I work with clients to make sure we’ve identified all of their housing needs, especially those that will make a good home for their pet. We might uncover new things they hadn’t considered or discover a few must-haves for their new home. I always ask my pet-parent clients specific questions so we can identify the floor plan that will best accommodate their pet. Will they need a fenced yard, how well does their pet do on stairs, will they need a walk-in shower for bathing, etc. There are many things pet-owners should consider when preparing to buy:
Pet owner restrictions and local laws.
Before purchasing a home, you’ll want to check local pet laws and restrictions and how they might affect you, your pet, and your lifestyle. Especially important if moving to a new city, pet-owners should familiarize themselves with breed-specific laws within the city and state. It’s also a good idea to check the law for legal limits on the number of animals you can own in your home; you could be required to hold a kennel license when housing multiple animals. For example, in North Carolina a permit is required if you have 3 or more dogs or cats. Good to know, right?
If considering condo living or a home with an HOA, they, too, often have pet restrictions you should be aware of. You can read more about those here: HOA Rules Home Buyers Should Watch Out for, to Protect Their Pets.
Whether the neighborhood (or your neighbors) is pet friendly.
This one can be tricky but it’s oh so important! The last thing you want is to buy a new home, move in, and discover that your new neighbor despises animals. You can’t always meet the neighbor, but you can increase your chances of that happening. Look at potential homes in the evening hours when neighbors are more likely to be home, or view homes during an open house when others in the neighborhood are taking a peek and you can ask them and the selling agent ‘what they know’. You can drive around the neighborhood at specific times of the day to get a feel of the traffic, and whether or not it’s a pet friendly environment. For your pet’s safety, avoid choosing a home that is directly located on a busy street.
The home’s layout, flooring, and features.
To make sure you and your pet are comfortable in your new home, it’s important you take the time to assess all of the home’s features, inside and out, and the layout. You’ll want to consider your lifestyle and what that will look like in this new home. Do you have a big dog that needs additional space? Does your pet spend more time outdoors or in? Do you have more than one pet and they need space to run and play together? Will your cat need a window ledge to nap in? Is your dog older and unable to climb stairs? Do you need wood or laminated flooring instead of carpet? Do you need a spot for that litter box or a closet for pet supplies? Is a walk-in shower necessary for bathing? You’ll want to consider every aspect of a potential home. And with a clear understanding of your needs you’ll be able to make the right decision when choosing a new home.
The front yard, back yard, and fencing.
You don’t want the front yard to rest on a busy, high-traffic street. All it takes is an open door or fence for your pet to dart out into traffic. If the home has a fence, inspect it well; you’ll want to make sure it’s high enough your dog can’t jump over it and be aware of any loose boards or a faulty gate that needs repaired. If the yard doesn’t have a fence, review the HOA and condo restrictions to make sure you’re allowed to add a fence, as well as the requirements for the materials, style, and size of the fence.
Accessibility to local pet services.
Maybe not at the top of the list for everyone but definitely something to consider. How accessible is your home to a good veterinarian or emergency care? Can you purchase pet food nearby? Where’s the nearest pet-supply store? Is there a pet salon or groomer close? You’ll want to consider whether or not you can get the services you need for your pet within a reasonable distance.
What pet-friendly amenities are nearby.
If you enjoy walking your dog or spending time with your pet outdoors this one is a must. Look for green spaces for your pup. Ask your agent and drive around to discover if there are dog parks or trails nearby. Look for any pet-friendly restaurants in the area or other pet-friendly spots.
Purchasing a new home is an opportunity to buy something that both you and your pet can enjoy. It should make your life easier, not harder. Consider everything that is important to you. Your budget might not get everything on the list but together I know we can find something that you and your family, and pets, will love.