Home buyers with dogs, whether they are looking for a condo or a house with a yard, often place a high priority on their pets’ happiness. Some communities have become more pet-friendly than they had been by developing dog parks where canines can run free. Condominiums and apartments are also catering to the needs of pet owners.
If you’re looking for a single-family house, your focus is most likely to be on finding a place with a fenced yard. Don’t assume you can add a fence. You may need to get the approval of an architectural review board and get permits. It’s important to get that information before you sign a contract.
Most homeowner associations and condo associations, even if they are pet-friendly, have pet regulations, some to do with the number of dogs and some have restrictions on the size or breed of the dog. It’s essential to ask your agent to get that information for you ahead of time or be sure or your Realtor put language in the contract to address questions regarding your pet and leave you an 'out' if there's not a good solution for you. But it’s better to know about it before you get that far into the contract. Sometimes you’ll need to pay a special fee for having a pet or need to make a special request for your pet to be approved. That, too, is something it’s best to know about before you make an offer on a home or condo.
Tips for dog owners who are buying a home:
- Know the policies in the jurisdiction and homeowners or condo association to be sure you can comply.
- Look for a neighborhood where many residents have dogs — they’ll be more accepting of your pet.
- Look for a neighborhood with pet-friendly retailers and restaurants.
- Look for the closest dog parks.
- Check out doggy day-care options in the area if you’ll need them.
- If you opt for a high-rise, know where you can walk your dog and whether your dog is comfortable in elevators.
- If you can’t find a yard with a fence, find out how much it will cost and whether you are allowed to build one.
- Be careful to check out the stairs if your dog has trouble climbing them.
In a future Blog, I will discuss selling your home if you have pets because there’s a lot to be aware of there too! I have to sign off now because there are two little doggie eyes begging to go to the dog park! If you are looking to buy a home in Sarasota, Florida and you have a dog, call me and we can find a dream home for you...and your furbaby!