Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What to Know When Shopping for a Pet-Friendly Home

We love them, play with them and miss them when we’re away, but we don’t always consider them when shopping for a new home.

Our pets are members of our family and deserve to be part of the discussion when deciding which house is the perfect fit. So before you buy, here are some things to consider:

1. Local Animal Laws/HOA and Apartment Rules

While animal laws are fairly standard across the US, you should be aware of the specifics of the state to which you are considering moving, such as leash laws. According to the State Bar Association, there is no statewide leash law in New York, but almost all municipalities have adopted their own leash laws.

If you are considering moving to a single-family home in a neighborhood with a Home Owners Association, you should consult the HOA about any pet rules and regulations. Apartment complexes or condos typically have weight limits or restrictions on the types of pets they will allow, as well as an additional deposit.

2. Home Layout

Kitchen and bathroom layouts are important, but there are questions you should ask when shopping for a pet-friendly home.

Are the floors carpeted or hardwood? Hardwood can scratch easily, but carpet can lock in smells and hurt the resale value of the home. If it does have carpet, is it a color that will show fur easily? Black fur will stand out on light carpet.
Does the home have stairs? Going up and down may be difficult for older or smaller pets.

Do the windows have screens? Many cats suffer injuries from falling from high places.

Is there an area by the door that can be used to clean off dirt and mud before your pet enters living areas? It’s a bonus if the entrance has somewhere to hang towels and leashes.

3. A Safe Yard

If your pet is going to spend the majority of its time outside, the first thing you should check is the amount of space your furry friend will have to move around. If not, check for a pet park in your area so that your pet can get some exercise and socialize. You should also inspect the fence to make sure it is in good repair so your dog can not easily escape. It’s also important to be aware of what plants are toxic to pets and make sure they are not on the property.

If you have any concerns, find a neighbor with a pet and ask them about the area. It’s a good way to get candid information and make a new friend!