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Associate Paul Hogarty's Dog posing for a Selfie!

The difference between a property that sells quickly and one that sits on the market for months on end has much to do with first impressions. If you have a pet (or several), they will not know that this is the case because they don't really understand you. Unless, that is, there is food thrown into the bargain.

When you're selling a house it's not a bad idea to make it seem as if an animal has never lived there. A day at the poodle parlour, a trip to the cat spa - whatever it takes, get rid of the animals when you know you have a viewing and remove all traces of their occupancy. They'll forgive you!

Exterior Damage: While animals love nothing more than to dig holes in the garden, damage plants, scratch, chew and  defecate on decking and fencing, unfortunately buyers don't like these things. What are buyers going to think if the exterior of your property looks like a dog's dinner? Keep an eye on these potential problems for a smooth transition from front gate to front door.

Odours: Smells are the No. 1 pet problem that need to be fixed before you attempt to sell your home. Not only are pet odours very obvious when buyers first enter a home, they are usually very difficult to get rid of. Home buyers know this and could immediately scratch your house off their list. Although getting rid of odours the right way might mean making an investment, the benefit and resulting resale value are well worth it.

Stains: Pets have accidents, many of which you don't notice until they've become set-in. These stains can affect your carpet and flooring, drywall and trim, and your furniture. It's important to address them before you list your house because buyers will notice -- and perhaps smell -- the stains immediately. If there are stains in your carpet, a simple spot treatment will rarely do the trick. It's best to replace stained areas with new patches of carpet and, if necessary, carpet pad. Stains on laminate or vinyl floors should be replaced, as well.

Blair Cadell Solicitors are a leading firm of Edinburgh solicitors dealing in a wide range of property, business, tax and personal legal services.