problem when our house was for sale last year. At the time we had 5 cats and 1 dog. Cats were all house cats and I was terrified at the thought of someone escaping.

Fortunately, we have a den with French doors and I was able to put the cats in there with a large note on the door - not to open "House Cats". Prospective buyers still could look inside, just not enter.

I even went so far to bungee the door handles together..:yes: Yes, I'm paranoid about my cats. ;)

We also didn't allow a Lock Box to be used for Realtors to come and go. We took the dog immediately before a showing and left the main door unlocked. Also came home right after the showing.

If you don't have a den like we do, I'd definitely crate them just long enough for the prospective buyers to come look.

Huntertwo
Jan. 17, 2009, 12:29 PM
MistyBlue, you are SO right regarding prescription drugs!!!

When we had the house on the market last summer, some SOB stole
one of my *good* prescription drugs that I use for anxiety.

My agent apologized profusely for not keeping the couple together, but apparently while she was showing the wife the bathroom, the husband wandered off into the kitchen. Obviously he knew what he was looking for, because that is the only drug bottle he took.

On top of that, the Insurance would not pay to have it refilled again..grrr

So, if you see a white Honda Ridgeline in town, that is them!!!

bdj
Jan. 17, 2009, 02:27 PM
I house/pet-sat for a friend who's house was on the market. The instructions I was left with were that the realtor would call me (at least a half hour) prior to any showing. When I got the call, all I had to do was to put the pups in their crates in the garage, with Kongs that had been filled with lowfat cottage cheese and kibble and then frozen (this was standard procedure for these dogs when you crated them anyhow, so I didn't have to scramble to fill Kongs or anything) and then head out. The realtor would then give me a call with the "all clear" when they were done.
We only had one showing while I was at the house, but everything went smoothly, because the realtor knew about the dogs (and that I would need time to put them up) and the dogs were OK with spending time in their crates (especially since they got good treats for it). It definitely could have been tougher if there were cats involved, though. And with horses? I'd just hope that people understood that it your place is a WORKING farm - and that the day to day business of the farm can't come to a crashing halt, just because they wanted to see it...

twofatponies
Jan. 17, 2009, 03:10 PM
Most realtors don't want the owners there, because they blab too many details and spoil the sale! When we showed our house the realtor also came over before hand and pointed out all the things to remove so it would look less cluttered & would be depersonalized. We just boxed stuff up and put it under the bed.

Besides, regarding the pets - ask the realtor what she/he prefers - they know the type of clientele they are showing the house too, and what kills a sale, and they want your house to sell quickly, so it's useful to do what they say!

equinelaw
Jan. 17, 2009, 06:08 PM
I'd crate or remove the dogs for showings and crate the cats for their own protection.

When I sold my house the Realtors were great and said the dog was fine. They showed the house and let him into the fenced yard while they were inside.

When he was let back in, somehow the tip of his tail got caught in the door and nobody noticed. I came home and there was blood all over the kitchen in every direction. Looked like someone had been murdered. He had wagged his very long tail and shot blood from floor to ceiling and all the walls.

He was fine and his tail had long since stopped bleeding, but that phone conversation trying to figure out who had been murdered in my kitchen was sort of funny, in a not so funny kind of way.

Took forever to clean it all up too:)

horsetales
Jan. 17, 2009, 09:17 PM
I know we (I) took the dogs with me during showings. As for horses, I can say a non-horise co-worker was traumatized and could not imagine how myself and another co-worker could love horses after while looking at acreages saw one place with horses plastered with theses signs HORSES KICK and BITE DO NOT ENTER or PET :lol:

I would recommend locking your gates. I can't tell you how many times our neighbors have returend home to loose horses - field gates open :mad: Most of their horses are now gone, but this summer was very frustrating - thank goodness they have perimeter fencing.

SportNCurls
Jan. 17, 2009, 09:40 PM
I had to share our house BUYING experience..
We were touring our 50 acre farmette's house, when our realtor opened the door to a PIGEON roosting ON the toilet. She SCREAMED as it burbled a coo at her and flapped its wings.. my husband noticed the window and asked if it was open just as the owner called.. .."don't let him out he's my pet."
He had FREE range of the house, and judging by the poo mountain by the toilet .....for quite sometime.
There was a chicken in the garage, a second pigeon in the laundry room, and a snapping turtle by the front door. :D
I bet you can imagine the state of cleanliness it was in... the neighbors were *anxious* to meet the *crazy* family that bought the place ;)

On the flip side we were selling our place at same time, and I had a mare foal the very moment a group showed up to view the house .. I stayed to police them around the new mom and foal, but otherwise we had no issues with potential buyers coming to view the house...

SuperSTB
Jan. 17, 2009, 11:54 PM
But OP is on a small 'farm' which is slightly different than selling a single family in the burbs or city. So if she's sticking around in the barn while people are viewing the home it's really not such a big deal.

