Recently, millennials have made headlines for increasingly embarking on homeownership for reasons slightly different than previous generations. While buying a home has long been associated with growing families, younger generations are seeking homes because of their dogs. Dog owners will, of course, say that dogs have been an important part of that all along. Now, more than ever, though, dogs are factored into a family’s house hunting plans.
First-time homebuyer missteps
There are a few mistakes that plague first-time homebuyers. Some overextend themselves financially by taking on a mortgage with repayments that render them “house-poor,” while others fail to budget for maintenance and future renovations. Others make mistakes when building homes, such as not opting for the half-garage add-on for extra storage. For dog owners, though, failing to buy a home that provides conveniences for your dog is a mistake that you will relive every day. Instead, include your dog on your home-buying plans by looking at prospective neighborhoods through your dog’s perspective.
Today, there are countless resources for researching houses for sale from the comfort of your home. Almost all real estate listings are publicly accessible online. Individual real estate brokers list their inventories online too, and most descriptions will note house features that benefit dogs.
Dog home amenities
The primary dog-friendly feature in a home is a fenced-in yard. Fences give your dog a safe and secure play area. Although a yard is not a substitute for the bonding and exercise of a walk, there are times when a walk cannot happen. And, extending the play to several times a day benefits your dog’s well-being. Fenced-in yards add value for their ability to keep children safe, too, so they are likely to be highlighted by the seller in online specification sheets (learn more about pricing here).
Some first-time home buyers may be able to find everything they need for their dog-owning lifestyle in a luxury home. By luxury home, we are not talking about mansions or grand estates, but smaller homes with upgraded features and neighborhoods that exude a pet-friendly vibe. To get a sense of cost, in Poughkeepsie, NY, the median listing price is $250,000.
Although specific house features can be found online in listings, some dog-friendly aspects, such as the type of neighborhood, may be more difficult to glean from an internet search. A dog-friendly neighborhood is one that encourages dog walking and interaction. A good way to determine if a neighborhood embraces pets is to take a walk through its streets and parks. Look for sidewalks and off-leash dog park sections. Another tell-tale sign of an area that welcomes dogs is the presence of dog waste bags and receptacles.
Beyond looking for dog amenities, look to see if there are residents walking their dogs. Dog-unfriendly neighborhoods might have signs on lawns issuing stern warnings against dogs on the grass, and lack areas for exercising your pet.
Beyond the neighborhood
You can also take a look at the community in general to get an idea of its receptiveness to dogs. Take a walk through the nearest town or village shopping area. Dog-friendly places will put water bowls and treats out in small dishes. Cafes in these towns may have outdoor seating where dogs are welcome or even host “yappy hours”, where dog owners and dogs are encouraged to mingle.
Dogs are increasingly a driving force behind home purchase decisions. Drive this trend further by looking for dog-friendly houses, neighborhoods, and communities for you and your loved ones.
Guest Author: Jessica Brody
Jessica is a dog lover and creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She created the site to offer a place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.