Finding a Pet-Friendly Condo/Coop in Westchester NY – It isn’t easy, but it can be done….

Real Estate Sales Representative with Prudential Serls Prime Properties

I am reposting because I know it can be discouraging for dog owners.  This however, is great to know.

Original content by Ruthmarie Hicks


Charlie at home in pet-friendly condoLast year around March a young couple called me up seeking a buyer’s agent.  They were about to get married and they wanted to buy either a coop or condominium.  We were at the height of the credit crisis but they  were in great shape to make that first purchase and so we went on our way.

There was one distinct caveat…they wanted to a dog – and they wanted a German Shepherd.  Now this is a challenge.  But let’s face it – I’m a sucker for anyone with a dog.  After all, I have three goodly sized canines myself in the form of 2 Siberian Huskies and a Husky/Cattle Dog mix.

Dogs are tough sale to condo and cooperative boards:

But here are the facts: Its tough enough to find a condo or cooperative that will accept dogs – but  a German Shepherd is much tougher.  Even if the complex accepts larger dogs many are restrictive with respect to breeds.  The German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Akita, Pit Bull, and from time to time my beloved Siberian Huskies are often on the chopping block specifically by condo and coop boards.   Why?  These dogs are supposedly known to have attitude problems such as a tendency to attack/bite, over-protectiveness and the like.

To me, as an animal person who understands dogs quite well – (I’ve lived with 8 dogs over the course of my life)  I think that boards would do better to concentrate their efforts on the individual dog and its owner rather than the breed itself.  After all, dogs, like their human counterparts have individual personalities.  My two pure huskies are like night and day personality wise.   The owner also plays their part.  Aneglectful owner who doesn’t care about those living around them can turn the sweetest and most agreeable dog into a nightmare for his neighbors.

For Buyers with dogs – flexibility is an absolute must:

For Allison and Frank, it was slow going.  The readily expanded their geography to accommodate  the dog.  We toured complexes in White Plains, Pelham, New Rochelle, Scarsdale, Hartsdale,  Dobbs Ferry and Tuckahoe in search of a condo or coop. We had some false starts – one where we got to inspection and there were too many problems.  It took a WHILE.   But we eventually found a great unit for them to call home.  I have to say of this couple that they had forbearance.  It was the height of the loan logjam and getting to a closing table was like living a nightmare. Closing dates got cancelled over and over – generally over “one sheet of paper.”  But eventually we closed and they were able to move in.

I got an update in the fall…they have a new addition to the family named  “Charlie.” A German Shepherd puppy.  So now the family of three are settled in their pet-friendly home.  Of course Charlie will never know what his parents went through to provide him with a roof over his head, but I’m sure he will pay them back handsomely with the unconditional love that pets bring to their owners.

There is a lesson here for people with pets.  As you can see from the geography we covered, there is a need for flexibility when you have a pet.  This is particularly true for multiple dogs or/and a large breed – particularly if its a breed that is traditionally “problematic.”  It CAN work, but the first priority has to be whether the pet will be accepted.  If you want your pets – you have to start there and then try to work in other things that are on your wish list.

© 2010 Ruthmarie G. Hicks,  All rights reserved.

Finding a Pet-Friendly Condo/Coop in Westchester NY – It isn’t easy, but it can be done….


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