I'm an animal lover, a huge animal lover. From pets to nature programs, I can't get enough.
But I am also an estate agent and as such I know that animals can cost their owners dearly.
I am not talking about food, vet's pills or vacuum tokens at your local petrol station that have to be fed in by the dozen to remove your pooches' hair from the upholstery.
No. I'm talking about them having an effect on the biggest asset you own, your house.
So, what's the problem with your pets?
The sad fact is that your pets are not your potential buyer's pets and when they visit they may not be quite as delighted with them as you are.
Remember that some people nervous of pets, fearful or if from different cultural backgrounds may not understand why they are even in the house! The very fact that they are there can deter people from viewing or make them rush out of the house without them having a proper look. . . resulting in a lost sale.
As a pet owner myself I know I would not like to hear this, but the best thing you can do if you are serious about trying to sell your home is to temporarily re-house the pet with a friend or relative and the problem will have gone away altogether.
"No way!" I hear you cry, "but this is not practical and besides, I'd miss them." Well, I did tell you, you wouldn't like it didn't I?
If you can't bear to be parted from your prize poodle or Boa Constrictor, there are a few things you can do to help.
Whilst a dubious looking stain on the carpet may for you be a cherished memory of your beloved puppies' first day in your house, for a buyer it could be something of a stomach churner.
For cheapness, try to remove this stain completely yourself using something like Vanish carpet cleaner, but if not successful, call in the professionals.
Whilst you are at it, get an honest, straight talking friend around and ask them if the house has any pet odours, these stinky nuisances are normally trapped in the carpet fibres.
So, you may choose to have a complete deep clean throughout.
Cat Litter Boxes
Often kept in the kitchen, these can be a particular turn off for buyers especially if they are full.
Keep them out of sight and cleaned regularly and preferably put them outside during a viewing where they cannot be seen.
Online Property Presentation
Don't let your estate agent photograph your property with evidence of your pet on show.
So, that means moving cat or dog bowl from the kitchen and turfing the cat off the sofa when they photograph the lounge.
You will never know how many people do not enquire because they don't like the idea of buying the house where pets have been, so don't risk it.
During the viewing, if at all possible get the animal out into the garden. Bring it indoors when the applicant wants to view outside. If your pet is in any way aggressive with strangers, you really should drop them off at a friend or neighbour's before every viewing.
After all, the quicker your home sells, the faster you and your cherished pet can relax in your new home.
Any comments and tips, if you have any yourself, are welcome!