Buying a house is a major commitment. You have to consider each person within your household. And if you have pets, you have to think about them as well. How will different homes and properties fit their needs? Which factors are most important? Can you find a place that makes everyone happy? These are questions you should ask yourself early and often.
6 Pet-Friendly Factors to Consider
You know what you want in a house, but what about your dog or cat? Here are some of the biggest factors to work through:
- The Yard
Let’s start with the part that your pet cares most about: the yard. And as with most items on this list, there are a few factors to consider:
- How big is the yard? Do you have backyard space and front yard space? Is there enough room for your pet to run and roam?
- Is the yard useable? In other words, is it flat and grassy, or steep and treacherous? Is there a creek/pond on the property? Carefully consider the ramifications of every element present.
- Think about the features you need and whether they’re already present/can be built or installed. This includes things like fences, covered areas, decks, etc.
The larger and more active your pet is, the more the yard becomes an issue. If you have a smaller pet who only uses the yard for taking care of business, this is less of a concern.
- Neighborhood Features
While your pet will spend most of its time on your property, it’s helpful if you have a neighborhood that’s pet-friendly. Whether it’s sidewalks, walking trails, open fields, or bark parks, the more your neighborhood caters to pets, the more you’ll feel at home. (On a practical note, you’ll also find it easier to make friends when there are communal areas to walk and play with your pets.)
- Neighborhood HOA
If you’re moving into a neighborhood, inquire about HOA rules to make sure there aren’t any restrictive laws on pets. If you’re moving within the city limits, there may be local pet owner requirements.
“For any potential home purchase, familiarize yourself with city and county ordinances that are in place for health and safety reasons,” Realtor.com mentions. “Often, they require you to obey leash laws and clean up after your pet in public places. Noncompliance can result in a fine.”
These are things you definitely want to research ahead of time. A failure to do so could result in serious consequences and an unhappy experience for all parties involved.
- The Floor Plan/Layout
Depending on the type of pets you have and how big they are, the floor plan and/or layout of the house could be an important factor. Consider questions like:
- Can your dogs easily climb stairs?
- Do you want to keep everyone on the same level?
- Is there easy access to the backyard?
- Is there a place to install a doggy door?
Little details can make a huge difference in your satisfaction with a house. Think through every aspect when purchasing a new property.
- The Finishes
When buying a house, think about the finishes inside the home. Having the right materials will mean less work for you. Be especially cognizant of flooring.
“Carpet isn’t the best choice for pet owners, but if you must go wall-to-wall, choose a color that matches your pet (it’ll mask pet hair) with a performance rating of 3.5 or higher,” This Old House points out. “For lightweight dogs, hardwood with adequate urethane finish is a common and easy-clean choice. For heavier dogs, ceramic tile or another nonporous hard surface flooring would be best.”
Think about how close the house is to amenities that you and your pet frequent together. Whether it’s a specific veterinarian, a dog park, or a pet daycare, it’s nice when you have certain facilities and services nearby.
Moving With Your Pet
Once you’ve found the right house to buy, it’s time to move. And depending on how close/far the new house is, moving day is something you’ll want to carefully consider. Here are some tips for success:
- Prepare your pet. While you can’t sit down and have a conversation with your pet, you can prepare it for the move by planning ahead. Dogs, for example, will benefit from going on a walk in your new neighborhood prior to moving in. This gives it the opportunity to get familiar with the surroundings. If you have a cat, practice putting it in your moving day pet carrier for a few minutes each day.
- Carve out plenty of time. Don’t rush your move. If you have pets with you, you’ll want to prepare for multiple stops along the way. If your dog or cat is anxious, taking the time to stop and walk/play will help ease nerves.
- Allow your pet to adjust. Don’t expect your pet to automatically take to its new surroundings. While many do, others can take a few days to settle in. Give your pet some extra attention throughout the first week.
“Just like people, every pet is unique and has a personality all their own. Because you know your pet better than anyone, you can probably predict how smoothly the transition will go,” Purina explains. “If you know that your pet is extremely skittish, talk to your veterinarian well beforehand about your concerns. He or she can recommend medication to help sedate your pet during this stressful time, if it’s absolutely necessary.”
Depending on your pet’s personality and how often they’ve been forced to deal with change in the past, a move could be simple or stressful. The more you prepare ahead of time, the less challenging it’ll be for everyone involved.
Buy Your Next Houston Home With Green Residential
At Green Residential, we believe in helping our clients buy homes that are right for the entire family – four-legged furry friends included! And whether you’re looking for a property in downtown Houston, Katy, or The Woodlands, we can help find the ideal home for your needs. Please contact us today to find out more!