Saturday, February 19, 2011

Do Pets Help or Hurt When it Comes to Real Estate?

The New York Times answers the question in a recent article in its real estate section. 
According to the Times, some Manhattan agents find that the presence of a friendly pooch can help seal the deal on high-end property sales.
I am firmly in the category of people who are nutty about animals. For a while, I took cell phone pictures of every dog or cat I met while visiting properties with my clients. I had dozens of photos clogging up my memory card.
The photo here was taken a few weeks ago while I visited a house in St. Lambert with some out-of-town clients.  The owners of the house were out when we visited but their very exotic ring-tailed Siamese was home. That cat followed us everywhere we went, perched on the counter as we stood around the kitchen weighing the merits of the house. He didn't blink an eye as two excited little girls squealed and patted him.
Oli and Adri, very excited!
My clients have bought the house. Did the cat influence their decision? No, don't be silly! People don't make expensive real estate decisions because of a cat. But did the cat contribute the feeling of home and laid-back comfort they got during the visit? You can count on it.

The pendulum can swing both ways. I once did a series of open houses for a colleague where there was what can only be described as a demon dog in the house. The vendor had been recently widowed and was the sole keeper of a very large, whip-thin, black and orange striped dog with an anvil shaped head. It looked like a pitbull crossed with a greyhound.

 I've seldom been afraid of a dog in my life. This dog scared me.  The woman could not physically  handle it, consequently, the dog didn't get enough exercise. It had pent up energy and pent up energy can easily turn to aggression. The dog jumped up on me, leaving poopy paw prints on my cream-colored woolen pants. It got hold of the scarf around my neck and started playing tug of war as the woman weakly scolded "Get down, Daisy!"

During the open house, the owner went out, but she left her dog in a cage in her bedroom.
It went nuts every time the doorbell rang and then went nuts again whenever visitors innocently wandered into the master bedroom. There was a lot of barking and shrieking and tears at those open houses, only some of them from me.

If ever there was a candidate for a dog least likely to help a real estate transaction to a swift and happy conclusion, that 100 lbs of muscle, sinew and jaws was it.

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