Pets Have Ruined the House I Inherited and I Just Want to Sell it Fast

by | Nov 9, 2016


Dealing with inherited gifts can be difficult. Sometimes, everything about the items seems to remind you of the person you’ve lost, and an inherited home is no different. Often the thought of moving in is just too much to handle emotionally, and the idea of becoming a landlord and renting the property certainly isn’t for everyone. Many people simply sell their inherited homes and use the cash to help pay off their own mortgages.

But what happens when an inherited home has been thoroughly damaged by pets and would require thousands of dollars in cleaning and repairs before going on the market? Recently, a client inherited a home from his late aunt. He knew she had been a pet lover, but he wasn’t ready for the sight and smells that greeted him when he walked through the front door for the first time. In her long illness, her pets had been neglected, and the home was a mess. Every room, from the kitchen to the garden, had been ruined by the restless cats and dogs. That’s when he realized that liquidating the home wasn’t going to be as straightforward as he thought.

How Pets Can Destroy a Property

Our client wasn’t just facing a few scratches on the floor and window sills. Think of the damage pets can do when they’re left alone and uncaged in a home for a few hours. Now imagine the chaos they can cause to a property when years pass without them being looked after and cared for. Here are some of the issues that you could be facing if pets have run amuck in your inherited home:

  • Carpets, floors, and walls can all be ruined beyond repair by pets. If the house is carpeted, you can forget about calling in the cleaners; no expert is going to be able to reverse the damage caused by years of untrimmed claws or urine stains that have been left untreated. In these cases, complete carpet removal is necessary. Hardwood, too, is equally unlikely to escape damage. It may be a big selling point, but not so much if it’s covered with scratch marks that require sanding to remove. And it’s not just the floor that will get clawed. Both cats and dogs are likely to take their frustration of being uncared for out on your property’s walls—stripping them of the wallpaper or paint.
  • Unwanted pet odors might not be visible, but they sure can ruin a property’s selling potential. Even the homes of well-cared-for pets can smell a bit from time to time, so imagine what lingering odors can occur in a house where the litter box hasn’t been changed regularly—simple air fresheners aren’t going to do the trick. If you have porous wood floors, you may never be able to fully eliminate urine odor, and in cases where pets have forgone their litter boxes entirely, urine stains on walls will require professional cleaning and likely even complete replacement of wallpaper or drywall.
  • Furniture, like the carpets and walls, is also likely to be ruined. Claw-damaged furniture and couches that may have been used as litter boxes more than once aren’t going to attract any homebuyers when showing the house. Getting rid of the damaged furniture requires time and manpower, and renting new furniture for staging can be pricey.
  • Electrical wiring damage can happen when pet-proofing fails or wasn’t there to start with. If pets get tired of chewing the furniture, they may turn to the wires and leads instead. And if the power is off because the bills haven’t been paid in a while, then they’re no nasty shocks to set pets straight. If the house has exposed wiring, the safe bet would be to call the electrician before turning the power back on.
  • Gardens can be a target, too. It’s not just inside the house where pets can cause chaos. Chewed plants, scratched fences, dug holes, and extensive pet waste can lead to your property’s exterior looking less like a garden and more like a warzone. This may be something you can tackle yourself, especially if you’re something of a horticulturist, but in most cases, it will probably be best to call in experts in the form of a landscape gardener.

Any one of these types of damage can make it a nightmare to sell on the traditional market. You may even struggle to find a realtor who would be willing to invest their time into taking on the property.

Selling a Pet-Damaged Home

If you are determined to sell the house on the traditional market, there are a few options:

  • Make the repairs.

    If you listed your inherited home without repairing any of the damage, there’s no doubt it’s going to make your sale more difficult. If you are determined to sell on the traditional market, you’re probably going to have to bite the bullet and make the repairs. It won’t come cheap, but making the house look attractive is a sure-fire way to boost its appeal to prospective buyers.

  • Change your marketing tactics.

    How did Einstein define insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It’s a concept that’s also pretty applicable to selling your home. If your current marketing tactics aren’t working after a couple of dozen people have seen the house, why should they work for the next dozen? Instead, why not pivot and target pet owners or landlords who don’t expect the house to be in the perfect condition, to begin with?

  • Lower your asking price.

    Let’s face it, nobody wants to choose this option. But ultimately, the market determines the value of your property and it’s only worth what people are willing to pay. Look at lowering your price by $5,000-$10,000. Just make sure you end up in a lower price bracket on websites like Zillow so that it will reach a different audience.

Unfortunately, all of these options come at a cost. Whether it’s a lower sale price, renovation costs, or more marketing expenses, you’re going to have to put money, time, and effort into selling your pet-damaged property on the housing market. But what if there was another alternative?

When It’s All Too Much, Sell Direct

If you just can’t handle repairs and the real estate market on top of losing your loved one, you do have another option. If you have no intention of living in the house yourself or renting it to others, and you just want to liquidate the inheritance fast, we can help.

At Sell Your House Direct, we help people get what they need after a family death: a quote within 24 hours, a fair price, and a cash sale. We’ll even help you pack up and move. If you’ve found yourself in a situation like this and want to turn your inherited property into cash fast, then pick up the phone and give us a call. We’ll get back to you with an offer for your property within one working day of your call and complete the transaction on a schedule that suits you best.

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