Quite honestly after going through many experiences with realtors... you have to watch your own interests as well. I don't agree that once you put our home on the market it's not your home anymore. The realtors job is to market your home but not to let them run your life or through deliberate or by accident cause an unwanted situation... like loose horses or whatnot.

If it's an inconvenience or a worry for you to move your lifestock or leave them without your supervision... don't. But don't stress out thinking that your place isn't going to sell because of that. Crappy kitchens and bathrooms, messy rooms are way higher up on the undesirable list than the owner being home. Of course as long as the home owner is out of the way.

carp
Jan. 18, 2009, 12:02 AM
I had the fun of boarding at a barn when it was for sale. I'm sure the realtor wanted to kill me, but I showed up and quietly hung out in the barn for both open houses to keep an eye on equine matters. Observation 1: the realtor made no effort to supervise people who wandered down to the barn. They could have tacked the horses up and gone for a trail ride for all she knew. Observation 2: the general public varies widely in its animal savvy. Some of the people were obviously intelligent and courteous horse people; they quietly peeked in the stalls, eyeballed the setup of the tack room, and left without disturbing things. Others seemed to think an open house at a farm was an afternoon at a free petting zoo. The latter kind of visitor made me very glad I was there to make prevent my mouthy gelding from picking a kid up by the hood or trotting off with someone's purse.

ESG
Jan. 18, 2009, 08:53 AM
Thanks for all the replies. Great suggestions!

I've already settled with my realtor that there will be no lockbox on the door, that I will be present on the property during all showings and I need two hours' notice before the place can be shown. I won't hang about with the prospective buyer, though; when they're in the house, I'll be in the barn, and vice versa, unless they have questions for me. Horse selling has taught me only to answer questions that are asked, and to put a positive spin on all answers, so that's not an issue. :winkgrin: My broker is a horse person too, so understands the unique marketing that has to go into selling an equestrian facility.

The house is spotless and all personal photos are put away, but I do need to get some more valuable personal things put away too, I think. And I never would have thought of the whole prescription drug issue. Wow! Every time I think I've heard the worst of folks, I'm unpleasantly surprised yet again. :no:

I will crate the cats. Well, the escape artist and the cowardly calico, anyway; the other two won't move. The dogs are either crated at night or outside in their own pen anyway; just have to make sure folks know not to pet. Mine have never bitten, but the two younger ones don't like children, and since they're not smart enough to differentiate between small folks and young ones, it's gonna be "hands off" to everyone. ;)

As far as the horses go, I have enough paddocks to have everyone outside when the place is shown. I didn't think about buyers wanting to go into the stalls, but of course they would, wouldn't they? I certainly would. Fun, fun, fun - not only keeping a house spotless, but a barn, too. Good thing I don't have an outside job right now. :eek:

Any more suggestions? Keep them coming, please!

Woodland
Jan. 18, 2009, 09:54 AM
I'm trying to picture trying to board/hide/move over 100 animals when the day comes I put this place up for sale. It ain't happening.


:lol: No kidding! :lol:

However when we bought this place it was empty - save for the dog run full of jrt pups. As a matter of fact, I think each of our farms the houses were empty and the previous owners were in the process of moving out of the barns when we were looking. I am sure we will be moved out before we put this place up for sale. I have too much crappola to move to make it presentable:lol:

