As a pet owner, I don’t have to be convinced of the joy that animals can bring to the family home. However, no matter how cherished a dog or cat may be, when a pet owner is attempting to sell a home, the pet’s presence can create unexpected difficulties.When buyers and their agents wish to visit a home, the presence of a pet can introduce issues that make it seem less appealing other competing properties. Here are a few examples of typical situations that can arise when pets are involved.1. If sellers need to be notified prior to a showing so that they can make arrangements for their animals, potential buyers may lower the home’s priority on their list of homes to view. It’s simply more convenient to view a home when there are no scheduling issues.2. Similarly, if the sellers have special instructions for dealing with pets, such as “put the dog in the garage” or “don’t let the cat go outside”, buyers may decide that it is more convenient to view other properties first. In today’s extremely competitive market, anything that complicates a showing is a negative factor.3. A barking dog can, of course, be a detriment. No matter how friendly the dog actually may be, buyers who are not comfortable with dogs may have concerns about their personal safety. Even quiet dogs who are overly friendly can be stressful to potential buyers and may reduce the amount of time they spend in the home. The more time that a buyer stays in a home, the more likely they are to be serious prospects.4. The presence of a pet in an area of the property can negatively affect a showing. I once had a showing of a house where the sellers left the house but did not take their dog with them. Instead, the dog was left in the fenced-in backyard. The home was perfect for my buyer as his hobby was woodworking and the home included a separate shop building. Unfortunately, since his wife was afraid of dogs – and the shop was located in the backyard – they never even ventured out to take a look at it.5. Pets can create odor issues no matter how clean the home may be. Pet owners get accustomed to these odors and may not even notice them. However, buyers who are unaccustomed to living with pets can be turned off for fear that they could never completely eliminate the offensive odor. Ask your friends or your agent to give you an honest assessment of any smells that they notice upon entering your home – then take action to eliminate them.Naturally, not all pets are a potential hindrance to the sale of a home. An aquarium or caged birds may enhance the decor and ambiance and may even be considered as exotic. And, of course, if you are selling a farm or horse property, the presence of horses would definitely be a positive factor.While animal lovers may not find the presence of pets to be a problem, it is prudent to do everything possible to make sure that buyers who are not “animal people” are not inadvertently excluded from the pool of potential buyers.