Here are six tips you need to remember if you own a pet while buying a home:

1. Be aware of the local pet laws in the area. Even if you own a piece of property, it’s not guaranteed that your pet will be welcome there. Depending on the number and the breed, there can be restrictions with an HOA, a condo development, or even the city or state at large. Some HOAs or condo developments restrict the number or the type of pets you can have. They might also spell out how your pet must be restrained in common areas.

In condo developments, there is often a limit on the number of dogs allowed per unit or floor. It’s important not to assume that dogs are allowed just because you saw one during your home tour. Sometimes, they’re only allowed on the first floor. If you have a breed that tends to bark a lot, find out if your HOA or city enforces any noise ordinances.

2. Determine whether your pet needs a large yard or needs to be fenced in. Having a yard where your pets can roam is amazing, but keep in mind that if you want to keep your pets in and other critters out, you need a fence. If your property doesn’t have a fence, you might need to build one. Again, check with your HOA or condo covenants.

3. Check if the surrounding area is good for pets to roam. With dogs, finding a location that’s good to walk is key. That might mean being close to a park, a dog run, a trail, or some other green space. Even if your pup doesn’t mind the commute, think about the sidewalk situation for everyday bathroom walks. Ultimately, you want to find a place where you’re happy to walk every day.

“Some HOAs or condo developments restrict the number or the type of pets you can have.”

4. Make sure the house has pet-friendly floors. Pet-friendly flooring is a big issue. Flooring expert Debbie Gartner recommends solid hardwood floors since they can be refinished. She also suggests looking for a very dark or light wood. When you find the kind you like, make sure you triple-seal it with a high-grade polyurethane. For light floors, you want to use a water-based polyurethane. For dark floors, you want to use an oil-based polyurethane.

If you’re putting in new floors anyway, consider reclaimed or distressed wood so the scratches add more character. If you don’t like those options, you can use poured concrete, tile, luxury vinyl, and even laminate.

5. Make sure the house has a pet-friendly floor plan. Consider the size and layout of the home based on the size and number of pets you own. You’ll be pretty sick of your house in a very short time if you’re always tripping over your animals. Is the space big enough for your breed of dog? Is there enough for a cozy dog bed or cat tree? These are questions you need to ask yourself, because if you’re downsizing, you need to take into account how a tighter space will stress you and your pet out.

6. Ask yourself if your pet can handle the stairs. If you’re looking for a multi-level home, consider whether your animals will be okay with all of those stairs. As animals get older, they get joint problems that make it difficult for them to handle stairs—just like their owners. If you do choose a multi-level home, look for a place that has a carpet runner on the stairs or be ready to install one. It’s actually the No. 1 requested item for people with animals.

If you have any questions about this topic or you’re thinking of buying, selling, or investing in a home, call or email me today for a consultation. I look forward to talking to you very soon.