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5 Tips for Buying a Pet-Friendly Property

5 Tips for Buying a Pet-Friendly Property

Written by our very own Sabrina Bright, Training Manager and Associate Broker for Schmidt Realty Group Inc.

I’ve been a pet lover my entire life. Over the years, I’ve had dogs, birds, chinchillas, a giant turtle, and even worked as a squirrel nannie (but that’s a story for another blog). These animals aren’t just pets, they’re family. And I know I’m not alone feeling that way.

In fact, a 2017 report from the National Association of REALTORS® found that 89% of pet owners would not give up their animal because of housing restrictions or limitations. But finding the perfect home can be made more difficult if you’re unfamiliar with Edmonton’s real estate market and the city’s pet bylaws.

That’s where I come in! My infinite love of pets has made me the unofficial real estate pet expert for Edmonton pet parents, and I’m here to pass along my wisdom to home buyers.

Here are 5 tips for buying a pet-friendly property in Edmonton.

Don’t Make Assumptions about Pet Policies

Did you know that the maximum number of pets allowed per residence in the City of Edmonton is six cats and three dogs? But that rule doesn’t apply to all properties. “Shared ownership” properties like condos and townhomes have their own pet policies that you need to follow. And believe me, they are strict about the rules. Many condos in Edmonton have firm “no pet” policies and even a bird or fish can put you on their no list.

If you’re looking at shared ownership properties you need to be diligent about your research. Viewing a property and see a dog on-site does not automatically mean it’s a dog-friendly building. Condo boards change their rules all the time and those pets may have been grandfathered into the building, while new pets are not allowed. Before you start viewing properties make sure they’re a fit for you and your pet.

Flexibility is a Must for Finding the Right Home

When I find out a client has a pet, it changes the game for us. We’re no longer shopping for a condo, we’re shopping for an agreeable condo bylaw. If you have a big breed dog like a German Shepherd, we’re not going to consider apartments. I’ll be looking to find you a house, townhouse, or duplex. And that’s okay! Eight-one percent of pet owners say that animal-related considerations play a role in deciding their next living situation. As long as you’re open to alternative options, your REALTOR® will find the best fit for you and your pet.

Never Lie to Your REALTOR® About Your Pets

This is a big one for me. When a client hires me, I will work my hardest to find them the perfect home that checks all the boxes, but in order for me to do this I need to have all the facts first. Hiding your pets will only hurt you in the long run. Sure, you might think it’s easy to keep your cat hidden, but there’s a million ways for you to get caught. And is it really worth the risk?

Say you buy a condo. What happens if there’s a leak in your building and the building manager makes an unexpected visit? Or there’s a problem with the central air conditioning? Do you really want to be wracked with stress every day wondering if your little secret will be exposed? There are plenty of gorgeous properties across our city that will be happy to accommodate you and your furry family members, so let your REALTOR® help you do things the right way.

Pet Policies Can Be Ambiguous So Put Your Pet in Writing

Many pet policies are open to interpretation. In the past, I worked with a couple who had an adorable English Bulldog. He was a pudgy little guy who weighed around 50 pounds. We found a townhome that the clients absolutely loved, but the policy was that only “lapdogs” were acceptable. To most people this term would signify small breeds like Chihuahuas or Pomeranians, but these clients considered their 50-pound pooch a lapdog!

Even if you’ve scouted out the bylaws and building policies, you should always include your pets in the offer. Since the rules are often incredibly vague, I always make sure we include pets in writing. Even if you’ve scouted out the bylaws and building policies, you should always include your pets in the offer. By putting your pets down on paper, you’re ensuring that the seller cannot change the rules after the game has already started. In case you were wondering, the English Bulldog is happily living in that townhome with his parents!

A Good REALTOR® Will Find the Perfect Home for You and Your Pets

Many people (myself included) think of their pets as more than just animals. They’re your fur children! And you need to work with a REALTOR® who respects that. If someone comes to me and says, “I have three dogs who are my world,” I would never consider telling them to get rid of two to make the home buying process easier. I’ll work with you – not against you – and my colleagues at Schmidt Realty will do the same. We’re here to help you have a smooth and ultimately successful home buying journey. Call the office today if you have any questions about buying a property in Edmonton. I can’t wait to meet you and your furry family members!

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