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Showing a House with Snakes

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dragoness, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I'm hoping to flip my house this fall, and buy myself a nicer (bigger) house. I'm getting a little too crowded in here. And since my home has doubled in value since I bought it 2 years ago, I may as well use that difference to get a nicer house.

    The downside is that I have to show it while I still live in it, which may be a bit of a problem. When you're selling a house, you want every impression to be positive, and for people that don't like snakes, being confronted with a 9 foot boa may be, well, traumatizing, even if she is in a secure cage, even if you do have warning. While I can rent a storage unit for my knickknacks and furniture, but I can't put my snakes in it. And I can't very well tell prospective buyers that they just can't go in that room, either. I want them to see that room. We put a lot of work into the remodel, and it is a very nice room, and would be a good selling point.

    Anyone here who has been through this? had to show a house, complete with (large) reptiles? So far my best idea is to put them all in their rubbermaid storage bins, and let people assume it's just stuff we started packing, and put their cages in storage units. While my smaller herps can live in plastic bins, my big girl, Akasha (9 ft redtail) really can't for any length of time. It's fine for a couple days if traveling, but not for the weeks (or months) it may take us to sell the house and move into the next one.

    My other idea was to try and find an apartment in town that would allow me to sign a lease month by month, and simply house my reptiles (and myself) there for the time being.... but that seems like an awful lot of work, and most apartments here want a 6 month or 1 year contract.
     
  2. millerpj

    millerpj Elite Member

    Could you put her in a bin for a showing and cover the cage with a decorative throw?
     
  3. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    Could you put a table cloth over it?
     
  4. norwegn113

    norwegn113 Well-Known Member

    I would put the "big" kids in a bin and take them with you during the showing. An empty cage should not be too offensive!
     
  5. mayhmmaydn

    mayhmmaydn Elite Member

    buy or make a room divider/screen. pull this out and place in front of your big snake's habitat while showing. you can also let them know you have reptiles for pets and ask them to be quiet while in the room. When they see that you are conserned for your pets well being and aren't immediately shocked by the site of a large girl it will probably go alright. other than that, if you are going to be there for all the showings if shes not opposed to being handled frequently you can do the bin time for short visits maybe. do you have any friends or family that would let you set her up at their place temporarily while showing the house? the lights on monty's enclosure were internal and we just put a throw over his cage when the manager was coming in to do repairs and such.
     
  6. NancyA

    NancyA Elite Member

    The most important thing to do first is find a realtor who is not intimidated by the snakes. I would also tell them that the house is not to be shown with out the listing agent present and no lock box on the house. The screen is an excellent idea. If possible small pad locks on the cages helps to ensure nothing gets opened by busy bodies or children. My husband is a realtor who insist that he accompany any showings when there are exotic pets present.
     
  7. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    The easiest idea is to cover the cage with a table cloth or decorative blanket and then place random knicknacks on top. this will make it seem like nothing but a decorative table. then take the snake with you so that people dont hear movement and then look under the blanket.
    Or any friends in the area that could snake sit while the house is being shown? You could drop her off before the showings and pick her up afterwards so they dont have to worry about feeding and all the extra costs.
     
  8. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Unless you are emptying the house for the showings anyway, I would just cover all the cages. Then they are just covered furniture. Even knowing your pets were ever in the house could be a huge turnoff for a lot of people. Any storage places near you with units that have power? Might be able to get a month to month on one of those and put everyone there.
     
  9. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    I agree with the others - I'd simply cover the cages, and ensure your realtor is fine with snakes so he/she won't make a big deal out of it either.

    Once when I was shopping around for a condo, our realtor showed us a place owned by bird aficionados. These people had at least 20 birds of varying species and sizes in this place, scattered throughout the house, and I only know because I asked out of curiosity. All of the cages were covered, and you'd occasionally hear some chirps and whistles, but being unable to actually see the birds means we weren't distracted by them to the point of not being able to fully assess the place. The place was also immaculate, so any stereotypes of bird-people being messy or dirty certainly wasn't supported. And the realtor placed no importance on the birds...she merely mentioned their existence when we heard bird sounds, but because she didn't make a big deal out of it, no one else saw any reason to do so either (even though my roommate who was with me had a serious bird phobia).

    Considering snakes generally aren't that noisy to begin with (and I can't see anyone standing around in silence long enough to hear what little noise they make anyway), I think merely covering the tanks, informing the realtor, and ensuring your place is spotlessly clean should be more than enough to ward off any potential issues.
     
  10. JSqueezer

    JSqueezer Elite Member

    Yup, just cover the enclosures.

    Dream scenario... a reptile lover comes to see your home and lets slip to the realtor that he/she could see *favorite snake here* in this room. The realtor then whips the cover off Akasha's enclosure and says "You mean like this????!!" Hey, it could happen... in an ideal world.

    I do agree with Darkbird. Sometimes it just takes a person knowing that there was *something that their nightmares are crafted of* in that house to turn them off.
     
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Not only that but in their mind is rolling around the idea of "I wonder if one has ever gotten out and not been found"?
    My own mother would turn around and walk out of a house when she saw the snake!
     
  12. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I plan on sending a bunch of my "junk" to a storage unit (half my furniture, all of my knickknacks, and craft supplies, books, etc), but no storage areas here have power, and I would not want my snakes living in them, as none are climate controlled, and would be outdoor temps. Here in Michigan, that could be a problem.

    I will be living in my house while it is being shown, and the cage is always locked and requires a key for access, so keeping people out of the cage is hardly a concern. No showing appointments will be made without myself or a trusted family member there to keep an eye on things.

