When looking for a condo, the first things that most people will likely consider are location, price, square footage, amenities, and so on. But for a good number of home-seekers, there are other considerations to take into account; such as whether the whole family can be accommodated. And I'm not talking bedrooms for the kids, here. For many buyers, a critical element of their search includes whether Snoopy or Garfield, or any other loyal bundle of furry fun, will be welcome.
Too often, prospective condo buyers are turned away at the first hurdle, simply because they are pet owners. But there is something of a growing trend for animal-friendly communities in many of America's larger cities, and Chicago is leading the pack.
But just because some buildings promote themselves as animal-friendly, they don't always tell the whole story, and moving into one of these condos might prove to be more than a walk in the park. Many pro-pet condos and lofts are fairly flexible with regards to the types, and sizes, of animals that residents may wish to keep, but there are some condominiums that are simply barking up the wrong tree, by doggedly maintaining restrictions on the grounds of animals' weight.
Now, bearing in mind that the worst thing a big, doe-eyed, Labrador or Retriever is ever going to do is drool affectionately on your shoe, surely a weight restriction seems, well, a little restrictive? Would you rather live among hundreds of yapping Toy Poodles and Chihuahuas or a handful of docile Great Danes? What about having a potentially aggressive Pit-Bull down the hall? And would you be happy sharing your elevator with the Hound of the Baskervilles, as long as the ferocious canine conforms to the specified weight guidelines?
Of course, many dog-owners are thoroughly responsible, and wouldn't allow their hounds to infringe on their neighbors' lives, but a restriction on pooch-poundage seems prohibitive for many would-be condo dwellers. If any kind of policy were to be enforced, it would make more sense to have selective breed guidelines which would, surely, be far more acceptable. If there are larger breeds that cause concern, simply add them to the list of unwelcome animals, alongside those smaller dogs which may be troublesome. Anything else would seem to be 'ruff' justice.
The simple fact remains that for many people, their pets are as much a part of the family as are their children. One will find very few condos that would discriminate on the grounds of larger offspring - "Sorry madam, but we don't allow families with football-playing kids the size of Michael Oher". So why put restrictions on the size of a family pet? Surely, this is simply turning potential buyers away?
Thankfully, there are lots of great places in Chicago where larger canines are welcome, and there are plenty of excellent condos that accommodate multiple pets, too. The only problem is, finding the ones that fit your, and your fluffy chum's, requirements can be time consuming and occasionally, frustrating. Taking into account the usual things that home-buyers are looking for such as parking, transit, walkability, access to shops, entertainment and so on, finding a place that is also close to parks and open-areas where you can walk your dog can make the whole process something of a headache.
If you are seeking that perfect, pet-accommodating, downtown Chicago condo or apartment, check out my exclusive Dog Friendly page, for tips and advice on homing both you, and your furry friend!
Ted Guarnero, REALTOR® is a full-time real estate agent with over 1000 homes sold and $400 million in sales. Working with Compass real estate offering professional and effective real estate services to help you succeed in the local real estate market. Visit www.seeChicagorealestate.com for information on downtown Chicago real estate and to get in touch with an expert in the Chicago real estate market. Before you hire your next Realtor call Ted Guarnero 855-See-Chicago, it's on the House !