Its easy to get excited about the perfect condo when searching for a home, but condos have many moving parts. One of the most important, and often overlooked issues, are the HOA rules and regulations, particularly as they relate to pets and non-owner occupied units.
Some communities restrict all pets, others allow only cats, and some have weight or breed restrictions for dogs. The Puget Sound region is rated as one of the top in dog ownership in the country – don’t fall in love with a condo only to discover your family pet isn’t welcome. Pet restrictions can (and do) have an impact on resale – buyers may eliminate communities that won’t permit them to bring four legged family members.
Rental restrictions need to be disclosed and understood up front as well. If purchasing a condo as an investment, or if you hope to rent down the road, research and understand community rental restrictions or limitations on use. Sellers should disclose rental or use restrictions at the time a property is listed for sale to avoid buyer misunderstandings, delays in closing or a failed transaction.
Condos have many moving parts. Work with an industry expert who knows the local market and is familiar with the rules and regulations that apply to ownership in specific communities. A condo expert can help you find the right condo and community for your lifestyle and investment goals and guide you through the issues specific to condominiums and HOAs.
The sun is out, temperatures are well above freezing, we’re half way through the football season (GO HAWKS!) and the holidays are just around the corner. Also just around the corner is the potential for wind, heavy rain and even snow that could leave many without power, access to transportation, stores and services.
You can’t predict this winter’s weather, but you can take steps to be prepared in the event you find yourself in a dark house with no power for hours or days. Now is the time to put together a “go bag” or basic survival kit that has more than flashlights (no doubt with dead batteries) and bottled water. Plan to assemble an emergency kit with enough supplies to help you get through 3 days.
FIRST AID KIT – the basics should include bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, anti-inflammatory and pain reliever medications (Tylenol or Advil), antacid, antibiotic ointment. Prescription medications should be clearly labeled.
FLASHLIGHTS – multiple flashlights or camping lanterns and extra fresh batteries.
CANDLES – don’t forget lighters or matches.
BATTERY POWERED RADIO – having access to area information (and entertainment) is important – some battery powered radios have outlets for charging cell phones.
BOTTLED WATER – stock plenty of water for family members and pets. Sports drinks are good to have for replenishing electrolytes.
FOOD – stock nonperishable, easy to prepare snacks and meals (dried fruit, peanut butter, granola bars, canned vegetables, nuts, canned tuna, soup, etc.). DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE A CAN OPENER. If you have a gas cooktop in your home, the burners can be lit with a lighter or match to facilitate cooking.
SPECIAL ITEMS FOR INFANTS – formula, food, diapers & wipes, baby pacifiers
PET SUPPLIES – pack food and water, extra leashes, any medications your pet may need, contact information for your vet.
CASH – if there’s a widespread power outage ATMs and credit card machines won’t operate. Stores may be able to operate on a limited basis with generators but will be cash only. Keep cash on hand to purchase food, buy gas for the car.
IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS – have hard copies or digital access to medical records, driver’s license, social security numbers, etc.
HYGIENE PRODUCTS – toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine products, body-cleansing wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper & tissue.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS – space limitations may impact what you can keep on hand. It helps to know where extra blankets or sleeping bags are stored. If you have children it helps to keep them entertained or distracted from the situation with coloring books, cards, puzzles, etc.
If you live in the city you may be able to walk to services and amenities during a power outage but remember, elevators won’t be working, so you may find yourself confined to the upper floor of a building or face walking dozens of flights of stairs to exit your building. Its definitely worth it to plan and prepare for the worst and hope that bad weather and power outages skip us this winter.
If you’ve walked around Bellevue or Seattle lately you’ve probably noticed there are more dogs – and owners – living downtown. More than half of U.S. households own a pet and those pets are definitely part of the family.
For many buyers having a park or dog-friendly area near their home ranks high in sought-after amenities. Condo and apartment developers have embraced this trend, incorporating dog relief areas, dog grooming stations and safe pet play areas in their communities. Dedicated pet suites are sometimes offered an upgrade for interior spaces.
Condos don’t often have the luxury of extra square footage to dedicate to your furry family member but its easy to create space for organizing your pet’s “stuff” without breaking the bank or turning the living room over to Fido. A whimsical set of small drawers in the utility room or other small nook in the home can hold pet grooming tools, foul weather gear, treats, food, leash and harness, etc. If space is tight decorative hooks by the door or in a closet can organize dog leashes and coats.
Pet friendly communities are in high demand. If you’re selling your condo and your community permits pets, let buyers know their four legged family members are welcome. You don’t need to create a luxury pet spa but now would be the time to buy a new cat/dog bed, replace old bowls with a colorful matching set and organize toys in an attractive basket. Even if you don’t own a pet, investing a few dollars in pet staging items can let buyers know as soon as they enter that Fido and Fluffy are welcome.