Selling a home is a big process, and it can be a lengthy one as well. If you don’t have a good plan in place beforehand, it can also be a very stressful undertaking, especially if you are in charge of making sure the house is market-ready. For some homeowners, this might mean updating the kitchen or repainting the living room; however, for pet owners, there are additional steps you need to take before putting your home on the market.

Evidence of pets is one of the biggest reasons potential buyers will walk away from a home, either because they don’t want to invest in a house that might have damage or because they believe there will be hard-to-remove odors and stains. Even if your pet is well-behaved and has never caused damage to your home, when potential buyers walk in and see dog toys and food dishes sitting around, they are likely to turn around and go home.

Staging your house for buyers is a very important part of selling. Here are a few tips on how to make sure it’s in tip-top shape.

Relocate your pet

Before you begin staging your home, think about relocating your pet while it’s on the market. Ask a friend to take him in for a little while, or hire a boarder who will take good care of him while you are showing your home. This will allow you to properly stage your home and remove all traces of your pet while keeping him safe and happy.

Have your carpet cleaned

Even if there are no visible stains on your carpets, it’s always a good idea to have them professionally cleaned. Steam cleaning can do wonders for flooring, and you might see that there’s a lot of dirt and pet hair that you never even noticed before. According to HomeAdvisor, the average price for a carpet cleaning is between $125 and $250, which is well worth it if it helps a potential buyer see your home’s worth.

Clean out your vents

It’s best to assume that potential buyers will look through closets, in cabinets, and even in vents  to make sure your home is in good shape. Cleaning air ducts and making sure there’s no pet hair or other debris inside vents will show them that your home worth buying. It’s also a good idea to have a professional come take a look at your HVAC system to make sure it’s in working order.

Put away your dog’s belongings

Removing all traces of your pet means putting away his toys, bedding, and other belongings, so gather them up and put them in a safe place while your home is on the market. If you have a crate or doghouse, consider moving it into storage until moving day. Removing these items will help potential buyers see themselves living in your home.

Clean, clean, clean

Even if you have your carpets professionally cleaned and take the time to go through each room to remove your pet’s belongings, unfortunately it’s just not enough. You also need to wipe down surfaces; clean the tile; have curtains, furniture, and tapestries cleaned; and pick up waste from the yard. Just because your home looks clean to the naked eye doesn’t mean there isn’t pet dander lurking about, which you need to get rid of because there may be a potential buyer who is allergic to your pet.

Learning how to properly stage a home isn’t necessarily an easy job, so you may need the assistance of an experienced realtor. Ask for help in figuring out the best ways to make your home look amazing for potential buyers, and talk to your family about what they can do to help. (Related: Essential Oils That Will Keep Your Pets Free of Fleas All Year Long)