If you’re one of approximately 70,000 homes in the US with pets today and are planning to buy a home, keep these three tips in mind.
House hunting without pets can be a daunting task, but when you add pets into the mix, it gets even harder. Pets are part of the family today. There are many things to think about before jumping in.
Tip # 1 - Consider the type of property you’re looking for. Do you want a single-family home? Do you need a fenced backyard for your dog, or will you walk your dog on a leash? Are you looking for a townhouse or a condo?
Ultimately, you may change your mind as to the type of property, but you need a starting point. I’ve had people come to me looking to buy a condo but ended up buying a house instead, and vice versa.
Each option presents its own challenges. For a single-family home, do you want a home in a subdivision or gated community, or a home on a street? Homes in subdivisions and gated communities likely have pet restrictions. Cities, as well, may have pet restrictions as to number and breed. How about its location to dog parks, dog beaches, veterinarians, and other pet services?
Tip # 2 – Check the pet restrictions. I can’t tell you how important this is! If you have an indoor cat or a small dog, you’re probably okay in a house (not necessarily a condo), but if you have more than one or a larger pet or certain breeds, they may be restricted. It’s imperative you find this information out.
Condos have more restrictions than houses. They can range from if you are even permitted to have a dog, to where you can walk your dog to the type of vaccinations it must have, to where it can poop, etc. Make sure you are okay with the rules. Many people are fine with them, but others are not. Know before you buy!
Tip # 3 – Find a pet-friendly REALTOR®. Someone who lives and breathes their pets like you. Anyone who knows me knows I wear a lot of black and always have dog hair (and sunscreen!) no matter how many lint rollers I use! It’s just part of who I am.
Most real estate agents are only vaguely familiar, if at all, with pet restrictions. And you, as a pet parent, desperately need this information. After all, you’re spending a lot of money and want your family with you.
I know you adore your pets, so do yourself and them a big favor – use a pet-friendly REALTOR®. Seriously! I can’t begin to tell you the horror stories I’ve heard through the years.
Whatever type of home you ultimately choose, do your homework to make sure you and your furry friends will be welcome and happy living there.
Elyse Berman, PA, CRS is a Pet-Friendly REALTOR® who has been helping people buy and sell homes for the past 18 years. She serves Palm Beach County, Florida and surrounding areas. Check out her blog.