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Finding a new house to buy can be challenging for anyone, but pet owners often have additional hoops to jump through. Not only must you find a house that suits your lifestyle and falls within your budget, but you also need a home that can accommodate your dog — a nice yard, tough floors and even a pet-friendly neighborhood.
So, what can you do to ensure your house-hunting project results in a win for you and your furry family? Here are a few tips on how you can ensure your family and pets are a priority in the home search.
Get an agent who understands your pets
Be sure to hire a pet-friendly real estate agent who truly understands and respects the kind of pet owner you are. Be sure they are up-to-date on your city and county pet ordinances, as well as the regulations for homeowners associations in the neighborhoods you’re hunting in. It’s important that your agent know which neighborhoods are good for pets so that you aren’t searching in areas that would only waste your time or lead to disappointment.
You’ll also want an agent who knows if the houses you’re looking at had previous pet owners. It may not seem like an important matter, but if the house and the pets weren’t well cared for, you could be purchasing a flea trap or worse.
Know your needs and wants — now and in the future
You know what your pets need now, but are you planning for the future? Will you bring home new pets eventually? If your dog is a breed that might suffer from hip dysplasia, you may want to consider a one-story house or one that doesn’t have many stairs to the front and back door.
If you plan on getting more than one dog — or currently have several — you may want to have open spaces where they can play, both inside and outside. Slick hardwood floors might hinder play, and your pup’s paws might also give it extra wear and tear. Also consider how far away your new home is from work, in case you want to come home for lunchtime bathroom breaks.
Speaking of bathroom breaks, you may notice your dog reverting to puppy behaviors — like indoor accidents — when you move into a new space. For that reason, you should spend some time and be strategic about introducing your dog to your new home. Remember, consistency is key.
You’re buying more than a house — you’re buying into a neighborhood
Tour your potential new neighborhood to see if people are walking their dogs. Explore nearby shops and restaurants to see how many are pet-friendly. You can make your new place a home for your pet, but your new neighborhood is a different story. If you enjoy walking your dog, you’ll likely want an area with nice, clean sidewalks or a park with an off-leash area.
While you don’t necessarily need a big backyard, think about how Fido will feel all cooped up during the winter months when those nice long walks are no longer an option. A big backyard gives them plenty of room to run and play year-round.
Purchasing a new home comes with its own stressors, but when you add a pet into the mix, you can find a lot more to worry about. You’re a good pet owner; you want to find a home that your dog can thrive in, so keeping these tips in mind when you’re on the search will help the process go much more smoothly for you and your four-legged family members.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cindy is a freelance writer and dog lover. She started Ourdogfriends.org as a fun side project for herself and to educate pet owners and potential pet owners about how dogs can enrich our lives. She enjoys writing about dogs and pet ownership.