Pet-Friendly Real Estate Spotlight: Unique Homes That Welcome Furry Friends

Looking for a new home takes careful planning and consideration at every level to make sure that everyone - no matter how young or old is safe and happy. The same level of thought needs to be given to pets too. Including our beloved fur babies in the home search process shouldn’t be an afterthought. After all, pets are family members! 

Pet-friendly real estate matters more than ever. Why? We share our lives and our spaces with our animals. Just as our human relations do, pets see our joy, tears, and sadness. They deserve an equal footing in the space we call home. 

What should you look for in a pet-friendly home? 

There are three main considerations when looking to buy or rent a new home with pets. 

Across the world, the number of pets we own is rising. With this comes the need for accommodation that caters to them (as well as their human counterparts). Housebuilding companies are starting to recognize this, as are private landlords and property managers. Many offer new builds or rental homes with pet-friendly features. 

As yet, there’s no proper definition for what counts as a pet-friendly home, but there are lots of features that can make a house more suitable for animals. They are :

Unique home adaptations to make for pets

We’ve looked at just a few of the more obvious adaptations you can make to a home to make your pets feel safe and loved, but there are some more heavyweight alterations and changes you can make too. We’ll look at these in more detail now. 

Dedicated pet nook

It’s important for pets, just like their humans to have a dedicated space of their own where they can go to chill, relax, and have a snooze - or simply sit and watch what’s going on around them. Creating a pet nook is one way of achieving this. Great ideas are spaces under the stairs (without doors) or in the utility room (away from appliances and home cleaning products). You could even create a space in the living or dining room to accommodate this kind of feature where the entire family can chill out together in the evening. 

Pet spas

Fido and Tiddles don’t always want to be washed and coiffed - and getting them into human-sized baths and showers isn’t an easy task. Finding a way to create a built-in pet spa with a bath or shower is a great way to solve this. 

If you have a laundry room or even a downstairs cloakroom this is a great place to start. These rooms already have a water supply and can be easily accessed. Showering and bathing facilities can be made smaller and offer a walk-in feature so that there’s no climbing or trailing mud and dirt everywhere. They also make for easier clean-up afterward. Fill them with great eco-friendly pet cleaning products so your furry pals smell sweet!  

In-home play space

Creating a special space in a living area for your pet to run free can be a real boon, especially if the weather is bad and walks or outdoor play isn’t possible. 

If your pets have access to go outside and there are toys and running around space they won’t feel hemmed in, but it isn’t always possible - so pet runs and a dedicated play area in one space means they get freedom but remain safe. 

Feeding stations

Stop the spilled pet food dished and knocked-over water bowls with a specialist feeding station for your beloved animals. 

This is perhaps one of the easiest functions to put into your home design as it’s relatively small and can go into a kitchen or a utility room. The biggest bonus is that they help avoid a lot of mess and make feeding your pets easier all through the year. Some pet owners install water taps for pets, which means that water bowls don’t need to be removed other than for hygiene purposes. 

Going above and beyond for your pets

Food, water, and shelter are non-negotiables for our pets. There are lots of other small changes that can be made to maximize the value of your home for your much-loved animal companions. 

For instance, ensure there are lots of windows so your pets can see out (even if they can’t always play outside if the weather is inclement). Keep scratching posts dotted around the house so that your cat isn’t as tempted to use the walls and soft furnishings. 

When you get to know and love your pet, you’ll understand what makes them tick a bit more and you’ll see what they need to make their life more comfortable.

Pet-friendly storage solutions

Pets come with their fair share of equipment and supplies. Think about leads and leashes, all the toys they have - their grooming tools, and the food and medicines they require. 

Therefore it makes sense to have a dedicated area at home where all your pet supplies are kept to keep things tidy, clean, and accessible. Built-in cabinets in a laundry room or at the entrance to your home can provide a great access point for you and your pets.  

Home furnishings that are pet-friendly

You might not think this is a big deal, but it’s so important to consider that the furnishings in your home are non-toxic and pet-safe. 

Choosing hard flooring or tiles over thick carpets makes life easier for you - in terms of cleaning and upkeep. 

