According to a survey by Realtor.com, “Ninety percent of dog owners were more likely to say their pets’ needs were “important” or “very important” in their home search”. Thus, it’s no secret that for pet owners the search for a perfect home involves a much more detailed set of considerations.
If you’re a pet owner who’s planning to shop for a home soon, I’ve summarized below the top items to consider during your search:
Just as you may be looking for the ideal neighborhood based on nearby conveniences and other things important for your lifestyle, your pet’s lifestyle will also be key in your location choice. You’ll want to know where the closest dog park is and if it’s walking distance or if you’ll need a vehicle to get there. In addition, you’ll want to consider the proximity to veterinarians, groomers, and other frequently used pet services.
Also, consider the traffic patterns near the home. If it’s a busy traffic area, it may be less than ideal for pets who may spend a lot of time outside. If the traffic patterns are questionable, at minimum look for ample sidewalk area, which will also be key for long walks. After you’ve seen the home with your Realtor, be sure to drive the neighborhood again and look for neighbors walking their pets and other signals of a dog friendly neighborhood.
“…consider the traffic patterns near the home. If it’s a busy traffic area, it may be less than ideal for pets who may spend a lot of time outside”
City and County Code Restrictions
Dog owners shoud be sure to check the city and county ordinances in their target neighborhoods for any notable restrictions or requirements. For instance, in the District of Columbia, owners of dogs over four months of age need to obtain a license within 10 days of acquiring the dog, or within 10 days after the dog becomes four months of age.
Thereafter, the license needs to be renewed annually. Additionally, although the district has retired their ordinance against Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, other locales such as Prince George’s county, where Pit Bull Terriers are prohibited, still maintain restrictions.
Homeowner’s Association (HOA) and Condominium Requirements
When considering homes in HOA and condo communities, be sure to ask your agent ahead of time to confirm any relevant association restrictions for pets. A few to ask about include those related to the number or type of pets you can have, restrictions on fencing, weight limits, etc. By the same token, if it’s a pet friendly community, ask about special pet amenities like dog runs or special services that may help make a community a perfect fit.
Lay Of The Land
Once you’ve identified all the external considerations, now it’s time to consider the layout inside your potential home. Although this list isn’t exhaustive, these are a few of the top items to consider:
- Flooring – Often pet owners prefer hardwood over carpet due to the ease of cleanup and lack of issues with odor control. When choosing hardwood, be sure to plan ahead for how you will protect your floors from scratches i.e triple-sealing with a high-grade polyurethane. Alternative good flooring options include tile, vinyl and laminates, which could also be added later.
- Yard Size – For dog owners is the yard adequate? If not fenced, is the space conducive to adding one?
- Square footage – Is there ample space for the size of your dog to roam without feeling shut in? Also, will the home suit the future lifestyle of your pet as they age? i.e. number of steps and any potential issues down the line.
- Total Rooms & Closets – Cat owners should consider possible locations for the litter box; think mud rooms or basement cubby spaces. Also, outdoor enclosures provide great bonus space for pets.
- Outdoor Water Access – Many people like to bathe their dog outdoors in warmer months. Are there well placed spigots outside the home?
- Windows – All pets like to relax each day and watch the action outside. Are there suitably placed windows for this?
Pet owners should prepare for a larger list of considerations when shopping for a home. Start with narrowing down your neighborhood and ask your Realtor to help gather or point you to information related to nearby pet conveniences and related intel on the community you are considering.
Next, evaluate the layout of each potential home to ensure it’s a good fit for your pet’s current and future needs. Be sure to ask friends and family for their input and check local online neighborhood forums for additional insight that may be helpful.
If you are a pet owner shopping or a home and would like assistance from a Realtor in navigating some of the above considerations, please reach out! We’d love to help.
How We Can Help…
We work with lots of amazing lender partners. If you’re thinking about buying a home, start with a good lender who can help you determine your buying power and what programs are available to you. Call or text us anytime… Or contact us, so we can send over some recommendations!