We often talk about the financial and practical motives behind owning your own home; things like income tax breaks, building equity and controlling your housing costs. But it turns out that one of the major motives behind home ownership is the simple joy of having a dog. Here’s highlights from a recent RealtyTimes article along with our own comments!

According to a Harris Poll commissioned by SunTrust Mortgage, 42% of prospective Millennial home buyers listed that having a dog, or the desire to own a dog, was the reason they wished to own a home.

When successful first-time home buyers were asked about their reasons for buying a home, 33% said it had to do with dog ownership. Dog ownership outranked marriage and children as a home-buying motivator! Marriage came in at 25%, and expecting a child came in at 19%.

Financial motivations are still important; 36% said that main their home buying motive was the opportunity to build equity. The number one reason listed for home ownership was the desire for more living space, which came in at 66%. Still, it’s possible that the desire for more space had something to do with wanting pets, when you look at the survey ratios of pets vs. marriage vs. children.

Cat lovers shouldn’t take offense at the survey; feline friends are easier to accommodate in an apartment, whereas renting with a dog can be expensive or near-impossible.

If you are buying your first Chicago home with pet ownership in mind, you’ll need to do your homework. Single-family homes may governed by neighborhood Homeowner’s Associations (HOA’s) and HOA’s may disallow certain breeds of dogs, due to their size or reputation for aggression. The same is true for condominiums and townhomes. Dog ownership can be restricted in a dozen different ways, limiting your choice of pet and the areas you may walk it.

Even when you find the ideal home for you and your cuddly mastiff, you’ll have one more hurdle: your homeowner’s insurance policy. Dog bites are one of the most common and expensive claims against homeowner’s liability coverage. Because of this, some breeds are banned from coverage, for all practical purposes. In other cases you might pay a higher premium for having a dog.

Insurance companies aren’t always forthcoming about the dogs they allow and disallow, or how it factors into your premium costs. Your best bet is to talk to your agent about this before you apply for coverage.

Please note, it isn’t wise to “hide” your dog ownership from your insurance company. If you do not disclose that you own a dog, and then your dog causes an injury, your insurance company may not pay the claim, and may not defend you against a lawsuit.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t have a dog – we love dogs too! We just want you to get in the right situation for you and your four-legged family member, so you won’t have to worry later on. We know of some very dog-friendly neighborhoods, and we can help you find dog parks, dog-allowed walking trails and other amenities. We’ll help you decipher HOA rules and bylaws so you won’t have to guess whether your pet is welcome. After all, we want your home ownership to be a long-term success, and that means finding the right place for you and your pets to be happy.

StartingPoint Realty – guiding first-time Chicago home buyers!

StartingPoint Realty provides complete education and guidance to first-time home buyers throughout Chicago and the Northwest suburbs! Attend our free home buying seminar to learn about the home buying process. There’s never any sales pressure or obligation!

Check out our list of home buyer assistance programs on our website! You can also visit our Chicago Resource Center for neighborhood information and personalized assistance.

Always feel welcome to contact us for help with your Chicago home buying questions!

Ryan Gable Broker/CEO Starting Point Realty
Phone: 847.348.1154

Email: RyanGable@startingpointrealty.com
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