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Time was when all you needed to impress potential home buyers was the smell of baked bread and freshly brewed coffee wafting through your home. Oh yes, and don’t forget the yellow flowers by the entrance hall…
One double-dip recession and a property crash later and it seems that desperate homeowners are resorting to pimping out their pets in a bid to persuade cash-strapped buyers to sign on the dotted line.
So if you usually relegate Rover to the dog house during viewings, it could be time for a re-think.
The latest ‘home-staging’ trend from America has seen pampered pooches and cute kittens taking centre stage as homeowners try to woof, sorry, woo potential buyers.
In a challenging market, some estate agents firmly believe that a strategically-place pooch may give a property a more ‘homely’ appeal than a pet-free competitor.
Damian Gray of Knight Frank told The Telegraph, ‘there’s is much more of an effort now to make properties stand out. We have used dogs, horses, geese and a donkey in our brochures. In one property we used a photograph of koi carp in the fishpond as the main shot on the front of the brochure. But for some reason we haven’t used cats’.
And therein may lie a problem. For while the UK is undoubtedly a nation of pet lovers, stray animal hairs and the smell of wet dog is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Alison Clarke was so repulsed by one property owner’s pet dog licking at her heels during a second viewing that she decided against making an offer.
‘We were looking a couple of houses and the lingering smell of dog was a bit of a put off. When you’re viewing a property that’s a big financial committment, you want to see the potential, and other people’s pets jumping up at you is a distraction you don’t need’.