    I don't see hiding the cage behind a screen to be a very... practical idea. Homebuyers will want to look behind everything, to make sure we aren't using the screen to cover up holes, burn damage, water damage, or other problems. While the cage itself is not tall, it sits on a custom table made to accommodate it, and the resulting height of it is about 5 feet. Putting a cover and some figurines on it would still look fishy to me.

    The idea I am currently tossing around is to put the cage on the floor - On it's own, it is a good height to be a coffee table. Since it is all glass, with a metal frame, I could make it look like a display case of some type - we have all seen some strange coffee tables, right? if I go this route, I'll be buying the biggest plastic foot locker/storage tub that I can find for a temporary residence for Akasha, and stacked alongside other totes and boxes, it would easily be camouflaged as pre-move packed up stuff - just like the other snakes.

    Another idea was to cut up boxes to make a screen that simply looked like a pile of boxes (and went all the way around the cage). I can easily get tons of boxes from work. as long as lights weren't on, nothing to give it away. The illusion could be completed with masking tape and sharpie labels bearing titles with very mundane household goods "Towels", "winter clothing" "Extra Blankets" "Books" etc.

    Simply covering all of the cages would leave me with a (seemingly very small) room full of hanging blankets. My reptile room dimensions are like 11x16 or something similar. Once you subtract the amount of space taken up by the cages, bins, etc lining every single wall, you are left with a functional area of about 6x8. Hence, my plan is to move all the smaller cages out, and allow their residents to live in plastic storage bins (which never look out of place in a household that is gearing up to move). Akasha is simply too big to live in one of those for any period of time. My Ball Pythons, and JCP's might not be able to stretch out all the way, but they can at least thermoregulate - have a warm and cool end. When coiled up, Akasha would take up the entirety of the floor space in one of those bins - which might be okay for an hour or 3, but not for weeks or longer.

    Most of us here would be totally rational if we were viewing a house that was currently inhabited by any kind of animal. Not everyone is like that - Merlin brings up an excellent point. Minds will race, and come to all sorts of illogical or improbable conclusions. Reptile enthusiasts are regularly painted in a bad light by the media, so many people would jump to the worst possible conclusions if they saw the snakes. Anything from assuming I will leave the snakes there to be their problem, to refusing to even consider buying the house because they have a crippling case of ophidiophobia, and don't want anything to do with a house that has ever had snakes in it. An empty cage could lead them to speculate that I keep cobras or some other absurdity.
     
  13. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    Covering them and hiding them sounds like a good plan, good luck Jen!
     
  14. mayhmmaydn

    mayhmmaydn Elite Member

    my sis just said she wouldn't be worried about a snake that had gotten loose.. she would freak out about mice or rats or bugs much much worse.. ie its feeders. they are nocturnal and you wouldn't see them at a viewing. lol
     
  15. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe rearrange the cage/cages so they are all in the relative center of the room, and then cover the whole lot. Now you have a large pile of furniture covered and waiting on the move. And I agree that the Realtor should know about the situation, they may even have some better suggestion for how to proceed. It's too bad peoples irrational fears would cause such a problem, but it's the reality we have to deal with sometimes.
     
  16. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    My mother is one of these people, and no matter how much education/convincing/promising I do, she refuses to set foot in my house, and has said she'll never buy a house from someone who owns reptiles. She has irrational fears, but is also willfully ignorant and stubborn. She'll believe what she wants to believe (i.e. that all lizards are conspiring and capable of breaking out of their cages and attacking her), regardless of what's fact. That being said, where the willfully ignorant part plays an advantage is that she also won't ask about them if she doesn't see them. Because she doesn't want to know. I like the setup you mentioned (putting all the tanks in the middle of the room and covering them) for this very reason - because it would work great for people like her. She'd be content to think it was just a pile of furniture and wouldn't pry further. I consider her to be an extremist and your worst case scenario - if she could be ok with this setup, I think anyone could be.
     
  17. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I went through this exact issue with our last house. I had a reptile room that had a fair number of large enclosures. The house was 120+ yrs old and despite my fixing it up was till going to be a hard sell. So my only decision at the time was to sell everything off and clear out the room not wanting anything to hold back the sale. That ended my Uromastyx breeding at the time.

    The majority of people will cringe at the thought of reptiles in the house and you don't want a bad first impression when they leave.
    For myself, if someone has had a dog or cat in the house and it's evident. It's enough for me to look elsewhere. Of course dogs and cats leave more damage and carpet issues than reptiles ever would.

    If the market you are in is good you might not have as much of an issue. If you can relocate them temporarily I would definitely do that. Maybe borrow someones garage for the time being or something.
     
  18. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    My house is 121 years old this year, but in good shape, and has had numerous remodels and renovations over the years. It's age does not show (if anything of the original structure is left, I would be honestly surprised.)

    The house in and of itself won't be hard to sell - just getting people to ignore, or look past, the reptiles, will be the hard part. Piling up all the cages in the middle of the room would leave nothing but a walkway around the outermost edge, and it they are inhabited, a winding trail of cords and timers. If, however, I moved all of the cages except the big one to a storage unit, the rest of the small ones would easily sack under that, and make one neat pile, which may or may not end up being covered with cardboard to look like boxes.....

    One way or another, something will work out.
     
  19. JSqueezer

    JSqueezer Elite Member

    You never know.. the realtor could disclose to the house hunter that you have reptiles that are properly housed and the person may be absolutely fine with that. You may have some come to look at the house just to see your collection. Who knows? You may inspire a little Repti-Love.:x
     
  20. LovetheBaruu

    LovetheBaruu Subscribed User Premium Member

    Friends, family, library, school. Any place you can trust to house some of your reptiles temporarily? I know you don't want them stressed out.
     

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