Pet Owners: Tips for Buying the Perfect Home for You and Your Pet

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woman with dog looking for new homeDog, cats, chickens, snakes, birds. There is no doubt that our pets play a key part in our lives. They are family. Why shouldn’t they be an important part of our home search? That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips that can help you as you search for the best home that suits you—and your furry, feathered, and scaled friends.

Identify the ‘musts’ of your new home.

After applying for a mortgage, the next important search is to identify what is most important in your home search. As a pet owner, your list may be different than a non-pet owner; for example, a sun room for your cats or birds or an adequate fenced-in yard for your chickens and dogs may be at the top of the list. If you have an arthritic pet, a home with a limited amount of stairs could be included. If you are concerned about clean-up, add hard and durable floors to your list so you can easily clean up after your pets (especially during potty training!). Share your list with your real estate agent to make sure you are both on the same page during your home search.

Ask about fencing and other rules that could affect you and your pet.

Before you sign on the dotted line, ask the right questions to determine if there are any rules that could impact you and your pet. Most neighborhoods have basic regulations about cleaning up after the pet and controlling your pet, but there are some areas that could have additional rules. If you want (or own) chickens, ask if they are allowed. There are also municipalities and homeowner’s associations (especially pertinent for condo, town home, and some neighborhood purchases) with rules concerning noise restrictions (be aware dog owners), the number of pets you can own, the types of pets, fencing, etc.

Research your neighborhood.

If you have a more energetic pet or a pet you like to socialize, research your neighborhood to make sure your pet is allowed to visit local parks and businesses. Pay attention to traffic patterns, as well, so your pet is not at risk from a busy street (both when they are out in the yard or when on walks). Lastly, research local businesses so you don’t have to drive far for all your pet’s needs (i.e. food, grooming, daycare, health, etc.) To narrow down your options, talk to your real estate agent about any special needs you and your pet have before you start looking at homes.

Ask about previous pets.

A home with pets is not an automatic reason to not purchase a house; however it is a question that needs to be asked. If you have pets that would mark where a previous pet was, you do need to factor in the cost of new flooring or a deep flooring clean so you and your pet are both comfortable in your new family home.

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