As you begin your tour of Chicago neighborhoods that have homes for sale, you’re looking for a house that has everything you want, such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and the size of the backyard. But there’s something you might be forgetting. If you’re a pet owner you may not have thought to add some of these amenities to your list.
Here are a few items to consider when searching for a new home to meet you and your pets’ needs. Not only do you want to be happy in your new Chicago home, but your four-legged friends need to be happy as well.
Know the laws in the area:
Each area has its own laws and restrictions when it comes to pet ownership. Knowing the law in the county and city you’re hoping to live is one of the first steps when looking for a home. A fair amount of cities have laws restricting the number and type of pets one can own. For example, rural areas might allow someone to own a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. However, the majority of suburban areas restrict pets that are considered “farm” animals.
Home Owner Association Rules:
If the Chicago area where you’re looking has a homeowner association (HOA), it’s essential to know the bylaws. There are a lot of HOAs that don’t allow pets, and some have strict rules that apply to pet owners. Some restrictions might include the size, type or number of animals you’re allowed to own. Get a copy of the bylaws and read them carefully before you make your decision.
Features inside the home:
When looking at a potential home, make sure it has all the “must-haves” on your list. Then double-check that it is a good environment for your pet.
- Previous pets in the home: Ask the current owners if they had any pets. If they did, don’t be afraid to ask if the pet caused any damage inside the home or if the owners had any issues with the home and their pets.
- Flooring throughout the house: One of the first features someone notices when looking at a potential home are the floors. Are they carpet, hardwood, or tile? Depending on what type of pet you have, different types of flooring will appeal to you more than others. Dog owners with hardwood might have issues with the floors getting scratched by their dog’s claws. On the other hand, cat owners know that their feline friends sometimes enjoy sharpening their claws on the carpet. If your potential home has a type of flooring your pet may damage, it could cost you in the future if any of the flooring needs to be replaced.
- Layout of the home: Another part of home-buying that pet owners need to consider is the layout of the house. If you have a senior pet, a home with a lot of stairs may not be the best choice. Maybe a ranch home would be better for you and your furry family members. If you own cats, you know that they love to look out the window. A home with lots of windows and a place for kitty to watch the birds and squirrels might be on your wish list. Storage space is also important. Where is it and how much is there? Families always need some storage, but throw a pet into the mix and you’ll be surprised how much your storage needs increase. Pet supplies can be stored away so the house doesn’t look cluttered, and no one wants their cats’ litter box out in the open. Check out these clever ways to hide litter boxes on Pinterest.
Whether you currently have a pet or you’re planning to get one, it is important to consider the layout of the yard. A safe place for your pets to run and play without worrying about them is essential. If the Chicago home that you’re viewing already has a fence, check whether the fence is high enough that your dog can’t jump over it, and if the gate has a latch. Then you should inspect the whole fence to check for any loose boards that need to be replaced. Once you move into your new home, you may want to put a “Beware of Dog” sign on the outside of the fence so people passing by know you have a dog.
Take a drive around the Chicago neighborhood where you’re looking for a new home. Do you see other pet owners? Is there a lot of street traffic? Is there a dog park nearby and sidewalks to walk your dog to provide adequate exercise? If you see other pet owners, ask them where the nearest pet supplies store, veterinarian, groomer and dog park are located. This information can help you make your final decision if you are considering homes in different areas.
Pet owners know that their furry friends really are a part of the family, which makes finding a home that suits your pets’ needs especially important. Don’t be afraid to ask the sellers any applicable questions that will help you make your decision. Once you move into your new house, and everyone, including your pets, is happy and comfortable, that house truly becomes your home.
For more information on Chicago real estate, visit www.chicagorealestateforum.com.