October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, established decades ago by American Humane to encourage people to adopt one of the 7 million-plus animals in U.S. shelters who need forever homes.
For many lucky dogs, getting adopted doesn’t just mean a new home, but also a new house, as a growing number of millennials are choosing to buy their first homes — for their dogs.
According to a recent report, more than three-fourths of Americans in their 30s own a dog, and over half own a cat. Add that to the staggering 43% of non-pet-owning millennials who say they want one in the future, and it’s no surprise that pet ownership - or the dream thereof - is driving many millennials to buy houses sooner and to base their buying choices on key, pet-friendly features.
When you factor in the added costs landlords often impose in the form of pet fees and deposits, it turns out that owning a home can be cheaper than renting.
If you’re shopping for a home for Fido (and yourself), here are 10 top home features to consider:
1. A pet-friendly neighborhood
Finding a pet-friendly home isn’t just about the house; consider the neighborhood too. Is the neighborhood walkable? Are there places to play that provide access to pet waste stations? A nearby, dedicated dog park can also be a big bonus.
2. Other dogs in the neighborhood
When you visit the neighborhood, keep an eye out for other dogs. If a fair number of your future neighbors are walking and playing with their dogs, they’re likely to be friendly with your pet, too.
3. A fenced-in yard
4. Dog-friendly landscaping
Check to ensure that the flowers, shrubs and trees on the property are not poisonous to pets. Some common yard flora that can be poisonous to pets includes perennials like mums and irises, annuals, including begonias and shrubs, bushes such as azaleas and certain oak trees.
5. Water hazards
Pools, ponds and water features can be hazardous to pets.
6. Securely-screened windows
Dogs and cats can sometimes fall from second-story windows.
Living on a busy street can be a hazard, especially if your pup likes to rush out through open front doors.
8. HOA fees
If you’re buying a condo or apartment, Homeowners Associations (HOAs) can present obstacles similar to landlords. Some HOAs set size limits on pets and may charge hefty pet fees. Prospective home buyers with pups should check to see if an HOA is involved, and what its pet policies are.
9. Pet services
Close proximity to pet stores, veterinarians and emergency pet centers is key. Bonus features include nearby pet sitters, groomers, dog walkers and doggie day care centers
10. A dog washing station
A bathtub could suffice, or you might prefer a utility sink.
If you’re ready to make a home for you and your best “furriend,” bring this list along on your next house-hunting trip.
If you have questions about financing a home, find a Motto Mortgage office near you.