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A Pet Lover's Guide To Buying A Home

a pet lover's guide to buying a home

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Published date:

February 18, 2022

Last updated date:

February 18, 2022

By Manny Manriquez

If you have dogs, cats, or other species of pets in your household, you’ll want to consider their needs as well as yours when you move home. In this guide, we take a look at what pet lovers need to consider when buying a new home so that everyone in your family, including your furry friends, will be happy!

What Are the Local Pet Laws?

Did you know that every state has specific laws and regulations regarding pets? That includes individual counties, towns, and even neighborhoods. So, to be sure of staying on the right side of the law (and your neighbors), you’ll need to read up on those rules before you commit to purchasing a property. Often, those laws include rules surrounding leash requirements, vaccinations, different pet species, and breeds. You’ll find that’s especially the case in many communities and condos that have a homeowners’ association (HOA). For example, in some rented apartments, you might find that only cats or small dogs under a certain weight are permitted in the upper floors. That’s clearly going to be a problem if you own a German Shepherd! Even if you’re the property owner or your build your own home on a plot, there’s no guarantee that your pets will be welcome. For example, if you own more than one dog, you might require a kennel license to keep them in your new home.

Things To Bear in Mind

Here are just a few of the things pet owners need to bear in mind when buying a new home:
  • Some condos or Home Owner’s Associations place restrictions on the number, species, or breed of pet you’re permitted to keep. Many also demand that dogs must always be kept on a leash when using common areas. Even visitors to your new home might not be allowed to bring their dogs with them, so do be sure to check.
  • Don’t assume that dogs are permitted in condo developments. Often, there’s a limit on how many dogs is allowed per unit or even per floor of the building. For example, sometimes, dogs are only permitted in the end units or on the first floor.
  • If you own a dog that you know is a serial barker and you’re out at work leaving Fido home alone during the day, check to see if the city or HOA enforces any noise ordinances. Even if they don’t, a dog that yaps and barks all day isn’t going to make you popular with your neighbors!
It’s crucial that you bear all those points in mind and check the situation before you commit to taking on a home. Some pet owners have been forced to either rehome their beloved pets or move home again simply because they failed to research their new property fully.

Is The Neighborhood Pet-Friendly?

Some neighborhoods are more pet-friendly than others, so you’ll need to spend time scoping out potential areas before committing to any property there. If you’re a dog owner, you’ll want to consider relocating to an area with parks, sidewalks, and perhaps a well-maintained dog park where you can safely exercise your pup. However, a place with busy streets is not ideal, especially if you have a Houdini hound that has a penchant for roaming. It’s also handy if you live somewhere with at least one veterinary clinic and dog groomer’s salon to consider and a decent pet supplies store within easy reach.

Is The Neighborhood Safe for Cats To Roam?

While dog owners need somewhere with safe sidewalks, parks, and trails where they can exercise their pets, cat owners have other considerations to bear in mind. Unless you have a house cat that spends all his time indoors, you’ll most likely have a kitty that enjoys taking a walk on the wild side. If your new home is close to a busy road or highway, that’s a huge danger for a cat in a strange area. A quiet cul-de-sac or an area with well-lit, quiet streets is much better for cats. If you live next door to people who hate your pets, that’s likely to land you in a world of pain. So, ask your prospective new neighbors if they like cats. Some people don’t, and your neighbors might not appreciate the noise of a cat fight outside their window at 3 am or discovering that Tibbles has used the herbaceous borders as a litter box! You also need to consider what’s around in the way of local wildlife. In some locations, being close to a green space means foxes and coyotes, which can present a danger to your cats, small dogs, rabbits, and other small furries.

Is The Yard Well-Fenced?

Owning a property with a yard where your pets can play and roam is fantastic for you and your furry friends. However, if the yard doesn’t have a secure fence, you’ll need to build one to keep your animals in and the local critters out. Be sure to check the condo covenants or HOA on the rules and regulations regarding making alterations to your property. Some covenants restrict the materials you can use for outdoor dog runs and kennels, while some only permit underground electric fencing. Some areas do not even permit dogs to run free in a yard, so be sure to check before you proceed with your purchase.

Is The Outdoor Space Pet-Safe?

In addition to safe, secure fencing, you’ll need to be sure that the outdoor space on offer is safe for your pets. Take notes of possible risk factors, such as garden ponds, toxic plants, and holes underneath the fence. Ask your near neighbors if they have pets and confirm that those animals won’t present a potential danger to your furry friends. If the garden has a lot of lawn, bear in mind that a rampaging dog’s claws can quickly rip up the grass, leaving you with a muddy patch instead of a verdant green space. Ideally, you want a paved or gravel area that your dog can use without causing damage. Female dogs’ urine scorches grass, which is another consideration if you have a lady pooch.

Interior Features

The inside of your home is just as important as the outside when it comes to choosing somewhere that’s suitable for your pets.


As you’re exploring your potential new pad, take note of the flooring. Hardwood, laminate, luxury vinyl, or tiled flooring are much more user-friendly if you have pets than carpets throughout. Solid hardwood can be refinished when it gets scratched. Ideally, very light or very dark wood is the best choice, and you should triple-seal it with high-grade polyurethane. Generally, oil-based poly is best for dark floors and water-based poly for light floors. If you plan on installing new flooring, distressed or reclaimed wood is a good bet since any scratches left by your pet simply add more patina to the floor. Ideally, you want to avoid a property that has wall-to-wall carpets. Carpets sustain damage from cats’ claws and quickly become ingrained with mud and dirt tracked in by dogs. Potty accidents cause odors and stains that can be tough to shift, and carpet quickly collects pet hair. If you want something warmer and softer underfoot, try adding rugs to your home that can be replaced or cleaned when necessary.


You also need to be sure that there’s plenty of space to accommodate your pets. For example, litter boxes, climbing and scratching posts, and dog crates all take up quite a bit of space. So, make sure that there’s plenty of sleeping space for your Labradoodle and other pets. If the current property owner has pets, you might get lucky and discover a few pet-approved features, such as cat doors and built-in feeding stations. It’s amazing just how much space a large dog’s kit can take up, and if you have a multi-pet household, space can soon be at a premium.

Consider Your Pets’ Changing Needs

Many pet owners forget that their energetic, happy-go-lucky dog will age, and his needs will change. If you’re considering buying a multi-level home, remember to take into account whether your pets can cope easily with stairs. For example, senior or arthritic dogs can struggle to negotiate stairs or a closed-in floor plan. Dogs with short legs and long backs can be injured or develop chronic back problems if they’re required to constantly negotiate flights of stairs. Ideally, you want a place with carpet runners on the stairs or be prepared to install one.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a pet owner who’s looking to move home, there are lots of important considerations to bear in mind. Check state and local laws to find out what pets are permitted in the neighborhood you’re considering. If you’re looking at condos or rental properties, check with the landlord or HOA concerned that it’s okay to keep pets in the property you’re looking at. Make sure that the local area is suitable and safe for your pets and that the home’s outside space can accommodate your furry friends without annoying your new neighbors. Remember that the interior of the property must also be suitable for your animals, especially from the perspective of available space and flooring types.

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