Gryhnd
Jan. 19, 2009, 09:50 AM
Sounds like you have it under control with no lockbox and advanced notice. However, be advised that they will not all give 2 hours notice, so to make the best effort to have a chance to sell your home, esp in this market, try to be as accommodating as you can with that. I had people make appts for the following day, but I also had realtors ask to come over in 15 minutes. I always said yes (basically as soon as I got up in the morning, I started readying the house for potential buyers. Note I was working from home in a flexible position at the time, which made all this possible).
I think you do have to work a little harder on the presentation when you have pets, as everyone does not like/have them and you don't want to lose a sale that way. I ended up buying a large patio storage box and running around the house scooping up all the dog beds and putting them in the box prior to an appt, for example. I really tried to keep everything as spotless as I could, took the dogs feeding stations outside on the patio also so the kitchen would be larger/cleaner, whatever it takes. IMO, it is a big hassle to sell your house (that was the first time for us), and the pets complicate things, so I really wanted to do my best to sell as quickly as possible - priced right, kept clean, accommodating anytime someone wanted to see it, etc.
I have 3 dogs, one of which would bite, and 2 that absolutely should not ever get loose (greyhounds) and EVEN with me being home and monitoring everything, I still had trouble. I originally planned to put the dogs in the car and park up the street, going on the basic rule that it is better that you are not home. I tried that the first day, but people don't come on time so it was a hassle, sitting in the car with the dogs for hours for 3 different appts that didn't arrive when they said they would.
My realtor said that was not necessary, just go outside with the dogs (it was spring/summer) when they come, then if they want to see the back yard, do a switch. That worked for the most part - before they came, or at the most, when they pulled up, I rushed the dogs out back (who of course would then run to the gate and bark at them). I greeted them at the door, said I had dogs that would bite (I got sterner with this after the events below occurred) and that I would be in the backyard w/ the dogs and when they were done touring the house, please go back out the front and come to the side and let me know if they want to see the backyard, then I would get the dogs back into the house and then let them in the backyard. Most were fine with it, but it was definitely a hassle.
However, some did NOT listen, all of a sudden just coming out the back door and I had to quickly grab the dogs, luckily the one that might bite didn't notice them coming out.
Also, one day I took the dogs out back in anticipation of someone arriving, I heard the car pull up so I started through the house to let them in the front door, but to my shock, instead of even coming to the front door, they went to a side gate of the yard and opened it! I was shocked! My 2 boys are right there, a) one could have bit and b) they both could have escaped, which would have been disastrous. I think my dogs were in shock. After that happened, we put padlocks on the gates and our realtor told us to add a "Beware of Dog" sign. So just don't underestimate anything - expect people to do stupid things!
I would definitely put padlocks on the paddock gates if you can't be 100% sure you will be able to stand right there when they are looking at the barn.
In addition to the prescription drug issue, I always kept my purse with me or hid it outside.
Also, I know someone mentioned listing the type of animals, in case someone is allergic to cats, for example. That makes sense, but I recall my realtor said it was best to just put "pets" in the listing, not naming dogs specifically. I guess he was worried about scaring any non-animal lovers off, I am not sure. I'm sure your realtor will have advice on this.
Good Luck!

MistyBlue
Jan. 19, 2009, 11:53 AM
The house is spotless and all personal photos are put away, but I do need to get some more valuable personal things put away too, I think. And I never would have thought of the whole prescription drug issue. Wow! Every time I think I've heard the worst of folks, I'm unpleasantly surprised yet again.

Also put away or remove from the house all jewelry, any valuable collectibles (someone used to go around CT carrying a huge purse and going to open houses and showings and stealing Hummels, Lladro, etc) and also remove any credit card statements, credit cards and unused checkbooks. You'd be amazed what scumbag crooks learn to steal in homes for sale. It's not *as* risky when it's a showing appointment because a GOOD Realtor will already have their full info including credit checks and be following them around...but be aware that not all Realtors are created equal and there are some naive and ignorant ones. Most are good, but like in all things...there are not so good ones. But especially remove these things for any open house...where the general public can wander in and a Realtor cannot follow each and every one around when there's a few in the house.

Not to scare you though. Best of luck with your home sale! Here's hoping it sells fast to sane people for full price!

ReSomething
Jan. 19, 2009, 12:12 PM
Well,to go along with the horrid story, we had many many showings of our old home, and DH got warned about half the time. We had no housepets and removed the bunnies. After the incident DH was very upset that perhaps the bunnies had been teased, or the cages opened. I would lock all gates and stalls. And be prepared - after we entered into contract on the farmette I came back and asked the sellers just where all the pipes were, the meters, the septic tank, anything that I could dig up or punch a post hole through. Any competent home inspector will ask the same.

KnKShowmom
Jan. 19, 2009, 12:28 PM
I won't hang about with the prospective buyer, though; when they're in the house, I'll be in the barn, and vice versa, unless they have questions for me. Horse selling has taught me only to answer questions that are asked, and to put a positive spin on all answers, so that's not an issue. :winkgrin:

I was a realtor for many years and my worst nightmare was when buyers and sellers would chat -

If your prospective buyers have questions, have their agent put them in writing and send them to your agent. This will not only give you time to provided correct answers, but they will be in writing to all parties should anything come up during the sale.

It never fails during a verbal exchange that someone will misunderstand what the other party has said or showed them and it can snowball to a point you wouldn't believe.

BuddyRoo
Jan. 19, 2009, 01:10 PM
When I worked in real estate it was for a listing agent (only new listings, did not represent buyers).

To go along with some of the things already mentioned:

1) No open houses. I swear, waste of time. That, and you cannot possibly keep track of ALL the people.

2) It is perfectly appropriate to have visitors sign your standard release if they're going to be inspecting the barn/pastures.

3) Appointment only. If you have "Showing by appointment only" right in the MLS and screen for pre approved shoppers only, you'll cut down the tire kicking. Personally, I think this is a must...PERIOD. If the people aren't pre approved for something near the listing price/value of property, they're not going to get financed. Why waste anyone's time?

4) Price for the market, not your sentimental value. (I'm sure you have this base covered)

5) Get a bread maker. Make bread before showing house. I swear to you, making cinnamon bread or some such makes the house smell "homey"....and a "homey" house sells faster. LOL

6) DO remove drugs, bills, jewelry, etc.

