What to Consider When Searching for Homes as a Pet Owner

Posted by under Ask the Pros

I’m a cat person.

I love their furry little faces and funny little meows and even their weird running around the house for no reason. I don’t love how they (and all pets) can be extreme divas, needing constant care and special purchases. (And don’t get me started on cat hair and allergens in the carpet.)

Essentially, pets are a serious consideration when buying a home. You may think they’ll just fit into whatever set-up you create in your new home, but there are a bunch of things you should look into, for your cat or dog’s sake.

Check condo regulations

As silly as it is, some condo buildings explicitly prohibit pets in the condominium corporation’s declaration and rules. Although rental agreements are different and don’t have much weight, the Condominium Act permits this declaration.

That said, there have been cases taken to court where rulings opposed these declarations, allowing the owner to have pets. However, getting on the bad side of your condo’s board is probably not the best course of action, especially when you’re looking to buy.

Speak with your agent before you begin your search to ensure they’re only showing units that allow pets, to avoid wasted time. And if it hasn’t been explicitly said, ask for the condo’s status certificate, which will detail regulations around pets.

Specific to dogs

If you’re a dog owner, you know that dogs require space to shake off all that excess energy.

In a house, you’ll want easy access to a yard, with a possible doggy-door (because how cute is that). In a condo, you’ll want to Google the nearest doggy parks. Some are even off-leash areas, so a nearby unit could be worth a bit extra to let your pup enjoy the exercise.

If we’re getting really fancy, some condos have public pet spas, so you don’t have to bathe and groom your dog in the tub.

Also, when looking at potential homes, don’t bring your dog with you. Some people think that the dog will let them know if they like a home, but that’s going a bit too far. Some sellers will be put off by the gesture and you don’t want to give them any reason to choose a different buyer.

Specific to cats

Cats can co-exist with you in a much smaller space than dogs, but that’s not to say they don’t need room.

Likely most importantly, make sure the new home has a place for the litterbox. Even a covered box has a strong odour, and some small condos have very few options to hide the sandbox.

Also, because cats shed a lot more than dogs, wall-to-wall carpeting could be a big problem. While you may vacuum often and not know the difference, visitors with allergies will be more prone to sneeze attacks with dander and allergens caught in carpet fibres. Carpets also trap odours, which could affect your resale down the road.

Lastly, cats prefer accessible windows with ledges, so some smaller or atypical condos won’t be the best place for your feline friend.

Your neighbours and neighbourhood

Speak with the neighbours before you make a decision. If you live next to a dog hater, that could sour your relationship from day one. Even if they love dogs and have one of your own, that dog could bark and trigger your dog to bark and then all the dogs are just barking all the time and no one wants that, right?

Determine the attitude of your other neighbours, too. Are there dogs running wild in the on-leash section of the park, while the owner pays no attention? Are there cats with collars outdoors? Do your pet values coincide with this?

Last thing to look for: proximity to any businesses that you’re going to need on a regular basis, which includes the vet, groomer, and even the grocery store.

While I’m not saying let your pet dictate your home choice, considering all of the above will likely save you from frustration, for you and your pet, in the future.

Flickr: anaa yoo

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