How I Became a Pet-Friendly REALTOR®, my story
How I became a pet-friendly REALTOR® has been asked more times than I can remember, so here’s my story. If you know me, you already know I adore dogs. If you don’t, you’ll find out quick enough! This is how I became a pet-friendly REALTOR® .
I LOVE DOGS & CATS
It was many years ago that my husband and I were looking to move to the beach. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this was the beginning of how I became a pet-friendly REALTOR®.
At first, we had three kids, two dogs and five cars, so it was virtually impossible to move to the beach. Where was I going to find five parking spots?
We have owned several homes in pet-friendly gated communities in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, but it was the lure of the beach we wanted. The sand, the salt air, the ocean – feeling like we were on vacation all the time.
Years later, the kids had grown and moved out. We were down to our four-legged kids (always the dogs!) and the two of us. It was time to look at the beach again.
PET-FRIENDLY CONDO AT THE BEACH
We found a great pet-friendly condo at the beach. While we were talking with the agent, she told us this condo would accept one dog with a maximum weight of 60 lbs. Great, I said, I have two little ones that weigh a total of 16 lbs. This woman looked at me, dead serious, and said, “you can’t live here.”
I was speechless. Anyone who knows me knows I am rarely at a loss for words! I’m a New Yorker (although I’ve been in this area for 25 years) so things have to make sense. They need to add up. And this, made absolutely no sense to me.
Where was the rationale? What was the point? Who made this ridiculous rule? I could have one dog that weighed 60 lbs but not two with a combined total weight of 16 lbs? Genius.
No matter how I tried, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It was a no-brainer to me. The rules of this pet-friendly condo on the beach were totally absurd. But rules are rules, so we moved on from this dog-friendly condo at the beach to another dog-friendly gated community in Boca Raton.
I was incensed. I started to do research. Hours and hours of research on pet-friendly condos and acquainting myself with pet restrictions. As a retired court reporter in the days before Google (yes), I have done extensive research in order to get a transcript out that didn’t say (phonetic.) I worked until I got the spelling of whatever word I was looking for. So I was up to the task.
The more I read, the more I learned which condos in Boca Raton and Highland Beach allowed pets and which did not, which condos in Delray Beach allowed pets and which ones did not. Which ones had even more ridiculous rules such as allowing a bird or a fish and then calling it ‘pet friendly.’ And so I became a pet-friendly REALTOR® in Boca Raton.
PET RESTRICTIONS CAN CHANGE
Soon thereafter, I began to notice that different communities would update their rules and change their pet restrictions, from time to time. One waterfront condo went from two dogs with a maximum weight of 25 lbs to one dog maximum weight 25 lbs. Why? Who knows?
Another condo that originally allowed two pets now allows no pets. Why? The board voted it out. A pet-friendly 55+ gated community allowed two dogs up to 25 lbs each. All of a sudden, it was one dog up to 35 lbs.
I began compiling a list about 15 years ago which is a constant work in progress. I’ve spent countless hours reading. When a listing said “pets restricted,” I wanted and needed to know what that meant.
Did the condo or community restrict the number, breed or weight of the dogs or cats, or were pets restricted from the community altogether? Or was it another fish-and-bird restriction? Totally ridiculous.
I was on a mission to quickly becoming a pet-friendly REALTOR® in Boca Raton and the surrounding areas.
PET-FRIENDLY REALTOR® WOES
I used to work well into the night trying to put together a schedule for buyers. Imagine trying to plan a day with someone who has a beautiful Golden Retriever or two, and the listing says “pet restrictions.” And it’s midnight or 1:00 am. Even if I could call the agent at that hour, more often than not, they didn’t have a clue. It frustrated me.
Frustrated was not the word – it drove me crazy. How was I supposed to show pet-friendly condos or homes when I didn’t know the pet restrictions? Each time this happened, I researched more and more.
How would you feel if you fell in love with a home only to be told your beloved pet or pets were not welcome. Thank you. Exactly!
TALE OF THREE DACHSHUNDS
I learned that on-site managers or office personnel for the community could be and sometimes were wrong. Absolutely!
I remember an incident with a woman who had three dachshunds. She found me looking for a pet-friendly buyer’s agent to buy a home in a 55+ community in Delray Beach.
I checked with the office and was told two pets maximum, which I relayed to the buyer. She had three. She left south Florida disappointed because they wouldn’t accept her three small dogs.
Some time later, I was telling this story to a friend who lived in this same 55+ community. She went wild telling me the office manager was wrong. She then went down to the office to tell the office manager about the pet restrictions for the community. Here this woman was the office manager, and she didn’t have a clue what the pet restrictions were! Can you imagine?!
Or the time a buyer wanted to know if 3 lbs of dog was really too much in Boynton Beach. True story. Ask me about it!
HOW I BECAME A PET-FRIENDLY REALTOR®
Born out of my own frustrations, my love of dogs, cats and the law, it became a personal mission for me to help buyers looking for condos or homes with pets. I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s how I became a pet-friendly REALTOR®.
Buyers who were looking for pet-friendly homes in gated communities in Boca Raton, pet-friendly condos in Boca, Highland Beach and Delray Beach, both on and off the ocean, non-gated communities, anything that would accept their furry friends, and in the surrounding areas, as well.
Many people don’t realize non-gated communities often have pet restrictions too.
BUYERS WITH NO PETS
Do I work with buyers who have NO pets? Absolutely! You bet I do!
I realize people may be allergic, they may be frightened of cats and dogs, or they may not love animals as I do. And that’s perfectly fine. Whatever the reason, they’re entitled to their wants and needs too.
I am, and have always been, happy to work with pet-friendly buyers as well as non-pet-friendly buyers.
Being a pet-friendly REALTOR® is not as easy as it sounds, but it is rewarding. The time and effort put into research are well worth the smiles I see on my customer and client’s faces’ when we’ve found that perfect home. That’s when I know I’ve done my job well. That home or condo welcomes their beloved pets. After all, they are part of the family! (I told you at the beginning you’d find out quick enough!)
I don’t just throw out listings and hope something sticks. I must do the work and I’m honest. If I can’t help you, I’ll tell you. If it’s an impossibility to find a pet-friendly home in my area, I’ll tell you. Then I may send you to a colleague in another area that might be able to help. You and your precious pets are just too important.
And that is the story of how I became a pet-friendly REALTOR®.
MAP OF BOCA RATON
RELATED PET FRIENDLY ARTICLES
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- Should I Hire a Buyer’s Agent for New Construction