Let’s face it: pets are members of our families, and their needs play an important role in home buying. “Pets really do influence home searches; they are such a big part of family life,” says Christine Tierney, a Coldwell Banker agent in the Marblehead office. “Pets have become my real estate niche, which actually makes my job more fun,” continues Tierney, a dog owner herself.
Her recommendations for would-be buyers is to think ahead about what will make their pets safe and happy in a new home. Considerations include: proximity to dog parks, size of yard, single-level living for older animals, and ways to protect against natural predators. “Lots of cat owners are interested in ‘catios.’ which are basically screened-in patios for cats,“ says Tierney. “And dog owners will look to see if a yard is fenced in or can be outfitted easily with an electronic fence.”
She also suggests that sellers address evidence of their pooches and kitties: “I remind them that not everyone is going to love their pets as much as they do.” She recommends cleaning up around pet bowls and reducing the number of toys on display. “But I have a lot of pet-owning buyers, so I never think a home’s pets should be ‘erased’ completely,” she continues. “Pet owners looking at a house want to visualize their own animals there.” Any pet-friendly aspects should be played up, such as a designated feeding area or dog-washing sink.
Tierney has also created a toolkit to help make the transition into a new home easier for pets and their people. “When you have packed and stacked boxes, you may have inadvertently made dangerous plants or other toxic household items accessible,” she says. She also recommends bringing beds, blankets, or favorite toys to a new home in advance, so your dog or cat understands they belong in the new place. And when you change your mailing address, you should also be locating a new veterinarian and assessing the busyness of the street. “You want your pets to be as comfortable and safe as possible after you move,” she relates.
As an animal lover, Tierney embraces Coldwell Banker’s Homes for Dogs project, a partnership with Adopt-a-Pet.com aimed at helping adoptable dogs find loving homes. The 2019 Homes for Dogs National Adoption Weekend is happening this weekend, September 28 and 29. Tierney, a Swampscott resident, isn’t close enough to one of the shelters featuring adoptions, but she did sponsor a donation drive all month to benefit both the Marblehead Animal Shelter and Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem.
Tierney is happy supporting both shelter animals and the beloved pets of her clients. “Some agents think it’s a bit nutty to focus on animals, but I’ve had buyers choose a home with an elevator specifically because of their elderly dog,” she says. “I’ve even had clients who wouldn’t make an offer until their dogs were okay with the house. It made for a weird conversation with the seller, but it all worked out since the pets were happy.”
Text by Lisa Cavanaugh | Images courtesy Pixabay | Sponsored Content