Staging The Litter Box & Other Kitty Tips When Selling

By
Home Stager with Stage a Star Staging & Consulting Services


Selling your house can be challenging when you have pets and I'm going to focus today on your CAT. Your furry friend and family member. I've got three myself so I understand and can empathize with my selling clients when it comes to this subject. I got plenty of inspiration to share some kitty tips when selling from my own experience over the weekend. I decided to move my cat's litter box from the basement to our first floor mudroom. See, my cats are senior citizens now and since I'm not planning to move into a ranch style home with no stairs for THEIR sake, I had to make some adjustments for them.

The dreaded 'litter box" can pose some challenges when you put your house up for sale. I've seen litter boxes in just about every room now in working with sellers over a number of years. I still remember when we were looking for a house to buy, we toured two houses with cats. The one house had about 7 litter boxes throughout the house including bedrooms. Hmmmm....do you think they had a problem? The other house had only one litter box and it was located in their family room right by the sofa. It reeked. Needless to say, we didn't buy either of those houses. Downplaying the presence as well as the location of the litter box really is critical when selling.

Location...Location...Location


I've found the best locations for a litter box is out of the way places like the basement and laundry/mudroom. I've seen them in bathrooms too but I've found that buyers really want to see the bathroom and not get distracted by a litter box. One way to help my kitties better transition when I moved their box was to put their food in close range of it. This worked perfectly.


What's That Smell?
If you have cats then you know that if you don't keep their throne pristine, it's going to smell. When selling, this is a no brainer. You may have to scoop 3-4 times a day but this is a MUST. Do you have a COVER for your box? If you do, great! Now make sure you turn the box to make sure the hole is facing a wall. If you don't have a "cover", think about getting one. If the box has to be present during showings, at least the box is covered up and the hole is against the wall. Buyers really do not want to see inside of the box even if it is pristine. They just don't.
I also recommend buying those "stick ups" they sell in the pet aisle or pet stores that help neutralize odor. Stick that baby on the side of the covered litter box. They really do work. And a quick spritz of Febreeze in the area before a showing is a good idea too. Remember I said "quick spritz"........NOT half the bottle.


Take It Outside
The BEST solution I give my clients is to place the litter box in the garage during a showing if at all possible. I know this doesn't work for some kitties that can't be trusted but I've found that it works for the majority. My own cats freak and run under a bed and hide when visitors come to our house so having a missing litter box for an hour is not a problem.


Creative Solutions
I came across an amazing idea on a forum while doing some research for this article. Someone was building a house and decided to incorporate the litter box into their laundry room cabinetry so it was out of the way and they could keep the room....ummm.....more "visually appealing" you might say. I jumped all over this idea and told my husband to break out the power tools and cut a side door into our sink cabinet that is in our mud room. The cats go through the door and all I have to do is open up the front doors to scoop and be done.
It's hidden and better than a covered litter box.


Talk About "Staging" Your Litter Box

Who knew there were such a wide variety of creative litter box options out there? (I'd just suggest turning that hole around to face the wall.)




What about these cool styles?






Okay...if you were freaking out like I was when I first saw this, you can relax when I tell you that I think they are trying to show another option here. I don't think most people would actually put a litter box beside their bed (but you never know!). A cozy hideaway bed for your cat is another way to use this piece of furniture. Feel better? I know I did.



For the modern cat:



Entry Table AND Litter box in one...Who Knew?




Need a Litter box in the Office? Just be careful that you get the right box when looking for that file....




I'm having too much fun with this...can you tell?




Here's some other Staging Tips For Kitty When Selling:

Princess Perspective:
This might be harsh, but when you are selling, kitty is NOT the princess (or prince) anymore. The castle is for sale and things cannot stay the way they are. That means that the cat jungle/scratching post tower has to put away, the million mouse and feather toys must be rounded up and the sunning window perch for cats has to be disassembled and stored away. Yes, I realize that it's your cat's favorite place but your potential buyers needs to see how pretty the window is, not looking at the pile of cat hair left on the cushion attached to the window.


Meow Mix Mayhem:
Did you know that kitty's dishes shouldn't be out during a showing? It's so much a part of our everyday lives that we don't think about it, right? But when selling, they need to be gone. This also goes for those cool plug in water fountains. The cat may love them but with their messy cord and location near a plug (which is usually in the kitchen) it's not a great thing to keep around when you're trying to impress buyers.

