Please drive around Costa Mesa and see for yourself what areas appear to be pet friendly and whether people are walking their dogs. I believe you will be impressed in a positive way.
Harrison K. Long, Explore Group Properties. http://www.ExploreTheOC.com
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There are some very nice options in Costa Mesa and surrounding communities where the HOA's Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) allow for pets. I have a great listing in Laguna Niguel where pets are allowed.
I live in a condo myself and have chosen not to have pets just because I feel they need more space than my patio offers. So, you'll have to limit your search to those condos where a) pets are allowed and b) where you feel comfortable as a pet owner that the space available is sufficient for your pets to have a great life.
With some good househunting and staying on top of the market, you may even be able to locate a nice single family home with a yard for your dogs. It all depends on your price range.
Also, consider first-time buyer programs if this is your first home. They exist at the state and local level (though the state's programs are limited right now due to budget constraints), and the assistance amounts can help you afford more home and possibly a single family home if that is something you'd be interested in.
Contact me if you're interested in finding out more details about such programs and your options in Costa Mesa.
Prudential California Realty
Different condo association have different rules known as CC&R's. Some allow one pet, some two or more, some none, some depend upon the size of the animal.
Whether or not it will be a problem will depend on the CC&R's so it's something you will want to verify before you get too far into the process on a particular home. Often the owner will know the rules, though if it's a bank owned home, you will likely have to get the CC&R's as the bank probably won't know.
There are some associations where that likely won't be a problem. Though some of it will depend on the size of the dog. When you say medium size, are you talking about 35-40 pounds or something else?
If you would like help finding the right association, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 714-319-9751.
What kind of dogs do you have? Actually in Costa Mesa there are some older condos which have some nice patios.....Depending on your price range, there might even be some small homes with great yards.
Why don't you email me and give me a better idea of price, size, and kind of dog and your yard needs and I can send you some listings back to drive by.