When house hunting there are so many things going through our minds – prices, points, percentages, realtor fees, taxes – it’s amazing anyone actually goes through the process. With all the things we HAVE TO remember, it’s easy to forget about the dog. However, keeping your dog in mind while shopping for your next home is a good idea, for several reasons.
It’s Not Crazy, It’s Smart
While your friends may think you are crazy for having criteria based on your dog, there are some good and smart reasons realtors often tell potential home owners to keep their pets in mind while looking.
Why? Because if you don’t, you may end up spending money for a place where your pets are not welcome or that is dangerous.
Barking. If your dogs are barkers, how close are the neighbors? Do they all have dogs too (and do you hear barking when you look at the house) or are you going to be labeled as the noisy neighbor with unruly dogs?
Limitations. HOA’s, condos, townhouses, apartments all usually have their own limitations on top of the city or county. Make sure you (and your dog) can live with the stipulations. Don’t just think about the present, either. If your dream is to have seven dogs, breed, or get a giant Newfoundland, make sure they will be welcome when the time comes.
Allyona Sevanesian, a Beverly Hills Realtor with InSite Properties, tells her clients to keep these tips in mind while looking:
A backyard with a lawn, or an area where you can eventually put a lawn. One of the benefits of owning a house is that your dog can roam free in the backyard and do their thing. Dogs are miserable on concrete, especially in the summer. Even the smallest patch of green will keep Fido happy.
Make sure the backyard has a fence and it is secure. You don’t want Fido getting out into the street, or into your new neighbor’s yard. Brick enclosures are best. Make sure wood fences are secure and that your dog can’t dig and get underneath it. Sometimes gated fences have just enough room for your dog to wiggle through.
Is it a dog-friendly neighborhood? Take a drive around the area, either before most people go to work or when they get home. If you see people out walking their dogs, score! A neighborhood that welcomes your pet means they may be more tolerant to Fido’s late night barking, or howling during the 4th of July.
Holly Baird, IIDA, LEED AP+ID&C, is a registered Interior Designer who reminds her clients about SAFETY when looking for a new home or to remodel.
“A house hunter would also want to pay attention to stairs, balconies, and railings to make sure there are no open risers, or railings were a pet could fall through or injury themselves,” says Baird.
All About The Pets
Past basic livability, there are those that move or look for a new house FOR their dogs. In these cases, each individual family is going to have their own specific wants and needs that may even be the opposite of what another dog owner would want.
For example, Cameron Postelwait, Director of Marketing at Sewell Direct, just bought a house based on her two dogs’ needs.
“One major consideration was carpet. We needed carpet in places where my dog couldn’t afford to slip around – she hates hardwood floors, even with nails that are filed down – so carpeted stairs were a must,” says Postelwait.
On the other hand, Sevanesian’s clients usually want hard floor, such as tile or wood, because it’s easier to clean-up after their dogs’ messes.
KC Brants, a Redfin real estate agent, had a client with just one stipulation in mind.
“This one client specifically wanted a home that had a deck with a sloped yard so he could throw the ball off the deck and tire out his dog, running up and down the hill,” says Brants. “We found him the perfect home and he bought it!”
Grant Muller, Realtor and Owner at Spaces Real Estate in Colorado, had a client with three show dogs. She was living in a townhouse, but wanted to move to find a home for her kids.
“We needed to find a house with a yard for them to play in a place with room to set up her agility practice courses, and a separate room to be used as a grooming room that is near a bathtub,” says Muller. Gillian, Ian, and Kali found their perfect home and are now living the high life thanks to a dog-savvy realtor and a dedicated owner!
Regardless of what your pets may need, do not settle! Take your time, find a realtor that is understanding of your dog devotion and willing to work to find you the perfect place.
About the Author
Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.
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