Not Everyone Loves Your Cat



I know, it's your baby. I understand. I have three furry children myself and I love them dearly. Not everyone is a cat person. Or likes pets at all. Many are allergic to cats as well. When you are selling, it is really important to see it from the perspective buyer's point of view.

Fur Ball Fiasco:
If you've got a cat, you've definitely
got this: Cat Hair. Getting rid of as much cat hair as possible and staying on top of it by cleaning frequently is critical. Are you trying to use a lint brush to get rid of hair on the furniture or curtains? Forget it. The best thing to use is a rubber glove. A damp cloth works really well too. The Swiffer is another great product to use on the floors. I'm constantly amazed at all the invisible hair you can't see until you look at the bottom of the swiffer pad when you're done. Whoa.

Stay Or Go?



Have you been waiting for me to answer the obvious question: What the heck should I do with my cat during a showing? Don't worry, your cat will probably be fine staying at home. More than likely the cat will either go hide (like mine) or lay on a bed and look slightly annoyed at the interruption from strangers. If your cat is never to be outside, you may want to consider putting him in a cat carrier or taking him with you. Better safe than sorry.



Even though your pet is a huge part of your family, downplaying their presence while selling your house is a smart move. Remember it's all about the house and getting it sold. Follow these tips and ideas I've shared with you today so that it can help you better deal with your kitty when selling so that it doesn't cost you a sale.


Happy Staging!







You can use this article in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you add the following bio box:
Posted by

Teresa Meyer is the Owner and Lead Staging Designer at Stage a Star, Cincinnati's Premiere Real Estate Staging company located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Teresa is an Accredited Staging Professional and recently awarded 2011 Midwest Stager Of The Year.  She is a member of RESA, Real Estate Staging Association, RESA Instructor and currently is the State of Ohio RESA President.   Teresa can be reached at 513-379-5488 or by email: teresameyer@fuse.net to answer your questions about the staging process and looks forward to assisting you in preparing and staging your house for the Cincinnati real estate market.

     

Stage A Star provides home staging services to Hamilton county Ohio, Butler county Ohio, Warren County, Ohio, Clermont county Ohio, West Chester, OH., Liberty Twp, OH., Mason, OH., Fairfield Twp., OH., Monroe, OH., Hyde Park, OH., Loveland, OH., Maineville, OH., Morrow, OH., Deer Park, OH., Indian Hill, OH., and surrounding Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas.

 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ann Cordes 02/11/2010 04:07 PM
Topic:
Home Selling
Location:
Ohio Butler County West Chester
Groups:
Realtors®
Tags:
stage a star
staging cincinnati
cat litter box ideas
kitty cat tips
home staging tips
pet tips when selling
home selling tips

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Show All Comments
Rainer
112,426
Lisa Schlitz
Home Run Real Estate, Inc. - Wellington, FL
Realtor - Wellington, Florida Homes 561-214-3216

Great tips, Teresa. I have cats myself and know when the time comes to market my house, there will definitely be some changing up of the cat litter box. I am going to get one of the odor neutralizers you speak of-I'll let you know how it works.

Feb 11, 2010 07:12 AM #1
Rainmaker
214,990
Ellie Shorb
Coldwell Banker, Ellie@CBmove.com - Chevy Chase, MD
CRS, Realtor DC, MD & VA Luxury Home Expert

This is a great set of tips - love the photos too. i just went on a listing appt where the homeowner had a large guinea pig cage in the living room with no cover. Wonder if they make cool contraptions for those critters too?!

Feb 11, 2010 07:21 AM #2
Ambassador
1,818,065
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I already scoop my litterbox twice a day and my house isn't even for sale :-)  The biggest issue with covered litterboxes is getting your cat to go inside them.  I tried one of those nice decorative boxes and my older cat wouldn't go through the opening.  He must have thought it was the cat carrier and mean a trip to the vet.  I always recommend to my sellers to make the pets as invisible as possible and for dogs they should be gone when visitors are coming. Doggie day care is a wonderful invention!

Feb 11, 2010 07:28 AM #3
Rainmaker
130,685
Aaron Silverman
Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC - Charleston, SC
Improving the Real Estate Experience through Educa

Very good tips.  A hidden litter box seems to be the best idea.  I like your comment that the cats are not the princesses (or princes) of the house when it is time to show it. 

Pet owners (myself included - I have a dog) forget not everyone loves our pets as much as we do.

Feb 11, 2010 07:32 AM #4
Rainmaker
312,553
Lori Churchill Cofer
Beasley Realty - Pullman, WA
Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA

Teresa,

Your tips are the best!  You have some great solutions here.  A cover..absolutely...and turned the other way with a odor neutralizer is so simple to do.  I also love those hidden ideas....genius!

