How to Search for a Home When You Have Pets

Updated on April 9th, 2019
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If you have cat or dog, and you’re buying a home, your cohabitant can’t tell you what he or she wants. But you should be on the lookout for features that your feline or canine will appreciate – and be sure to tell your real estate agent that your pet is a part of the family. Here are some things to consider when searching for the perfect home for you and your furry friend.

The Neighborhood

If you have a dog, bring it to any home before you make an offer, so you can take a walk through the neighborhood, ideally at the time of day you typically would walk your dog. Keep an eye out for any aggressive dogs nearby who may cause trouble. You don’t want to live next door to a bully!

If you live near a main strip of stores and restaurants, walk there, too, and see whether there are any water bowls in front of the stores, and if any of those places allow dogs inside. Find the nearest vet, pet store, groomer and any other pet service you may need.

Also, check out the parks nearby. Living near a park with either grass or astroturf as opposed to dirt can be a real blessing – you’ll keep your furniture and rugs much cleaner in the long run.

If you encounter fellow dog-walkers, talk to them about living in the neighborhood. Find out whether there are any wild animals in the area. Cats and small dogs can get in brawls with raccoons or even coyotes.

Lastly if you’re moving to a neighborhood that would increase your commute, think about how long your dog will be alone each day and be sure you have a plan for walks and potty breaks.

The Yard

Carefully examine the yard for poisonous plants and other hazards. The Humane Society has a list of plants that may poison pets.

If you have a dog, is the backyard fenced or can it be fenced to keep your pup contained? If the home is on a busy street, also make sure the front yard is secure, particularly if your dog is a darter.

The Home

Will your pet be as comfortable as you in your new home?

Think about where your cat or dog will go to relax: Is there a good spot for your dog’s bed or crate, or for a cat’s climbing tree or house? Many pets like to be able to look out the windows, so think about whether that will be possible in this new home.

Also, keep in mind that carpet can absorb pet odors, and check whether you can remove carpet if it does exist.

Are there stairs in the home? If your pet is older, stairs could be difficult. And even if your pet isn’t old now, remember that you may live in the home for many years.

Once you find a home you love, take special care on moving day to help your pet with the transition. Keep toys and other reminders of home with you, so you can pull them out as soon as you arrive at your new home, rather than digging through boxes to find them.

While it may seem obvious, keeping in mind your pets’ needs when searching for a home is important – and often overlooked. If you’re thinking about buying a home, with or without a pet, get in touch with a Redfin agent today to get started.

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Christin covers a variety of topics for Redfin Real-Time, ranging from “best places” lists, to Redfin client stories, to celebrity news and everything in-between. Her dream home would have an enormous walk-in closet, a home theater and a room dedicated to her cats. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our "Why Redfin?," page.

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