What Every First-Time Home Buyer Needs for Their Pet

First-time home buyers usually have a long list of things they're looking for in a home. But there's one family member a lot of people forget about when they're house hunting. Your pet.

Here's how to find a home that works for you and your furball. 

Check out the yard

The yard is your dog's de facto domain, so you'll want to make sure it's appropriate for him.

Think about the things that might be a problem down the road. Is it big enough? If all you have is a little patio, you can still make it work, but it's going to mean a lot more walks to help keep your pup in shape.

Do you need a fence in your yard? Does it need to be high because your dog is an acrobat? Remember, not having a fence isn't necessarily a dealbreaker for the house as long as you're allowed to add one later.  

Make sure there are pet-friendly spaces

It's not just your yard you need to look at through your pet's eyes.

Make sure your potential home is set up to accommodate your pet. That might mean a laundry room or closed off the kitchen where your pup can stay safe and contained when you're out of the house or it might mean a sunroom where your indoor cat can monitor the outdoors. 

Look for a neighborhood that's friendly to first-time buyers and their pets 

Look for a neighborhood that's close to the types of things you like to do with and without your pet.

If your perfect Saturday is walking to the dog park and then heading over to the local coffee shop, then be sure to let your Realtor know so she can look for neighborhoods where that's possible.

If you have a dog or an outdoor cat, you should also be sure to check that some of your neighbors are also pet owners. Those people will likely be more understanding when they see your cat outside or when your dog decides to chase a squirrel across the street.

While you're thinking about the neighborhood, you should also check to see if there are any restrictions on pets. Some cities have breed-specific bans or only allow a certain number of pets in a home. Even if your city is pet-friendly, your HOA might have a few other restrictions on your pet and the last thing you want is to have to decide between your first home and your furbaby. 

So, start revising your list of things you're looking for and get ready to find a home for the whole family.