Feb 11, 2010 09:33 AM #5
Rainmaker
145,822
Ann Cordes
Towne Adams, Realtors - Waco, TX

Teresa,

My first reaction was OMG now I have heard of everything. Then I realized I went out with another agent yesterday afternoon to show houses, and about half of them had pets. Two had dogs and 2 had cats. One had 3 cats. So this is a consideration for a lot of sellers. Great advice. And I'm reblogging you. OK?

Feb 11, 2010 04:06 PM #6
Rainmaker
633,407
Leesa Finley
RED Properties - Wake Forest, NC
RED Properties - Raleigh NC Real Estate

Oh my goodness - those are some crazy YET ATTRACTIVE solutions for litter boxes!  Personally, i love cats however, I have shown many homes with cats and it didn't go over well with buyers at all.  Either the sellers were not smart on keeping the odor down or the cats wanted all the love in the world and my buyer was allergic!  Not pretty!

Feb 11, 2010 05:33 PM #7
Rainer
102,526
Nu Nu
777S INC (Videos by Vegas Bob) - Las Vegas, NV

Very interesting and look at all those different homes for cats, amazing!

Nu

Feb 21, 2010 11:30 AM #8
Rainmaker
132,404
Teresa Meyer
Stage a Star Staging & Consulting Services - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Glad you all enjoyed reading this.  Just yesterday I had the opportunity to tell a homeowner to turn that litterbox so the hole isn't showing when you first walk in the room...;-)    Sometimes there's no way of getting around having a cat in the home while it is for sale but I hope that some of these tips will help sellers better prepare with the buyer in mind.

Feb 22, 2010 08:08 AM #9
Rainer
37,059
Larkin Hathaway
Local Hawaii Real Estate - Hilo, HI
REALTOR Salesperson, ABR , SFR, GRI

I have 2 cats so I really like these tips on how to minimize the litter box.   Here dog smells are more common.  ICK!

Mar 25, 2010 08:49 PM #10
Rainmaker
132,404
Teresa Meyer
Stage a Star Staging & Consulting Services - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Hi Larkin: Thanks for stopping by!  I hear ya with the dog smells.  I had a consult the other day and as soon as I walked through the front door...that stinky dog smell hit me.  Whew!  There are certain dog breeds that smell worse than others and DEF. keeping your dog bathed often is critical when selling. 

Mar 27, 2010 09:58 AM #11
Rainer
111,743
Cari Anderson
Danville, CA

Teresa: my cats would also hole up under the bed if strangers were milling around the house. I have been in so many open houses where it just reaked of cat litter - such a turn-off.

Love the creative litter boxes! ;-)

Apr 08, 2010 09:37 AM #12
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

I have had dogs, and cats in many of my moves, but our two most recent homes we have put pet doors into the laundry room, and out to the garage, with litter boxes.  The indoor ones were covered, in the garage they are FAR from the door into the house, and tucked into a corner, (you KNOW they love their privacy!).  We have not had success with putting the food near the box, cats really seem to get it that it is not cool to eat near where you...well, you get it! I have tried all sorts of air freshener plug-ins, sprays, solids, gels, and beads.  I find the least expensive, those little metal pop tab cans at the hardware store for 99 cents, (California "something"?) and neutralizer scent of Renuzit to be two of the BEST! GREAT POST!

May 30, 2010 12:48 AM #13
Rainmaker
132,404
Teresa Meyer
Stage a Star Staging & Consulting Services - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Teresa, I really enjoyed reading this post, and the photos are great too!  Such an ingenious way of keeping/improving the aesthetics of the home.

Thank you for sharing that  :)

Dec 29, 2010 08:15 PM #14
Rainmaker
132,404
Teresa Meyer
Stage a Star Staging & Consulting Services - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Really weird...I did not write that comment above me on Dec. 29th.  AR Gods?  Help?

Dec 31, 2010 03:31 PM #15
Ambassador
825,907
Fred Griffin
Frederick Griffin, Licensed Real Estate Broker - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Real Estate Broker

     We have always had cats... but rarely have Litter Boxes... my guys take it outside. 

     On those rare occasions when we must have a litter box (like when we moved to a new house), I put the litter box in the bathtub.  I use a cardboard box; the whole thing can be thrown away; the bathtub is washed and rinsed.  

Apr 08, 2014 01:46 PM #16
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Rainmaker
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Teresa Meyer

Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.
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