When an international buyer couple finished touring one of Vincent Smith’s listings, they said they were interested in making an offer.
But on one condition:
The cat that followed them throughout the condominium would have to be part of the deal.
“They initially thought it was a joke and the husband wanted to substitute a family member instead (I think it was his sister-in-law),” said Smith, a New York City-based agent at Halstead Property.
“Once they realized I was serious about the buyers’ proposition, it was a non-starter, as they would never part with the family pet.”
Pets make or break deals more than you might think, so it can pay for agents to know how to woo animal lovers.
Debbie Miller, broker-owner of Placerville, California-based Bella Real Estate, once learned that a buyer was really interested in a $1 million listing.
“But they only want to submit an offer if the goats are included,” the buyer’s agent informed Miller.
Perhaps that makes the case for offering some tongue-in-cheek variable pricing: one price for the home alone, another for domesticated animals included.
But Miller turned the goats into a seller’s concession.
“I created an addendum that stated, ‘Goats are included at no cost to the buyer without warranty by the seller,’ she said. “The buyers still live there today!’
Others simply need to know their pets will feel at home.
Halstead Property’s Rena Goldstein was holding an open house when a neighbor visited with her dog, explaining that she wanted to show the canine around.
“She walked from room to room, explaining everything to him,” Goldstein said. “After the tour, they left without a word.”
We’ll never know what would have happened if Goldstein had tossed out a squeaky toy or filled the visitor in on the local dog park, vet and pet food stores. But it probably couldn’t have hurt.
Same goes for reminding buyers that they can adjust a home to fit a pet’s needs.
One of Mary Roeser’s buyers complained a house didn’t have a cat door. She closed the sale without asking for a cat-door installation credit, but maybe that could have been a last resort.
“I told them that if the house and location were what they were looking for and the only objection was the cat door, they could add one at very little cost,” said Roeser, a Chantilly, Virgina-based agent at Century 21 New Millennium.
“I did caution them, however, that the next buyer may not want a cat door so be prepared to change it back when they get ready to sell.”
But when it comes to winning over pets, sometimes things are just out of your hands.
One celebrity showed up for his second visit to a $25 million listing, explaining to Jackie Lew and Marc Wisotsky, the property’s listing agent team, that “he channels his thoughts through the dog.”
Lew and Wisotksy, both agents at Halstead Property, expounded on the home’s finer details to the dog in a room-by-room showcase. Since the dog hadn’t stopped wagging its tail, they had high hopes.
Sure enough, the owner made an offer. But like many buyers, the dog failed to appreciate market conditions.
“Unfortunately, the dog was not up on the latest in the Brooklyn real estate market as much as he should have been and the offer was too low,” Lew said.