JanM
Jan. 19, 2009, 01:53 PM
Good points Misty! Years ago when I was on the grand jury I don't remember how many people we indicted for writing bad checks on someone else's accounts or on someone else's closed accounts (when you close an account and everything is finished shred the remaining checks). Apparently stealing and forging friends (or should I say former friends) checks is very common. Actually I would take the permanent files (old income tax and the current financial stuff) and put it in the car trunk or box it and put clothes on top. Also any expensive outerwear (fancy parkas) and sports gear that costs a lot somewhere safe too, and expensive game systems plus the games or computer hardware that is portable. It's very sad to have to secure things but better to have stuff secured than to do a police report on stolen items or have to get your credit straightened out too. Everyone should go to the opt-out service for the credit applications, and send in the postcard to permanently get off the mailing lists for this and junk mail--all a future homeowner or their visitors need is one of these applications and your financial life is effectively ruined (or mail box thieves too). Actually it might be a good idea to get a post office box and have your mail rerouted starting a month or so before it goes on the market. Almost everyone is trustworthy but you only need one bad apple to ruin it for everyone else.

A friend years ago had her place on the market with a lockbox, and owned a tiny little harmless poodle. She came home from shopping or work and found a couple of people waiting with their kids and the realtor saying that the dog bit one of the kids-apparently it was all a regular scam with the buyers and the agent. The buyers said that for X dollars that they could forget the potential lawsuit. The homeowner was the one who filed the police charges because the idiots picked the wrong thing to say about her dog-due to previous health issues the dog didn't have any teeth. Apparently they regularly ran this scam all around the entire area, and many people were so worried about the potential problems that they paid them. You just never know about people.

LisaB
Jan. 19, 2009, 02:18 PM
Don't ever expect to get a 2 hour heads up. A buyer's realtor can and will just show up at your doorstep. At like 8 am on a Sat or 9 pm on a Sun. And if your house is a mess, that's when they will show up.
Make for darned sure your house has absolutely no pet odor. FINALLY, a realtor told me that one bedroom smelled like cat. I couldn't smell it! And then my realtor laughed and said she can't smell :mad: ha ha, how many buyers were turned off?
And making snickerdoodles is much easier than bread.

poltroon
Jan. 19, 2009, 04:03 PM
Also put away or remove from the house all jewelry, any valuable collectibles (someone used to go around CT carrying a huge purse and going to open houses and showings and stealing Hummels, Lladro, etc) and also remove any credit card statements, credit cards and unused checkbooks. You'd be amazed what scumbag crooks learn to steal in homes for sale. It's not *as* risky when it's a showing appointment because a GOOD Realtor will already have their full info including credit checks and be following them around...but be aware that not all Realtors are created equal and there are some naive and ignorant ones. Most are good, but like in all things...there are not so good ones. But especially remove these things for any open house...where the general public can wander in and a Realtor cannot follow each and every one around when there's a few in the house.

Not to scare you though. Best of luck with your home sale! Here's hoping it sells fast to sane people for full price!

This is great advice, and I followed it carefully. I put all the financial stuff in a bottom box in the closet, and gave it a label that was intentionally misdirecting. Only thing is, when we moved out, I didn't empty that room, and I forgot to keep track of it, and it got totally buried in the storage locker for a couple of months. :D

JanM
Jan. 19, 2009, 04:16 PM
Instead of bread I use slice and bake chocolate chip cookies or the predone brownies-warm cookies on a counter keep the place nicely aromatic. I also use cinnamon or apple scented candles (burn them and put them out before you leave). And change the smoke alarm batteries-nothing says poor maintenance like the beep of dying batteries.

Holly Jeanne
Jan. 19, 2009, 04:30 PM
When I was looking at farms, I kind of expected their to be animals. Most were confined in pens when I looked at the farms. We walked the pasture with horses in them. Not a problem. The only issue was that one farm had a bunch of very fancy birds. I walked up and said hello to one of them and got cussed out. The farm owner was horrified but I thought it was hysterical. :lol:

MistyBlue
Jan. 19, 2009, 05:06 PM
If you want the "home baking smell" without constantly making treats you can buy vanilla extract and either put a single drop on each lit light bulb in the house or make a little cup out of a small piece of tinfoil and put a 1/2 tsp vanilla in that and place it in your oven set on warm. Both will waft the fresh baking smell through your house without it being overpowering. :yes:
Also agree 100% with KnKShowmom...don't scare the hell outta your Realtor by answering any serious questions from buyers. The most simple and innocent sounding question answered simply by the seller can be twisted or misunderstood a million different ways. And once you answer one question the buyer will most likely start rapid firing them at you. Buyers tend to act like TV litigation lawyers when they can question a seller directly, LOL!
Many times buyers and sellers assume the Realtors are keeping the two parties apart due to shady reasons. Honestly...they're not. They're trying to do the best by their clients and get that sale. I have more bald patches on my head from the times buyers and sellers met up and started chatting at showings. I would hazard a guess that it inadvertently crushes about 20% or more of sales. And almost always due to misunderstandings or because a savvy buyer knew exactly what to ask (or their Realtor told them what to ask) in order to talk the price way down.

