Pat’s Market Wise Q&A from San Jose Mercury News: Will The Family Pets Kill a Sale?

By Pat Kapowich
Excerpted from the San Jose Mercury News, SJMN

Market Wise Column

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Q: While viewing homes with our Realtor we encountered a vicious dog in one of the backyards. The dog actually charged at us and we barely made it back inside the house. Though no one was bitten, it was painfully obvious that one or all at us could have been. We found this to be completely outrageous that this animal was not confined. Even more egregious is the fact that there were no warnings anywhere on the property or in any listing documents. To make matters worse, the listing agent ignored our agent’s complaints. Learning this, we filed a complaint with animal control to make sure no one will be hurt. Could the seller and the listing agent have deliberately left out the information about the dog issue so as not to impede potential showings?


A: Doubtful. Putting ill-tempered dogs in the path of a steady stream of strangers to the animal’s home is ignorance on the seller’s part and stupidity on their agent’s part. Bad dog owners are just the type of sellers who also don’t realize that they might not sell their home, but instead give their property to a buyer in a subsequent lawsuit over a dog mauling. Additionally, the listing agent should know better than to put himself, his brokerage and even the seller in harm’s way. If there is an incident, the injured party’s attorney will claim the seller and listing agent knew, or should have known, this animal was akin to a loaded weapon.

Good for you for dropping a dime” on this dynamic duo to help ensure someone will not be injured. Ironically, your actions also protected the seller and his agent from litigation.

When one sells a home, the family dog or cat can end up being the most expensive pet he or she has ever owned. Some buyers are allergic to cats, detest pet odors, etc., and simply prefer to avoid any contact with animals. Consequently, the property is often perceived as less desirable than a home without pets. Hence, sellers should find a friend or relative to host the family pet(s) during the selling process. It’s best for the sellers involved and as well as the family pet.

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