For many people, their pets are not just animals but are a part of the family. Pets play a unique role in a family and can often make life's transitions feel a little smoother. Whether your "cuddly buddy" is canine, feline or even web-footed, when you plan a move, there are particular details that need to be considered. When it comes to buying, selling, and moving with pets it’s important to be aware of the animal’s needs and the challenges that they can present. By being aware of some of these challenges, pet parents can ensure the smoothest transition for everyone and provide an optimal experience for their furry family members too.
For homebuyers there are key things to be aware of when searching for their dream home with their pet in mind:
- Check county & city code restrictions and home owners association (HOA) documents for any restrictions on the types of animals permitted on the property. This is especially important for owners of exotic animals, farm animals, or even some that stipulate a size/weight of allowable dog breeds.
- Consider the home’s features and layout. For the pet that’s a notorious carpet chewer or floor-scratcher, buyers may want to avoid certain types of flooring. Pets with mobility limitations may require a single level ranch style home or one with few steps.
- Inspect the exterior and surroundings. Does the house come with fencing that will contain the animals? If Fido gets loose, will he be running onto a busy roadway or a quiet cul de sac?
- Look at the sunny side of things. The heat and summer sun in Charleston can give a whole new meaning to "the dog days of summer." If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, look for outdoor spaces with covered porches and a yard that provides plenty of shade.
- Explore animal amenities in the community. Look for pet waste stations, dog park, pet fountains, trails that offer a spot to explore a wooded area or walk in the shade. These are all indicators of a pet-friendly community.
When it comes time to sell, homeowners should put themselves in the shoes of the prospective buyer. Would you want to walk into a beautiful home only to be hit with the smell of the kitty box? Would you buy a house with teeth marks on the windowsills from a puppy with a chewing habit? Probably not. Before listing, look around your house with a critical eye and take the following steps to prepare your pet-friendly home:
- Clean the yard - Pick up any pet waste, make repairs to fencing, fill in holes, seed and water dead spots.
- Repair any interior damage - Patch holes, refinish or replace flooring if needed.
- Remove odors & stains - Have carpets and air ducts professionally cleaned (this will also help to remove pet hair).
- Out of sight out of the buyer’s mind - Try to put animal items out of sight during showings (litter pans, pet beds, cat towers/trees, pet toy bin/basket, pet dishes). This will also help to de-clutter the home.
In the event of a showing, consider sending pets on a little vacation. Sellers never know when they’ll get a buyer that is allergic to pets and/or are afraid of any kind of animal. Some buyers won't even go inside a house if there is a dog present. Drop pets at a kennel or pet day care, or have a trusted neighbor or friend take them for an hour or two.
Every pet’s needs are unique, just like their personalities, and should be taken into account when managing them throughout the sale process and making their new home feel like home. There is no one-size-fits-all checklist for navigating the real estate process with pets, but by taking these steps, homeowners are ensuring they’ll be able to maximize the value of their home and homebuyers are making sure that they’re choosing a house that their entire family will want to call home.
Note: At Luxury Simplified, we are all animal lovers with pets of our own and can appreciate the importance of pets to a family. Our expert team is ready to help you navigate some of the challenges of buying and selling while putting your fur family first.
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