Never Underestimate the Dog

Last night I was barbecuing some pork chops – one of these jumbo packs you can pick up at Costco – so there were two rotations of meat. Yes, I was out at the barbecue in 50-degree weather and occasional rain. Such is my contribution to the household’s cooking effort.

When the first batch finished, I put the chops on a plate and, wary of the greedy looks on Tobey’s face, put the plate on the center of our ping-pong table. (Where it nearly was cooler than our refrigerator.) After all, I only had 10 minutes and the second round of chops would be done. And Tobey, despite being the taller of the two types of beagles (not to mention fatter), wouldn’t be able to leap onto a full-size ping-pong table with his stubby beagle legs.

Imagine my surprise a few minutes later when I discover Tobey standing on the ping-pong table with a pork chop in his mouth and two others already down his gullet. He had used the lawn mower as a ladder and climbed onto the table (from which he couldn’t exit without assistance or a broken leg.)

The lesson: he’s a pig. The second lesson: never underestimate the power of an animal.

This second lesson also applies to real estate. For those of us who own dogs or cats or birds of whatever, we rarely think twice about our animal’s presence in our own home. But this may not be the case for a buyer debating whether to purchase your home. Maybe they are one of the millions of folks allergic to cats. Or maybe they just don’t like animals.

It’s going to make your home a tougher sell. Not that you need to get rid of your animals should you list your house, but you need to be aware of the challenge and do everything possible to minimize your pets’ presence.¬†Animals also can hinder a real-estate sale if they hinder a buyer’s ability to see a home. While in a perfect world we as listing agents and sellers always would receive a couple of hours’ notice that a home’s going to be shown, that often isn’t the case.

And if you’re in a market such as Phoenix, where there are a lot of homes available, a buyer and his agent likely will start with the vacant homes on a lockbox without Cujo waiting behind the front door.

Again, selling your home doesn’t mean your pets have to disappear. But look at your home through a buyers’ eyes – both in terms of the pets’ presence and the convenience (or lack thereof) in viewing your home compared to others – and you may find crating or kenneling your pets may aid your sale.


Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Athol Kay 11 years ago

    Also imagine the buyers nose too.

    The carpet that the cat peed on. Has. To. Go.