Nearly 68% of U.S. households own pets. Pets share our living spaces and sometimes run our lives more than we’d like to admit, so there is a lot to consider when shopping for a new home that you will share with your furry/scaly/feathery friend. Here are some tips for house hunting with a pet in mind.
Inform Your Agent
The first thing you need to do is inform your real estate agent about your pet and what home features are important for your specific pet. That way your agent can inform you of any local ordinances or restrictions, and they can help filter your home search to properties and neighborhoods that are pet friendly.
Consider Outdoor Space
If you have a pet that enjoys the outdoors, you should pay close attention to several home and neighborhood features when looking at homes.
– Yard: Does the yard size give your pet enough room to roam? Do you have easy access to the yard, i.e., will it be easy to let your pets in and out? If the home has a pool, it should come with a gate or cover. Is there any vegetation that would be harmful to your pet? How are the sightlines – can you see your yard from your kitchen or living room?
– Fencing: Does the yard have a fence? How high is it (for jumpers)? How private is it (for barkers)? Do the gates properly latch? If there is no fence, how much would it cost for you to install one for that lot size?
Neighborhood – Are there any busy roads nearby? Are the streets well lit? Are there sidewalks, parks, or other suitable walking areas nearby? If your dog gets loose or your cat likes to prowl at night, will they be safe?
Check the Rules and Guidelines
If you intend to search for a home in a neighborhood that’s managed by an HOA, you should identify what guidelines they have in regard to pets. It’s possible that there will be a limit on the size or number of pets that can be in one household.
When rules are in place, violations can result in substantial fines, which is why it’s best that you find out this information before making an offer. Many communities are pet friendly and include on-site services that are beneficial for pets.
Consider Interior Features
The interior of the home you’re interested in should also be considered. For instance, does the house have a bay window or large window ledges where a cat can sit? Does the bathroom have a shower or tub that will accommodate pets for baths/grooming? As for flooring, carpets will stain easily and attract pet dander and fur. Hardwood and tile floors are preferable.
Numerous factors will play a role in your final decision when searching for the right home. As long as you inform your realtor and make sure that the neighborhood doesn’t have restrictive rules against pets, you should be able to find a home that your pets love.