ESG
Jan. 19, 2009, 05:39 PM
Thanks for all the great comments. Do please keep them coming!

We are hosting a broker open house on Friday. Brokers, apparently, expect to be fed. It's to be from 11 to 1PM. All you brokers out there, what would YOU expect to be fed? I'm clueless as to a menu. I thought sandwiches (little ones), cookies, brownies, etc, but I'm not sure. My broker seems to think elaborate is better, but I don't want to fool with hot food and a bunch of mess for people who may or may not show up.

I think I'll put the kibosh on my broker putting out signs for the public to attend that open house though. The idea of someone coming in and casing the place while it's full of brokers doesn't do my blood pressure any good. :eek:

What do y'all think?

MistyBlue
Jan. 19, 2009, 05:53 PM
Ummm...your Realtor should be catering the Broker's Open. :winkgrin:
It's one of a Realtor's normal expenses.
You can tell your Realtor to call a bunch of home inspection companies (actual companies, not Uncle Joe's Real Good Inspekshins) because a few ofthe larger companies will offer to cater a Broker's Open for free for the Realtor as long as they can put out a bunch of brochures too. Tiger Home Inspections a HouseMasters both used to cater Broker Opens for free for me all the time. :yes:
Elaborate is better if the house is expensive. The food should match the price range of the house...for the million dollar properties shrimp salad, etc is normal. For the average house just tasty food that's easy to eat standing up. If in your area the homeowner is supposed to cater their own Broker's Open (something I've never heard of to be honest) and if you have cold weather...I'd consider a crockpot full of some sort of tasty creamy soup. Keep a ladel in it and some plastic spoons and to-go coffee cups to serve it in. Hot cider on the stove...doubles duty as a warm winter drink and a wonderful way to make the house smell awesome. :winkgrin: An easy non-cooking finger food is to buy some of the larger cherry tomatoes, scoop them hollow and stuff with tuna salad. Easy to pop whole for a snack or eat with two bites.

JanM
Jan. 19, 2009, 06:32 PM
Brokers open houses are a great idea. For catering just go to Wally World-they have brownie and baklava trays ready to go or cookies on a tray. For sandwiches they have little pinwheel sandwiches in the freezer section that are nice-just defrost and serve. They also have nice lunch veggie trays in the produce section and cheeseburger/quesadilla trays in front of the deli. I thought the agent pays for the lunch too-it's a marketing expense. And open all of the blinds and curtains. Regular open houses only work when one of the neighbors buys the house. Open Houses for the public are for the agent to make other contacts with potential sellers or buyers looking for an agent, and mostly people go to them for decorating ideas or out of idle curiosity about someone else's decorating. (And don't forget to score financial info, prescription drugs and loose valuables).

MistyBlue
Jan. 19, 2009, 09:25 PM
Open Houses can be fun...and odd. Believe it or not...about 20% of open houses end up being sold to an open house visitor or a visitor calls and tells a friend to go see that house. So the odds aren't bad...they're not great but not bad and 20% is a decent increase in chances to sell.
However...here's a breakdown of the folks that come to open houses:
*Nosy neighbors who've either have never been invited over and want to see what you have or who haven't been able to go nose around every single room in your house. They will then dutifully go tell the rest of the neighbors that the comforter on your bed is hideous and you have hemorrhoid problems after they've snooped through your medicine cabinet.
*Career Open Housers...they check the paper every weekend and map out the open houses they want to see. Just gives them something to do on Sundays since the tag sales have all been picked over by Sunday.
*HGTV wanna be decorators...they've watched all the decorating shows and have the decorating fever. They will walk through your house and parrot to each other every comment they've ever heard Vern Yip utter on HGTV.
*Scumbag thieves looking to steal whatever they can.
*Buyers actually approved and interested.
*Other house sellers checking out the competition...usually sent by their own Realtors.
:winkgrin:

BasqueMom
Jan. 19, 2009, 11:57 PM
When we sold our horse property in CO, we both traveled for our jobs. DH was actually
already in Dallas. The dog always went to the kennel. Cats stayed home and a sitter
came in twice a day to take care of cats and horses. After about a month on the market,
decided maybe the horses should stay elsewhere. There were gates to go through to get
to the barn. Was afraid of a gate being left open and it would be hours before the sitter
was due.

Did not care for the expense of boarding three but left me more time when I was home to
keep it "show" ready. Did enjoy the opportunity to have some "barn" life and a nice facility to ride in without having to trailer in.

