When buying a home, you are often considering factors concerning you and your family’s needs. But, have you considered the needs of your furry friends?
What really makes a house a home is those who we share it with- pets included. With pets comes responsibility, and part of that responsibility is ensuring that they are safe and happy in their living space. If you want to include your four-legged pal in your home search, here are 10 things to consider when buying a home as a pet owner.
If you have a large or active dog, you know that having a backyard is a huge convenience. It is even bigger of a convenience if the backyard is fenced in. A fenced backyard adds privacy for the homeowner, but it also enhances the safety of your four-legged friend. As a pet owner, a fenced yard gives you peace of mind knowing that your pet won’t wander off, get lost, and potentially get hit by a passing car or injured by other animals in the neighborhood.
2. Interior Space
When looking at home’s take into consideration the amount of interior space you will need to accommodate the needs of not only you and your family, but also your pets. Consider the size of your pets, as well as how many you have. A Great Dane is going to need more space to move around than a chihuahua just as one cat is going to need less space than five cats. Your pets need to feel comfortable in the new home just as much as you, do, so give them the space that they need to move around and live with ease.
3. Durable Flooring
Your pets may be cute, but between the claws, the fur and the occasional accident, they can take a toll on your home’s flooring. Due to its tendency to hold onto pet stains, odors, fur and bacteria, carpet is not the best flooring type. Instead,consider homes with luxury vinyl plank flooring. This flooring is durable, scratch and water resistant, easy to clean, and comes in many styles including those that even mimic hardwood. Tile is also a wonderful flooring option that is incredibly durable and easy to clean. When searching for homes, be on the lookout for these two pet-friendly flooring types.
4. Sidewalks or Walking Trails
While it is important to consider the features and amenities within the home, you also want to consider those outside of it. When looking at homes, pay attention to the walkability of the neighborhood. Are there sidewalks? Are the sidewalks well-maintained? If there are no sidewalks are there walking trails nearby? If you have a dog or leash trained cat, these are important questions to ask yourself so that you can ensure they get in their daily exercise.
5. Stairs or No Stairs
In the same way many elderly homeowners prefer homes that help with their mobility, so do our furry friends. If you have an older or disabled pet that has trouble getting around, stairs could become an obstacle. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to completely rule out multi-story homes. Many homes with stairs can often be modified to fit your pets’ needs. Depending on the layout, you could easily confine your pet to one story of the home, or provide ramps outside for easier accessibility in and out of the house.
6. Local Pet Laws and Fees
Unfortunately, many laws regarding pets exist. Nearly every city, neighborhood and HOA has laws regarding pets. These often include restrictions on the breed and number of pets allowed within the borders of a particular area. These local restrictions are likely made for the safety of the neighborhood and nuisance rules. If you are considering a particular home, do your research on the rules and pet fees of your specific city, neighborhood or community HOA. This way you are not caught off guard by fees or forced to rehome a pet upon moving in.
7. Long Term Ease and Enjoyment
Consider how your pet will interact with the home long term. For example, if you have a cat you might want to look for a home with large windows or deep window sills so that they can easily perch to look outside or sunbathe. If you have dogs that spend time outside, look for homes with a walkout basement or mudroom. These home features allow you to clean up dirty paws before they track through the rest of the home. If you bathe or groom your pets yourself, make sure the home has large enough showers or bathtubs. These small details will help keep your pets happy long-term and make your life easier too.
8. Natural or Geographic Threats
If your pet is going to spend any amount of time outside, you will want to think about the natural or geographic threats that may be present. If you are looking to buy in a more rural area or an area surrounded by forests, consider predators like bears, coyotes, mountain lions, snakes, or wolves that could be a threat. Certain plants in the area could also be toxic to your pet if it is ingested. Even the terrain surrounding a home could be dangerous if there are drop-offs that your pet could slip and fall down.
9. Proximity to Veterinarians
If you have found a home you really love and checks all the boxes for both you and your pet, be sure to check for the nearest veterinarian. While we all hope our pets remain in perfect health, things can happen and you may find yourself in a medical emergency. In these kinds of situations you don’t want to spend time driving to the nearest vet. You will want to have a veterinary clinic or two nearby to help get your pet back to health.
10. Proximity to Kennels and Daycares
Along with checking your potential home’s proximity to a veterinary clinic,you’ll also want to check its proximity to kennel facilities for when you are out of town. This is helpful in the event that you can’t find someone to watch your pet while you are out of town. If you work at the office during the day and don’t want to leave your pet at home alone, look into local doggy daycares in the area too. Having these near your home will save you time and money in the long run.
Buying a home as a pet owner isn’t complicated, it just requires a bit of extra consideration. Before looking at homes, tell your real estate agent about your pets and their needs. A good agent will be able to prioritize those features and find you a pet-friendly home that the whole family will love.