Can owning a pet reduce the value of your home?

Despite your best efforts to keep your home clean, your pets will leave their mark. See more pet pictures.
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If you did your homework before getting your pet, you probably budgeted out how much per year it would cost you. However, it's very unlikely you considered the price of repairs bills -- or even a decrease in your home's value -- when you tallied up those costs. Well you probably should have because some animals can cause major damage to their owners' homes. And it's not just dogs and cats. Even a small animal like a ferret can do damage, or leaking fish tank can create a stain and odor that is difficult to remove.

A British survey released in February 2011 found that, on average, pets cause the equivalent of $1,120 damage to their household per year [source: McIver]. To make things worse, that damage is rarely covered by homeowner's insurance. Another real estate agent estimated the value of a home drops $30,000 when a buyer finds out the home was shared with pets [source: Tuttle]. The same agent noted that even the smallest sign of owning a pet can deter a buyer from considering your home. And the fewer interested buyers you have, the lower your final sale price will be.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to address these pet problems. If you're working with a real estate agent to sell your home, he or she will likely coach you on how to properly stage your home and eliminate any signs of your pet. Despite your best efforts to keep your home clean and presentable, pets will leave their mark. Many times you've grown so accustomed to your pets and their damage to your home, you don't even notice it. We'll discuss the many different types of damage pets cause and the warning signs home buyers look for next.

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