Written by Aurora James for Chitra Walmsley
Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show 29.8 million people moved in 2019. While many moved into larger homes, others downsized to save money or to have a more manageable home. If you're joining those looking to downsize and you have pets, follow these tips to keep your pets safe.
Getting Your Home Ready
Since most home buyers choose a previously owned residence, you have the advantage. But most buyers also want a house that doesn't require major renovations. Make repairs and fix pet-related issues, such as stained carpets or chewed trim. Having your home professionally cleaned and removing most of your pet paraphernalia helps make the home more appealing to prospective buyers who don't have pets.
Finding Pet-Friendly Homes
As you check out new homes, look for pet-friendly features, such as a fenced-in yard or an out-of-the-way spot for the litter box. Determine what your budget can handle, and proceed quickly when you find a pet-friendly home that meets your requirements. With the rates changing on a daily basis, you should check on current mortgage rates throughout your home search process to know if you are getting the best deal possible. Lower rates can also mean more cash on hand to make pet-friendly modifications to your new home should it be missing important features, like a fenced yard or doggie door.
Downsizing Your Belongings
Evaluate your new space to determine how much stuff you can keep. Take measurements to ensure your furniture fits, and sell or donate things you no longer need or want. If you need a self-storage unit to hold some items, expect to pay $100 to $300 per month, which can cut into the savings you realize from downsizing.
Keeping Your Pets Safe
As you prepare to move, keep your pets in a safe area away from where you're working, such as a bedroom or the backyard. On moving day, hire a pet sitter or take your pet to a kennel to keep them out of harm's way. At your new home, keep a close eye on your pet when they're outdoors.
Hiring movers for the big day can help you to get through your move quickly. Plus, it will allow you to focus more on keeping your pet safe if they are present with you. You can find local movers online, but make sure to read reviews before committing. If your pet will be on the property for move day, look for reviews or ask specifically about how they handle pets. Some companies will be more accommodating than others.
Preparing Your New Home
Your new place may need some upgrades to make your pet feel at home and be safe. For example, adding a fence to contain your dog will require you to spend some money, but the total depends on your location, yard size, and fencing material. Meet with local contractors to get a written quote and discuss your needs. Read online reviews, verify the contractor you choose is licensed and insured, and make sure they follow safety guidelines, such as checking for underground utility lines. Other possible upgrades include dog doors, an outdoor catio for feline friends, and removing poisonous landscaping.
Helping Your Pet Acclimate
In your new home, stick to your normal routine when possible, including regular mealtimes and walks. Set up your pet's space immediately, so they have comfortable, familiar things. Be empathetic and patient with your pet, and keep the home as calm as possible.
Make sure that you have a good leash, harness, and/or collar for your pet so that you can safely keep them with you on walks and in the yard. Look online for product reviews from veterinarians to find the right way to secure your pet. Remember, this can be a stressful time for your animals, and they may not respond in their normal ways. It’s always better to be safe and keep your pets secured for awhile until you’re sure they are comfortable in their new home.
Controlling your stress is one of the best things you can do for your pet throughout the downsizing process. Pets pick up on your anxiety, stress, and worry, and they may become anxious. Work on reducing your stress and spending time with your pets in a calming, loving way.
Start the Process
Keeping your pets in mind makes the move smoother and safer for them. If you're ready to downsize with your furry family, invest in some additional training time to strengthen your bond and solidify basic commands that will come in handy in your new neighborhood. Chitra offers on-site and virtual dog training sessions using positive reinforcement. Visit her other pages to learn more about her methods and to read reviews about her work.
(plus 4th of July considerations!)
Have an enjoyable and safe summer!
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