Author: Cindy Aldridge OurDogFriends.org
You’ve found a real estate agent who gets you, you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, and you’ve got your list of must-haves in hand. You’re ready to start searching for your dream home! Or are you? If you have a dog, you need to take your pet’s needs into consideration, too.
Buying a home with pet-friendly features doesn’t just make your dog’s life better. It also adds convenience to everyday pet care, so you can spend less time cleaning messes and more time enjoying life.
Here are a few features to look for in a dog-friendly home:
- A fenced yard: Your dog has to go to the bathroom three to five times a day. If you don’t have a fenced yard, he’ll have to do his business on a leash and under your supervision. While some dog owners opt for a tie-out, it only takes a few moments for your dog to get tangled and strangulate or pull the stake out of the ground and take off running. And if your yard is open, a loose dog or other animal could enter your yard and start a fight while your dog is unable to defend himself. For convenience and safety, a securely fenced yard is a must.
- Tough flooring: Between muddy paws, sharp nails, and accidents, dogs can do a number on your flooring. Look for homes with flooring that resists damage, like tile, stone, luxury vinyl, or other suggestions from FloorCritics.com. If carpet is a must, consider carpet tiles so you can replace damaged areas without replacing the entire carpet.
- A pet nook: If you’ve ever had to chase a muddy dog through the house, you understand the value of a dedicated pet nook. It’s important to have a room you can corral your dog in for cleaning up after outdoor play, feeding meals, and simply keeping him out of the way when needed. It doesn’t need to be fancy; a mudroom or laundry room near an entrance is plenty to keep your dog’s messes contained.
- A large bathtub or shower: Unless you pay a groomer to bathe your dog or patronize a self-serve dog spa, you need somewhere to give your pooch a bath. Replacing a shower or tub is costly, so it’s in your best interest to buy a home that’s already equipped with a suitable shower or tub.
As you look for the right house for you and your dog, be sure to consider features beyond the home itself. The neighborhood you live in also has a big impact on your quality of life. Seek out neighborhoods with these amenities:
- Sidewalks: Wide, well-maintained, and continuous sidewalks make daily walks safe and convenient for you and your pet.
- Low traffic: An escapee dog is every owner’s worst nightmare, but living in a low-traffic neighborhood minimizes the risk to your pup’s safety. The Global Designing Cities Initiative identifies low speed limits, safe crossings, and high-visibility intersections as essential features of safe streets.
- Parks: The closer a park is, the more likely you are to use it. If your dog likes to socialize, seek out neighborhoods within a 10-minute drive or walk to an off-leash dog park.
- Pet services: While not strictly a necessity, having a pet store, veterinarian, groomer, and other pet services nearby makes dog ownership more convenient.
The median listing price for a home in Austin, Texas, is $425,000. When you’re making an investment like that, you deserve to get a home that suits your whole family, dogs included. And the best way to do that? Working with a real estate agent who knows the area like the back of her hand, and who always puts your interests first.
Image via Unsplash