SuperSTB
Jan. 20, 2009, 01:21 AM
*Nosy neighbors who've either have never been invited over and want to see what you have or who haven't been able to go nose around every single room in your house. They will then dutifully go tell the rest of the neighbors that the comforter on your bed is hideous and you have hemorrhoid problems after they've snooped through your medicine cabinet.

ROTFLOL!!!

After putting my house on the market- I was talking to my kid's classmates mom before preschool started. I was blabbing away about what I was going to ship out west and what I was going to put up for sale on craigslist. The mom goes "what about that painting in your dining room?" She just kind of blurted it out. I had never had her over to my house, you can't see the painting by looking in the window- so she must have been checking the place out during the open house. I just laughed... and later I gave her the painting :winkgrin:

ESG
Jan. 20, 2009, 07:34 AM
Ummm...your Realtor should be catering the Broker's Open. :winkgrin:

I know that's the norm, Misty, but I'm doing this for a reason. I've just launched my own personal chef and in-home catering business, and I'll have flyers and business cards out along with the food. Free advertising for myself. :winkgrin:


It's one of a Realtor's normal expenses.
You can tell your Realtor to call a bunch of home inspection companies (actual companies, not Uncle Joe's Real Good Inspekshins) because a few ofthe larger companies will offer to cater a Broker's Open for free for the Realtor as long as they can put out a bunch of brochures too. Tiger Home Inspections a HouseMasters both used to cater Broker Opens for free for me all the time. :yes:
Elaborate is better if the house is expensive. The food should match the price range of the house...for the million dollar properties shrimp salad, etc is normal. For the average house just tasty food that's easy to eat standing up. If in your area the homeowner is supposed to cater their own Broker's Open (something I've never heard of to be honest) and if you have cold weather...I'd consider a crockpot full of some sort of tasty creamy soup. Keep a ladel in it and some plastic spoons and to-go coffee cups to serve it in. Hot cider on the stove...doubles duty as a warm winter drink and a wonderful way to make the house smell awesome. :winkgrin: An easy non-cooking finger food is to buy some of the larger cherry tomatoes, scoop them hollow and stuff with tuna salad. Easy to pop whole for a snack or eat with two bites.

Love the cherry tomato idea. I'll definitely use that, except to stuff it with baby shrimp salad. Thanks!

Here's the menu I was considering. It's going to be in the mid 70s and sunny on Friday, so no hot stuff, which makes my life MUCH easier.

Tarragon chicken salad on mini croissant sandwiches
Roast beef with rosemary mayonnaise on cocktail pumpernickel
Black Forest ham on pumpkin biscuits with honey mustard
JG's new potato salad with garlic,red onion and dill
MB's shrimp salad stuffed cherry tomatoes
Eunice's superlative chocolate frosted brownies
Cookies (not sure which kind yet)

Anything else I need? Besides drinks?

JanM
Jan. 20, 2009, 07:38 AM
I love the menu. Yes, there is something you forgot. The address so we can all drop in, and shipping containers and mailing labels so the local COTHers can share with the rest of us. Various kinds of cookies-just keep the raisin and chocolate chip well labeled-most people are total fans of one and not the other.

ESG
Jan. 20, 2009, 07:44 AM
You are too sweet. PM me for any of the recipes you want. I always share. ;)

I was thinking about adding some kind of slaw, too. Do you think I need it?

And I'll probably do something innocuous like oatmeal cookies with white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. They're pretty, and most folks like cranberries better than raisins, IME. And my super spectacular ginger cookies, too.

trubandloki
Jan. 20, 2009, 09:03 AM
I'm trying to picture trying to board/hide/move over 100 animals when the day comes I put this place up for sale. It ain't happening.

County I think the difference here is the scale and the types of animals.

If someone selling has animals that do not normally run loose outside (or are caged or penned outside already) it is best that they properly contain/cage or remove them so there is no risk to the buyers or the animals.


I see no reason to remove livestock, etc. Though it might give the place a cleaner look, etc.


When we were selling our old house we always took our three dogs with us.

cowgirljenn
Jan. 20, 2009, 10:34 AM
I'm so glad for this thread - I was going to start one like this. :) We'll be putting our place on the market as soon as the rebuild is finished. I have already told the realtor that I will be here. I can't drive, so i can't just leave. I did tell her I'll go out and ride in the pasture or something like that to stay out of the way. I had planned to crate the dog and cats - I was just too worried about someone letting them out. BUT I've been worrying about the horses - I have a nightmare of someone leaving a gate open!

tabula rashah
Jan. 20, 2009, 01:31 PM
I would maybe crate the dogs and the escape kitty but wouldn't worry too much about the rest. Does your state have an equine liability law?
My DH and I just bought our farm a little over a year ago- and we looked at A LOT of places, almost all of them had animals of some sort there. Sometimes owners were home and sometimes they weren't- didn't really make any difference to us

FootPerfect
Jan. 20, 2009, 01:33 PM
We always put our cats in crates when we showed the house and took the dogs with us. As for the horses, I'd say hang a sign on the front door stating you welcome prospective buyers to look at the barns but to not feed or handle the horses. I'd have the horses in the farthest pasture you can to discourage any interaction with buyers.

