I come from a family of dog lovers! My dad worked for the Honolulu Police Department’s K9 Corp and we lived with many German Shepherds. My mom loves to say I had many “four-legged brothers and sisters” even though I am technically an only child. I thought my upbringing was unique, but apparently, I am not alone. According to the Hawaiian Humane Society, over 60% of Oahu households have pets like dogs, cats, or birds. That’s much higher than the rest of the United States, FYI. I’m betting you are part of that majority and looking to buy a pet-friendly condominium on Oahu? So it’s important to know which ones are pet friendly BEFORE stepping foot into any potential properties.
How to Find a Pet-Friendly Condo
What’s the best way to do that? Be selective about who you choose as your real estate agent. I’m sure you have many friends, family, and even co-workers that have their real estate licenses. Interview them and ask about their process. Choose an agent that invests time up-front in getting to know you and customizes their process for your specific needs. One that helps you identify your wants vs needs, makes sure you are ready financially, educates you on your local market and the sales process, and prepares you for contract strategies and negotiations. Think “trusted advisor” not “salesperson.” An experienced agent will know that our MLS cannot filter by pet-friendly listings but there are several public resources available to identify pet-friendly condominiums:
1. Check the Hawaiian Humane Society Website
This is a good first step when looking at property online. Under Resources, Pets in Housing has a list of pet-friendly buildings. Keep in mind this list does not guarantee a condominium is pet-friendly though.
2. Ask the Listing Agent
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Of course, the listing agent HAS to know. But word-of-mouth can be the least reliable source of information so never solely rely on MLS listings, agents, or residents for the current pet policy. Especially if they haven’t referenced a recent set of condominium documents. Trust but verify.
3. Check the Condominium Documents
This is THE best way to determine if a condominium is pet-friendly. Check both the bylaws and/or house rules, if applicable. But don’t be surprised if the condo docs aren’t available when the property hits the market. That’s a fairly common practice in Hawaii. Just be prepared to do more digging if the listing agent can’t verify the pet policy.
4. Google the Condominium Name
Many property management companies now host association websites to provide access to common documents like the house rules. But if there is no website, a google search will at least return the property manager’s company name and contact information. From there, call the property manager (not to be confused with a resident, building, or on-site manager, that’s later) and ask for a copy of the house rules/current pet policy.
5. Deep Dive into a Hawaii Government Website
If tips 1 through 4 haven’t worked out but you’re determined to find out if your dream condo allows both Fifi & Fido before going there in person? Well then, it’s time to dig deeper. This next tip is not for the casual scroller, so skip it if you’re not into sifting through pages of old documents. Still here?! OK, let’s go: Navigate to the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs Developer’s Public Report/Association Biennial Registration website. Search for the project name. The results will include any developer’s public reports and the last biennial registration filed with the state. Look for any bylaws or house rules or pet restrictions. Some older developments may not have filed bylaws or house rules in which case this resource would be a bust.
6. Call a Manager or Board Member
If tip 5 was a skip or a bust, the same State of Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs Developer’s Public Report/Association Biennial Registration website search will give you access to the condominium association’s biennial registration. This registration typically contains the names and contact information of the building or on-site manager and board members. If you can’t get a call back from the property manager or site manager then give a board member a call and ask about the pet policy or for a copy of the house rules. Be polite and patient as most condominium board members are volunteers.
6. Wait Until Purchase Contract Acceptance
Hawaii’s Purchase Contract clearly states it is mandatory as required by Hawaii law that the seller provides the buyer with all applicable documentation during a sale. But that means unless you do your own research up-front, there is a possibility that all efforts and monies spent getting an offer accepted and on inspections may end up going to waste if you then find the house rules state the pet policy is “1 dog under 35-lb per unit” when your family consists of 2 fur babies.
So there you have it! My seven simple tips to determine if a property is pet-friendly. Wait, what? That wasn’t simple at all. Maybe it feels simple because it is part of what I do for a living. In that case, my best advice is still this: Work with a trusted real estate advisor, that’s why we’re here. To help our clients (and their fur-babies) find a pawesome pet-friendly pad in paradise so you enjoy everything our island has to offer – together.