The family needs to make some decisions about selling my father-in-law's house soon. The problem is, you see, that in it also used to reside as many as 35 cats and 10 dogs at one time. And by that I do mean, at one time, about 30 years ago - not over 30 years.
When I first met my in-laws, they were down to about 15 cats and three dogs from the all-time high during my husband's high school years.
My MIL, when she was alive, tried to stay on top of it and my FIL was hale and hearty and handy too. But then he got sick. Within weeks, without the constant all-day cleaning they'd been doing, came the squalor. We hired Service Master for a disaster clean, and the family worked harder to help them maintain it from there. We had a "no additions" rule for animals. We were able to keep the house almost pleasant on a weekly cleaning schedule. My MIL passed away last year, as did a few of the unhealthy cats. And the attrition rate means that we're now we're at 4 cats (including one incredibly unhealthy 23 year old cat with gastro issues) (no pics - sorry!) and two dogs
(one enormous yellow lab, and one small..um..bat-eared thing). Which is almost do-able, if not for their various peeing and gacking issues of all of the elderly and not terribly fit animals. And the fact that now my FIL can't even walk far enough to let the dogs outside.
My FIL is terribly sick, and can't live on his own for much longer - in fact, after last week's trip to the hospital, maybe not again. My husband's sisters and I have been visiting regularly, cleaning and maintaining the house. But the deal is, it still smells. It's stronger when the furnace comes on - the cats have no doubt sprayed onto the air returns over the years (considering one used to love spraying on the burners of the stove...) It's in the furniture and baseboards and in the grout in the only six-year-old basement floor. I fear what's in the crawlspace.
After reading this previous question
, and particularly this answer
to it, I know that we can't do this work ourselves. I'm already taking a leave from my job to help care for my FIL and will possibly take the dogs, deal with the remaining cats there, and deal with emptying the house and such.
When we have our family meeting about this tomorrow night, my husband and I need to decide how we feel about whether to even attempt to have the house remedied before putting it on the market, or if there's a way to just sell it "as is" to someone who'll flip it. Personally, I'm leaning toward getting everything over with as quickly as possible - the house is paid for; my FIL is moving in with one of my SIL's; money isn't an issue. My husband is the executor, but my SILs don't know that yet. My SILs have said that it might be worth putting money into it to get a higher sale price. We will probably seek advice from a local realtors - but we don't even know what to ask them. What should we ask a realtor? There is a will, and the lawyer that helped my FIL write it - but we're not considering it at this point because my FIL is still alive, and he's considering his kids' wishes.
If it makes a difference, the house is in the "Ben Jungle"
(Toronto area) and it's a typical period house that needs other updating in so many ways, beyond the smell - I'm not sure how well the market is doing there compared to where we are downtown.
So, tl;dr: Is it better to sell a former pet hoarder house "as is"? Or should we try to make it as normal and salable as possible? What are the pros and cons for either option? What do we need to consider?