Pets and Property: Home Search Tips for Buyers

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A majority of homeowners and buyers I work with either have pets…or pet allergies. In other words, pets or their fur play a significant role in most of my real estate transactions.

First, let’s take a look at this from a pet owner’s perspective. Pet owners are, as a rule, quite affectionate toward their animal friends and prioritize their needs – almost more than their own. Whether it’s a cat, dog, rabbit, gerbil, hamster, lizard, goldfish, parrot, turtle, or a some combination of the above, my clients view the pet’s comfort and enjoyment of the home as paramount when searching for a new place to hang their leash. 

Factors that may impact the purchase of a home include yard size, presence of a backyard fence, a mud room for washing dirty paws, other pets in the neighborhood, amount of traffic in the area, the ability pets of to easily go in and out, or simply finding an appropriate place to put cages, beds and food bowls. 

Likewise, those individuals with allergies who cannot live in a home with a pet – or even move into a place that has recently had a domesticated animal – place great importance on learning related facts about the residence prior to entering for a showing. Part of my job as a Realtor is interviewing my clients before I even set up a search and they start looking for a new home. Accordingly, learning more about any possible pet allergies is one of the first questions I will ask. 

The presence of pets (the type, how many) is typically indicated on the disclosure form filled out by the seller that I can find on the MLS listing as a Realtor. Another advantage to working with someone who has access to these facts is, if pet information not on the seller’s disclosure form, I will contact the listing agent to find out more details if they are available. Sometimes, however, especially in cases where the home is vacant, and little is known about the previous owner, it is difficult to know whether or not a pet has lived there. 

If my clients have allergies, and we learn a pet has lived in the home, we still have options, however. If the presence of pet dander is obvious, or if the seller has indicated a pet has lived there, I advise my clients that options exist for a deep cleaning of carpets, window treatments, and so on. There are also additional services available to further “de-pet” the residence, eliminate any odors, purify the air, and run tests to ensure that all allergens have been removed to the greatest degree possible. As a listing agent, I will assess the situation, and, if the home doesn’t pass the “sniff test,” encourage my sellers to take these cleaning steps proactively before the home is listed on MLS. 

My advice to all clients – whether or not they are pet owners or have pet allergies – is to be aware that pet-related issues are legitimate and often quite meaningful to those searching for a home. Understanding this could make the difference between having a relatively quick transaction and one that drags on over weeks and months. 

If you, or someone you know, are looking for the perfect home to raise a dog (or other furry friends), I would love to help out. Please feel free to call, email or text me any time and we can chat – I’m here to help!

Until next time,

Tom Bullington
InMotion Realty