ESG
Jan. 23, 2009, 08:37 AM
Open house today, from 11-1PM. I'm hoping the agents invited have someone who'll want to live here. Wish me luck!

JanM
Jan. 23, 2009, 09:12 AM
The broker open houses will not only be a great marketing tool but will be good for your other business too. Don't forget to open all of the curtains and pull up the blinds before you leave. Good Luck.

joiedevie99
Jan. 23, 2009, 11:03 AM
My parents have house cats and have sold atleast 3 houses in the last 15 years. Every time, at least one of my parents was home- and went out to greet the realtor. She would let them know that there were cats inside, and ask if the people would prefer if they were locked up. She would then walk them in to make sure no cats got out- and occupy herself doing something out of the way (or watering plants outside the door) until they were ready to leave. Then she would make sure no cats got out on their way out. She never offered information they didn't ask for- but the realtor liked that she said goodbye to them as they exited the house in case they had questions. The shortest time on the market was 4 days, and the longest was 3.5 weeks- so they did something right.

MistyBlue
Jan. 23, 2009, 03:13 PM
ESG...fill us in on how it went. You should get Realtor feedback from the other agents and hopefully tons of positive feedback on the food. :D Catering broker opens can be a great source of extra income! :yes:

ESG
Jan. 23, 2009, 03:48 PM
Whew! What a whirlwind!

It's over. We had a great turnout, and a lot of interest, both in the house and my food! The regional manager of the area's largest title company wants to hire me to cater some of their continuing education courses for realtors, and other events. She also asked permission (like I'd say no! :lol: ) to pass my business cards and flyers onto other clients of hers who are looking for catering services. I've never had such great feedback on my food before. All the realtors loved it.

As far as the house - great feedback from all who attended. One realtor brought a client, who came back later and brought his sons, and they'll come back again next week for another look. We have another showing scheduled for tomorrow morning, and yet another realtor has a client that they're trying desperately to get out this weekend to see the place.

Keep fingers crossed, y'all! :D

MistyBlue
Jan. 23, 2009, 04:56 PM
Sounds great all around! Congrats! best wishes it sells soon and you get a ton of catering jobs. :D

ESG
Jan. 26, 2009, 06:06 AM
Weeeellll, I'm discovering that many realtors are about one step above shower mould, on the evolutionary scale. :rolleyes:

The realtor with the Saturday 10AM showing never showed, and never called. It took me calling my broker and her chasing his sorry @$$ down to find out what happened. She got a sob story, of course, and then the guy never rescheduled. Grrrrr...............:mad:

The realtor with the prospective buyer, who is supposedly writing us an offer, apparently is incapable of finding comps, to be used in determining an appropriate offer. :rolleyes: again. She actually had the stones to ask my broker to give her some comps, so they could choose what to offer. That's brass, huh?

I'll be glad when this is over.

And, for the icing on the cake, the people who drove here from Oklahoma to look at my hunter for sale turned out to be the strangest bunch yet. Kid absolutely looked like she'd rather be anywhere else, trainer loved the horse, then proceeded to try to pick him apart and tell me he was lame (he isn't, wasn't and never has been :rolleyes: ), and didn't even let the kid get on and ride. The poor mother seemed like the only sane one of the bunch, and she was looking strangely at both the trainer and her kid. And the trainer wouldn't even let the kid ride the horse, after coming all that way, even though he was a perfect gentleman. Went beautifully, swapped his leads in his usual fluid fashion, jumped great - in short, horse was exactly what they were looking for,...................except he was X and X and X and X, according to trainer. :rolleyes: My friend who rode the horse for them and I had a long conversation afterwards, and finally came to the conclusion that the horse was too expensive for them, and they came down here thinking they could talk me down from his already rock-bottom sales price. It's possible that that's not the case, but I'm betting it is. Oh well.

I have someone else coming out this morning to try the other of my sales horses. Maybe I'll have better luck today. And maybe the other realtors will get collective heads out of collective rear ends and get their buyers out to see my property, too. ;)

A good day to us all! :cool:

I'll never understand people. :no:

LisaB
Jan. 26, 2009, 07:50 AM
Yup, only met one realtor that wasn't pond scum. And expect pond scum from your realtor too. They are a bunch of conniving thieves who do nothing. You and your lawyer do all the work. They just chat you up. Expect to do everything when you get bids.
Good luck!

dserthorse
Jan. 26, 2009, 12:30 PM
My husband and I are currently looking at horse properties. It's better if the horses are boarded elsewhere. Prospective buyers want to be able to walk into the stalls, go into the paddocks, etc, without worrying about someone else's horses.
Dogs and cats should definitely be off the property as well. Board them or put them with a neighbor, but they should not be in the house during showings.

