House Hunting Gone to the Dogs

Mid-February each year thousands will flock to New York City’s Madison Square Garden to witness one of the oldest sporting events in the history of the U.S.  The participants have been preparing for months, if not years.  For some, this has been their lifelong mission since birth.  They’ve swum laps, run miles, practiced their moves and, in some cases, have even gotten a last minute blow out and hair and nails done up.  Heck, a couple have probably even gotten new collars just for this day…

Yes, folks, we’re talking dogs, and the revered Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to be exact.  If you’re not in NYC this cold and blustery time of year, then you’ll have to settle for watching the proceedings online or on the T.V.  In the meantime, now seems like the perfect opportunity to talk Fido-awareness when it comes to the homebuying process.  If you have a dog that you think is more sociable than most of your friends, always half way expect rover to reply back when you ask “who’s a good boy” or have been known to flip a U-turn on one way streets for the chance to pet the super cute pooch that’s walking by on the other side, read on.  We have tips, tricks and handy things to keep in mind when choosing a home that will accommodate the two and four legged members of your pet loving family.

Let’s Talk Yardage

When it comes to things to consider when purchasing a home as a dog owner, the yard and overall exterior condition of the house may be the most important.  Not only will an appropriately sized yard make your pooch’s day, a fenced back yard also means those early morning or late night potty/let’s-chase-the-neighborhood-nocturnal-animals sessions are just a little less of a hassle for you and Fido.  If you’re looking at a multi-family unit, condo or townhome, be sure to note whether there’s any accessible grass or other appropriate areas nearby.

How About Them Floors

Moving into the interior of the home, flooring may be the number one consideration when it comes to dog and human comfortability in a new house.  Carpet can be difficult to maintain and keep clean if your canine buddy likes long, muddy romps through the neighborhood.  Soft floor coverings are also difficult to replace if you have a young puppy who hasn’t quite gotten the hang of the housetraining thing yet.

On the other hand, some wood floors can be too soft to handle the wear from dog nails and certain types of slick finishes can mean disaster for active pets who haven’t gotten the memo re running in the house.  In most cases, flooring is an interchangeable aspect of any home, but the cost of ripping out carpet, relaying hardwood or refinishing to a less slick coating can add up quickly and should be taken into consideration when looking at the total purchase price of any potential new home.

Don’t forget the Doggone Neighborhood

If you’re an enthusiastic dog lover, you should also take a look beyond the boundaries of your own property for any extra bonus features, or potential pitfalls, of your new neighborhood.  Do the neighbors have fenced yards and/or pets already?  Are there local resources for like-minded dog lovers and their four-legged friends such as dog parks and nearby pet stores, doggie daycares and grooming salons?  A quick trip to your new potential city hall can help educate your family on any city specific ordinances regarding dog ownership.  If you’re moving into a condo, townhome or planned community don’t forget to check for HOA provisions that might put limitations on dog ownership (think size, weight or breed) or have other limitations on potty walks or off-leash time, just to name a few.

Let Your Realtor Help

Finally, when it comes to finding that home that fits the needs of your entire family don’t discount the services of a qualified real estate agent.  When working with a realtor or other home sale professional you should be sure to mention whether you have a dog or plan on getting a dog and provide a list of concerns or needs you have in that regard.  While realtors tend to be over-inclusive in order to provide their clients with the largest amount of options, they’ll be able to point out features of specific properties that are a better, or worse, fit for you and your pet.

Whether you’re just starting out on your journey to home ownership or have already started looking, it’s never too late to put together a wish list of items that are must-haves to make the human and canine members of your family feel at home in your potential new house.



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