Pet Friendly House

What a Pet Lover’s Needs to Consider before Buying A Home

Picture of a couple and their cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

If you are a pet owner looking to purchase a new home, there are more variables you need to consider than the average home buyer. After all, your favorite furry companions have some needs from their new home as well, and you want to make certain the new place you select is the ideal fit for all of your family; canine, feline, and human alike.

Many pet-loving families fail to consider that not all neighborhoods are as open to pets as others. Some neighbors are far less tolerant of noise, and some cities place restrictions on the number of pets you can own and which types, including breeds, are acceptable. Also important to consider is what will happen to your pet if he or she happens to jump a fence and is discovered by Animal Control. Since by-laws differ from city to city and state to state, it’s critical that you learn all of the ins and outs of pet ownership in the area you are looking at as a potential home. It can be difficult to back out of a sale when you discover the neighborhood is not as pet-friendly as you had originally thought, and you’ve already signed on the dotted line.

Important Things To Consider In a New Pet Friendly Home

If you’ve lived with pets for any amount of time, you already have in mind a list of the “must-haves” on your checklist of items for your new home. After all, certain conveniences can make or break a living space for a family with pets. You want your home to be comfortable for every family member, and that includes Fido and Frisky too. While certain amenities such as a decent-sized yard with a grass area are an obvious “must,” other important things can easily get overlooked when overwhelmed during the new house selection process.

With this in mind, here is a list of 6 things all potential home buyers with pets must consider before purchasing a new home: 

Does your new home have a lot of stairs?
Multi-leveled homes don’t seem like much of a problem when first purchased. After all, everyone in the family is young and healthy and can easily tackle a few stairs. But it’s important to bear in mind that your pets will age much more quickly than you will. The stairs they can handle well today may pose a great problem for them in the not too distant future. While a few stairs may be fine, it is important to consider a home that has a layout that allows your pet to easily navigate your home, and in particular his sleeping and bathroom areas, not only now but also when he is aged and unable to be as mobile as he would like. Taking the time to consider this now can prevent accidents in the future. While the occasional pee or poop in the house from a pet who simply can’t get up and down stairs any more is not a huge problem, a fall down a flight of stairs that leads to a shattered hip or broken neck could lead to tragedy.

Is the layout amenable to the age, number, and type of pets you have?
When considering a purchase as substantial as a new home, it is important to think about whether or not the layout of the home will work for every  member of the family. If you like your pets to sleep in the same room as you in dog beds or in their crates, it’s important to assess if indeed the bedroom is large enough to accommodate all the necessary furniture for your dogs to be able to sleep there comfortably.

As you survey a potential new home, it is helpful to imagine your entire family living in that space. By doing so, you will more easily be able to uncover areas that might pose problems for a family with pets.

Is the neighborhood conducive to dog walking?
If you own a dog, you are going to want to be able to walk him in his own neighborhood. In order to do so, you’re going to need to determine if indeed this new area is pet friendly. Many neighborhoods allow pets to roam freely. If you are the owner of intact animals, this could pose a great problem; particularly if you own an intact female who will come into season twice yearly. If you happen to own a dog who does not appreciate being greeted by loose dogs, a walk in a neighborhood with a penchant for loose pets will be very stressful for Fido, taking away from him a special part of his day that allows him to bond with you.

Of even more concern is if the dogs who roam your streets are aggressive and even potentially dangerous. Though the dogs may not hurt you or your family, they may decide that charging your beloved dog is a good idea, leaving you in the position of having to defend your dog.

But it’s not just dog walking you need to consider in selecting a new home. It’s also wise for you to critically assess your neighbors. If you have a neighbor with a dog known for hopping fences and causing mayhem in other people’s yards, you need to determine ahead of time if this is something you and your pets can live with.

What if your neighbor owns an escape artist cat, and you own a breed who is only too happy to chase then kill it, thinking it is prey? Taking the time to think through these scenarios ahead of time will help you avoid any pitfalls that could lead to heartache down the road. 

Will the flooring stand up to every day pet wear and tear?
You’re spending a lot of your hard-earned cash to buy a new house, and the hope is that you will not have to do any major repairs to things like flooring within the first few years. If this is your goal, it is vital that you take a good look at the flooring throughout every area of the house, with particular attention paid to high traffic areas. How will the floors stand up to dirt and dog nails? Does the flooring scratch easily? Is dirt impossible to hide, meaning frequent cleaning will be necessary?

Is the yard fenced?
With pets needing an area to call their own, a fenced in yard is not optional for most families. But not all fences are created equally, and the wise home buyer will take the time to do a thorough inspection of all fencing to ensure that it is suitable for their specific pets. If you have a dog who can climb the highest fence or squeeze his body through even the tightest of spaces, you will need to consider now what needs to be done to reinforce, repair, or replace the fence, and factor that expense into the cost of buying this new home.

What are the area by-laws regarding pet ownership?
Town by-laws differ from city to city and state to state. For this reason, it is important to understand precisely what the rules and regulations are regarding this new neighborhood. What are the by-laws regarding noise, and how tolerant are your potential neighbors to a little bit of barking? Are there specific rules governing which breeds are permitted in your neighborhood? Are muzzles required on certain breeds when out in public? What are the laws regarding loose dogs, and what is the penalty if yours is found then reported to Animal Control? It is far better to find out all of these regulations ahead of time and decide if you can live with them than to buy the home and have no choice but to try to comply with a set of by-laws that just don’t work for you.

Yes, buying your ideal pet-friendly home can be a challenge. But with a little forethought and some advance planning, you can find the perfect spot for Fido and the whole family!

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