There are wall coverings and paints you can buy that are non-toxic and scuff/mark resistant so in the event a pet takes a shine to a wall, it isn’t damaged! 

Pet-Friendly gardening

Always think about your outdoor space when planning with your pets. A secure garden or yard is essential, to make sure they can play and roam safely. Provide them with an outdoor shelter as well, so they can have somewhere to escape the weather if they want to play outside but don’t always want to come in. Provide water and food in these spaces too, so they always have something to eat and drink! 

Ensure that any plants or grasses in an outdoor space are non-toxic and suitable for your pets to play near. There are lots of different flora and fauna that are perfectly safe for humans, but not in any way compatible with animals.

Technology and apps can help you find pet-friendly homes

There is something online for everyone - even your pets! There are now a lot of really good, valuable websites and apps that are dedicated to helping pet owners find the perfect space for them and their beloved animals - sometimes down to specific breeds of dogs. These can be particularly useful if you’re renting, rather than buying, but always worth looking at.

How to prepare for a move to a pet-friendly home

Moving is stressful enough for humans, but for pets, it can be very traumatic too. Make sure you keep your pets as safe and comfortable as possible by considering the following points:

Finding pet-friendly communities 

Your home will be pet friendly, but what’s also important is ensuring that the community around you is animal loving as well. So when you move, look for schemes and ventures that will welcome both you and Fido to the new neighborhood. Think about the following: 

What do the experts say?

What’s one top tip for finding a pet-friendly home? 

“Start planning early The more time you give yourself, the better chance you'll have of finding a rental home that is not just pet-friendly, but also hits all your other criteria.

If you have a cat, you might want to make sure the property is away from a main road and has a cat flap.

For dog owners, making sure your new home is big enough and close to a park is likely to be a priority.

Filter your search results by "pets allowed". You can also add keywords such as “park” or “quiet” to your search criteria.” Matilda Battersby, author at Zoopla

What’s the reason behind so many homebuyers and renters wanting pet-friendly property?

“The pandemic accelerated the impact of pets on housing as it ushered in a surge in pet adoption. In fact, one-third of all pet owners adopted during the pandemic, according to a Quotient study. Millennials were the most likely to adopt, with 43% helping to create a furry baby boom. 

Since 2014, millennials have comprised the single largest generation of first-time buyers. Millennials are pet owners, and pet considerations are among the most important factors in their home purchase decisions. 

As more millennials move from renting to owning their own homes, pets are likely to be part of their home purchase equation. Zillow notes that among current homeowners, 46% have at least one dog and 34% have at least one cat. Zillow's research also notes that 46% of renters have pets, and 48% said allowing pets is a requirement for their next rental.” Kevin Hawkins Former Forbes Council Member, writing for Forbes

Advocating for the Future of Pet-Friendly Living

If you’re a pet lover then you’ll want to not only look after your animals to the best of your ability but make sure that they have access to the best standards of living. That means helping to advocate for more inclusive housing policies - especially in the rental sector. 

Pets are family members and it’s so important to show that they can live well in residential settings. Building more inclusive pet-friendly homes is essential for the future of housing. 

Searching for a unique pet-friendly home is a lot more than the bricks and mortar. It’s about finding a space and a community where you and your pet can thrive. 

Making sure the needs of your beloved animals are met, is paramount and a happy pet means a happy home.

What is a “cooling off” period?

The cooling off period is a statutory right protecting consumers which is embodied in most standard contracts of sale in most States. The cooling off period varies depending on the State and there are always some exceptions to the rule, for example, cooling off generally does not apply to auction contracts. It is important to consult with your conveyancing lawyer to confirm whether the cooling off period would apply to you.

If the cooling off period does apply and you want to rely on it to walk away from the contract, you must be prepared to pay the relevant penalty to the seller for exercising your right. This penalty is also allowed in the statutory provisions as a way of protecting the seller from disingenuous buyers.

It is important to also ensure that the cooling off notice is properly served (delivered) on the seller and / or their representatives. Remember that if it is not done properly, it could result in you losing your rights under the cooling off period, leaving you still bound to complete the contract. If you are unable to complete after the lapse of the cooling off period, you’ll be risking your full deposit rather than just the cooling off penalty.