Here are the highlights:
- We love our pets. That’s no secret. Currently, 70 percent of homes in the U.S. have pets, and this plays a major part in the homebuying process.
- The total that Americans spend a year on their pets is $1,163. And, almost half of pet owners are willing to move for better pet amenities and accommodations.
- If you have a fur baby — or plan on adding one — now’s the time to connect with a trusted, local loan officer who can help you find a home that meets your pet’s needs within your budget.
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House-hunting with a pet? 6 paw-some tips
Optimize your home search with these pet-friendly pointers:
1. Brainstorm your must-haves.
First, the fun part. Pull out a pad and paper (or electronic tablet) and make a list of exactly what a dream home for pets might look like. Popular features of a pet-friendly home may include a large yard, a dog run, an indoor bathing station, upgraded pet doors, more square footage for multiple pets, a single-story for an aging pet, and even a centralized vacuuming system to clean up fur and debris.
Rank accordingly and stick with your top two or three.
2. Check out the fencing and flooring.
Right off the bat, this is going to tell you if a home is pet-ready, or if it’s going to cost you to get the property in shape. When you tour a house, take note of the type and condition of fencing. (Especially if you have a breed known for its ability to escape.)
Flooring materials should also be accommodating to pets so you don’t risk spending an arm and a leg replacing soiled carpet; materials like waterproof laminate and tile are scratch-resistant and easy to clean.
3. Choose the right agent.
A common regret among homebuying pet lovers? You guessed it: working with a real estate agent who doesn’t prioritize pets. When researching your top picks, scroll through an agent’s social media profiles. See if a pet is featured.
Simple as it sounds, an agent who loves their pup should be able to effortlessly filter listings that scream “pet-approved” — like those with a big backyard or a hidden nook for a cat condo.
4. Look into community features.
Do some digging and ask your agent what lies beyond your property lines. For many homebuyers with pets, a nearby park, trails within walking distance, and local breweries and restaurants that welcome pets may all sweeten the deal. Research if surrounding roads may be congested with traffic, making it difficult, if not impossible, to walk safely.
It’s also a good idea to check into HOA regulations, if they apply, which may have restrictions on types and sizes of pets.
5. Spy on the neighbors.
Depending on the type of pet you have, some light surveillance may be needed. If a neighbor has several barking dogs that might aggravate your sensitive pooch, for example, it may not be the property for you. Likewise, if your dog is on the louder side, it could be smart to search for homes with more space between neighbors.
Walking the neighborhood before moving in is a great way to introduce your dog to its new digs and to see how it reacts to other pets.
6. Widen your search radius, if possible.
Do you have newfound flexibility from working remotely? Use it to your advantage. Expand your search radius to see what you uncover. If you’re tired of walking your dog around city blocks, seek out a suburban home with a yard. If your cats, birds, or other critters are cramped, prioritize square footage in a nearby neighborhood with lower property values.
You might even be ready for a change of scenery and could consider moving to a pet-friendly city with a lower cost of living, like Tampa or Tucson.
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For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.