Got Cats and Selling Home? Here"s How to Stage Your House Around Cats

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 Whether you have one or two cats in your home or six cats as my son and I currently have, it is useless to try to hide them from visitors. True, the cats may hide themselves, as Billy often does. On the other hand, our thirteen year old Jaspurr is a furry Welcome Wagon. Jaspurr loves everybody, and is not offended in the slightest, if not everyone returns that love.

Even if Jaspurr were in hiding, the food dishes, visible litter boxes, and cat memorabilia outside and in our home offer ample clues that ours is a cats' house.

The two giant lion statues at the entry to our driveway are the first evidence, followed by the sitting and crouching stone jaguars framing the entry to the steps leading up to the front porch. The steps themselves have various feline statuary (next to the house and not by the stair railing where visitors walk).

I love my cats, and I make sure they know it every day. They are my fur children, and I'm not about to hide the fact that I have them. When the house is being shown to potential buyers, the cats are all enclosed in my bedroom, for their own protection, so that visitors don't accidentally let them out. This plan also works for visitors who either fear cats or are allergic to them.

There is a sign on the door to my bedroom that says, "Please do NOT open the door as the cats are contained in this room so you can enjoy your tour. Thank you for your consideration."

For example, as I am writing this article today, I've received two cell phone texts from my real estate agent. The first one asked if another agent could come over in fifteen minutes.

My son was out of town at a medical appointment. I told Robbie "Sure thing - send him over," Mind you, I was still in my "sweats" with a long robe over them. I threw the robe on my bed, rounded up all the cats and scurried them into my bedroom. Then, air freshener in hand, I scooped the remaining three litter boxes.

I then walked around the house, turning on lights in the kitchen, entry hall, my bathroom, and my son's bedroom and large bathroom. I then lifted the wooden shades high enough to get a view of the scenery outside his bedroom windows. It looks out onto a stone bench under a large live oak tree up the hill at the front of the house with a stone bird bath next to it. It's a lovely place to sit and read on a warm spring day.

The agent arrived alone at the house. He was previewing it for out-of-town buyers. He and his wife work together selling real estate, and they also volunteer for a pet rescue group in his home area. We had a lot in common, and his preview went by so quickly that it seemed he had only been there a few minutes when he left.

The second text was to let me know that an agent with clients wanted to come between 2:30 and 4 p.m. Fine with me - Lance is home now and we have the drill down. (I guess I should mention that I was a real estate broker/manager for several different companies before taking on this opportunity with About.com in 1997.)

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