For many homeowners, a condominium provides the perfect balance between home ownership and apartment living. This is because they have the benefits of owning their own home, such as the ability to make permanent décor changes and to build equity, along with the benefits of community living, such as on-call maintenance, landscaping care, and a central location. The problem for many would-be condo owners occurs if they have a pet. Many associations have strict pet policies, even for owners. The following tips can help you find condos that will fit your needs.
Tip #1: Gather Your Information
You need all the details on your pets before you begin to approach a real estate agent or start looking at properties. Key details that you will need to provide to associations can include the following:
Number and type of pets
The specific breed
Age and gender
Obedience training record (for dogs)
Having all of this information in hand before you begin sorting through the listing will help you remove those that will not work for your animal.
Tip #2: Know Your Needs
You don't want to purchase a condo with a beautiful lawn area if you won't be able to walk your dog there. Some buyers make the mistake of buying first, with the assumption they can then change the community rules. While this can happen, don't count upon it. Instead, know your specific needs for your pets. For example, some condos only allow animals in the lobby if they are carried or in a pet carrier. If you can't physically carry your dog, this condominium will not be a good choice for you. Make a list of things you can't budge on, such as access to outdoor areas, animal access to elevators and lobbies, and allowed access of pet service professionals, such as groomers and dog walkers.
Tip #3: Get It In Writing
Condominium associations adopt new rules and alter old ones. When purchasing a condo, you need to make sure you have the most up-to-date bylaw and rule document before you sign anything. The last thing you want to do is sign on your new place and then discover the association voted to disallow dogs two days before. When looking over the bylaws, make sure that owners are grandfathered in. This way if the pet rule changes in the future, you will not need to move or get rid of your animals. Do keep in mind, though, that a change in the rules will mean you cannot get new pets in the future since only your current pets at the time of the rule change will fall under the grandfather clause. Talk a real estate agent for more information.