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Your pet is as much a part of your family as you are, so it’s only natural that you should want to buy a home that has pet-friendly features.

If you’re a first-time home buyer, this could be the first time that you’ve taken your pet into consideration when choosing a place to live. Knowing what to look for can help you make a decision that will make you and your pet happy for years to come. 

Check the Condition of the Fences

Fences play a big role in pet happiness and safety. A good fence will allow your pet to spend time wandering freely around your yard without concern of getting lost, chasing cars and so on.

A fence can be surprisingly expensive, costing an average of around $1,500 to $3,700 to install.

If you’re concerned that you’ll be unable to pay for a fence to be installed after the expense of purchasing and moving into a house, then you’ll want to look for a home with an already fenced-in yard.

Check the condition of the fence at each house you visit. When looking at a fence, check to ensure that the yard is fully enclosed and that the fence is in good repair.

 

Examine the Windows

Windows without screens can be safety hazard, particularly for cats.

Check that all of the windows, or at least the majority of the windows, have screens that are in good condition. Look for holes in the screens and windows with missing screens.

If you’re thinking about buying a home without screens in the windows, have screens priced by a contractor, or discuss the possibility of the owner installing screens themselves.

Consult with the HOA

Homeowners associations can put a limit on the number of pets, type of pets and the size of pets that members of their association are allowed to keep.

Before buying a home in a neighborhood with an HOA, check with the HOA to find out what their policy is on pets. Be sure to carefully review the CCRs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions) that will be available in any HOA.  

Tour the Neighborhood

It’s not enough to buy a home with pet-friendly features. It’s also important to consider the features in the neighborhood where the house is located. It can be easy for first-time buyers to become infatuated with a great home that just happens to be in an area that doesn't fit their needs.

  • Sidewalks: If you take your pet for walks, a wide sidewalk that is in good condition will be an important feature for your pet. Take a walk around the neighborhood to ensure that there is space for you and your pet to walk safely.

  • Pet-friendly services: A neighborhood veterinarian can be a big bonus, especially if you enjoy taking your pet for walks to the vet. While you may not specifically look for a home in a neighborhood with a veterinary clinic, if you happen to find a home with a vet clinic, such a feature may push that property higher on the priority list.

  • Other animals: Rowdy neighborhood dogs, a plethora of stray cats, and other critters can be distracting for pets, and could even become a hazard for them – and everyone wants to keep their pets safe. As you’re taking a tour around the neighborhood, look for other animals in the area that could impact your life with your pet.

  • Pet-friendly parks and trails: Nearby pet-friendly parks and trails are a big bonus for dogs that enjoy going for walks and spending time outdoors. 

  • Traffic: Heavy traffic can be a problem for pets that spend time outside or live outside. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, then ideally the home you buy will be located on a quiet street where your pet can stay safe.

Work With Your Real Estate Agent[

Your real estate agent can help you find a pet-friendly house in the community of your choice. If you've found a home you're thinking about buying, your real estate agent may be able to point out pet-friendly features that could help you make a final decision. Work closely with your real estate agent to find the right home for your needs.

 About the Author

Gary Ashton is the CEO and owner of The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage. His real estate team is #1 in Tennessee, Nashville and now #4 in the world.

 

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