Geez- we're putting our place on the market. This will be the fourth house we've sold. We *never* have removed our animals. We've never allowed them to interact with lookers, but we've shuttled the animals and the lookers to different areas, or whatever. We have a dog run... have I been committing a huge no-no all this time?

Our dogs are large, and one has no love for strangers. The cats are at the barn, and they remove themselves when unknown people visit. The horses are in the field unless the weather is awful, and people can see the fields just fine without actually being in with the horses.

I'm not happy about listing in the winter- the whole area just isn't as pretty as most times. Particularly the barn area. It looks like a barn in winter. Of course, it's good for the stalls- the swallows aren't here :D

Laurel

ESG
Jan. 27, 2009, 09:11 AM
I agree with dserthorse - I won't remove the horses from the facility. It's a farm, for chrissakes. I would think horses wouldn't be out of place on a farm. :rolleyes: Besides, what am I supposed to do; throw them all in the trailer and board them out every time someone makes an appointment to view the property? :eek: Yeah, that'd work. :rolleyes:

MistyBlue
Jan. 27, 2009, 03:45 PM
Yup, only met one realtor that wasn't pond scum. And expect pond scum from your realtor too. They are a bunch of conniving thieves who do nothing. You and your lawyer do all the work. They just chat you up. Expect to do everything when you get bids.


Ouch. :eek: :winkgrin: :eek:
Thankfully I'm now a retired Realtor...but still ouch.


I agree with dserthorse - I won't remove the horses from the facility. It's a farm, for chrissakes. I would think horses wouldn't be out of place on a farm.

Agreed...I wouldn't remove horses from the property. Even the buyers who find dogs and cats a pita (in the house animals) still enjoy the sight of horses on a farm even if they're not horse folks.

I did have one client years ago who was selling her small horse farm. She took my advice on decluttering and cleaning up her place to heart (if only more sellers did) and I had to grin when I got there for the first open house and she had even bathed and show groomed her two horses! With ribbons in their forelocks! :lol: :D I thought that was the cutest thing...still makes me grin when I think back on it.

Silver Snaffles
Jan. 27, 2009, 06:48 PM
Selling horse farms sucks. :no:

You get so many tire kickers, people who want to pet animals like it's a petting zoo, people who just want to see what you have or have not got, people out to steal drugs, or money or goods.

My family sold our farm 3 years ago when we moved across the country and brought another farm. Talk about nightmare!

We had a drop kick realtor for 2 months who knew nothing about horses or livestock, or farms yet advertised as equestrian property specialist in a national horse magazine!

He was telling prospective clients that we would have horses for them to saddle up and go for a ride to experience the bushland on our property! WHAT THE!?!:eek:

He would call and say he had prospective buyers in his car, and he was 5 mins away, please vacate.

He had 4 A4 pages of things to follow some of them included demanding a set of keys so he had 24 /h access to the property

He demanded that no body be on the property ( not the norm in Australia, the owner normally goes around with the agent and shows the person the property and answers questions)

We refused as we were not willing to leave 40 + horses including 2 stallions and mares in foal as well as dogs and cats with unknown people.

He requested bowls of sweets in most rooms
Freshly baked bread and cookies for the clients
He wanted to put a sign of the main road in town saying open home
He would arange group " viewings" of anywhere up to 20 people coming through the property at once, after being specifically told no more than only family / couple at a time so we could keep track.
He would have no control over the people, they would wander through the property at their whim, opening closets, chests of draws, going through book cases, opening antique furniture which was marked as not included in the sale.

The final straw was when I was rebandaging a leg injury in a stable, looking up and seeing a woman leaving the tack room, carrying an armload of tack and a Stubben saddle!:eek: She didn't realise I was there, I yelled out at her and she dropped the tack and ran. Of course realtor from hell didn't have any contact information or even a name!

He was fired after that.
Sold the house in 3 weeks with the next realtor, who had never sold a farm before, but researched and was so easy to deal with.

ESG
Jan. 28, 2009, 09:21 AM
And that, Silver Snaffles, is why I wouldn't let my broker hold a public open house. And also why there is no lock box on my door, and why I am to be present on the property for all showings. Also, supposed to be two hours' notice for all showings. Sadly, so far, that hasn't been an issue. :cry:

My broker talked to the broker whose client is supposedly going to make us an offer. The buyer's broker's comment - "I'm working on it, but I don't like to be pushy." Guess she doesn't like making money, either. :rolleyes:

I'll be sooooo glad when this is over. :no: