What Your Dog Wants to See in Your Next Home
SunTrust Mortgage conducted a poll among homebuyers and found that the desire for a better space or yard for their dog influenced their decision to buy a home. Here’s what’s top of mind for your dog in your next house.
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If Fido likes to have puppy playdates now and again, walk around a neighborhood you’re considering with your furry pal in search of other dogs. Take a lap after work to up your chances of catching dogs out on their evening walks. Evaluate how well your pup engages with other dogs and chat up the owners to get a read on the pet-friendly vibe of the neighborhood. It’s also a good way to gauge how chummy dog owners in the 'hood are too.
While a neighborhood with lots of friendly dogs is nice, it’s equally fantastic to find a home near pup-friendly services and perks, like doggie daycare, dog parks, a well-rated vet and pet retailers. Even if you buy dog food online from Chewy or Amazon, find a back-up close to home if you’re in a bind and need kibble quickly. Also, keep your eyes open for teens eager to make a few bucks walking and caring for your dog while you’re on vacation or at work.
A yard without a fence doesn’t need to be a deal-breaker, but if the home you’re considering has a large, flat yard for your dog to run and play, a fence is a real plus. Otherwise, take into consideration the cost of a fence to stay within your overall homebuying budget. Check in with the local HOA if there is one. They may impose certain limitations with regard to style, height and material of fences.
The type of flooring in your new home should not be overlooked. For example, dark wood floors don't do much to hide dog hair, so you may spend more time than you’d like sweeping up. Worse, hardwood floors are more prone to water damage and scratches. "Think about the hardness and material of the flooring, as well as how easy it is to clean," notes Washington, DC-based real estate agent Amber Harris of At Home DC. Luxury vinyl plank, for example, is durable and resistant to moisture and scratches.
Amenable Home Layout
Keep stairs in mind if you have a small or older dog that may struggle climbing stairs. If this is the case, you may want to keep your pet on a single floor of the house. Think about ramps to access sunken levels. Consider window height to ensure they are high enough to peek out but not so low that your pup ends up bumping into them.
Plenty of Windows
Pets love to spend hours in the sun, so homes with lots of windows are most desirable for many pups (and cats, too). As you tour the home, keep your eyes peeled for other dog-friendly features, like a dog bed nook or dog bowls tucked away in a pull-out cabinet. If it’s not a house you love, these custom features may give you ideas for features to add to the house you do end up buying.
Good Bath Area
If you can swing it, a special room inside your home to wash and feed your fluffy pup is a must, like this all-tile room from homebuilder Ashton Woods. A designated shower station helps ensure less mess when it comes time to give your four-legged friend a good cleaning. A tile design makes clean-up easy after the post-bath water shake-off too. For large dogs, consider using the outdoor faucet to bathe your pet.
Light Street Traffic
A home on a busy street is not a great pick for dog owners, unless the home is set far enough back on the lot to keep your dog from running into traffic. If you have a dog prone to jumping the fence, eager to take off on his own, keep this in mind too. The size of your yard, the presence of a sturdy fence and the speed of street traffic can all make a difference in the overall safety of your pup.
We all know that dogs like to explore and dig around in the backyard, so be vigilant about ensuring there are no poisonous outdoor plants in your backyard, like American holly and azaleas. If your pup begins to vomit and you suspect he may have gotten into poisonous plants, call your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center right away at (888) 426-4435.
Whether you have kids or dogs, the entryway into your home, like the mud room, should be a key factor. An ideal space will have a closet or cabinets with storage for leashes, doggie bags, play toys, dog food and monthly meds. "It should also serve as a space where you can wipe down your pup to keep him from tracking mud in the house," adds Harris.