by Kathryn Holt for San Diego Premier Magazine
The Pet Effect: The Increasing Demand for Pet Friendly Properties
Animal lovers are a special breed of people, there’s no doubt about it. And, this love seems to be steadily expanding as increasing numbers of Home Buyers affirm that they consider their pets to be a high priority when it comes to purchasing a new home.
Studies/surveys conducted by a variety of sources including Packaged Facts Research and the Harris Poll, state the following:
- 89% of pet owners say they would not give up their pet due to a housing restriction
- 81% of Americans say their pets play a role in their housing situation
- 31% of animal owners have refused to put in an offer on a home because it wasn’t a good fit for their animals
- 19% of Americans say they would consider moving for their pet
- 12% percent have moved for their pet
To non-pet people these stats may sound slightly absurd, however, that’s only the half of it … Home Sellers and Home Builders are also jumping on board, discovering that pets can be an asset to selling a home, and the numbers prove it. Currently, 68% of US households (or, 85 million families) consist of pets and their humans. According to the 2018 National Pet Owners Survey, more than 85% of these pet owners say they consider their animal to be FAMILY. Additionally, research by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) confirms that there are many aspects of the home buying, selling and home ownership experience that have been greatly impacted by our love of our pets.
States NAR President, William Brown,
“It is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to home ownership. Realtors® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are a part of their family.”
In today’s competitive real estate market, it’s not enough for Realtors® to merely accept a Home Buyer’s commitment to their pet(s) but, rather, they need to embrace it. In my case, focusing on my client’s passion for pets can be an asset when it comes to selling their home. For instance, one of the services I offer my Sellers is preparing their home for the market, which can include staging. When applicable, I like to subtly (- and not so subtly -) show off a home’s pet-friendly features. Not only can this help to set the home apart from all the competition on the market … it can also create an emotional connection. There’s a relatability factor among animal (and, in particular, dog) lovers, which enables both parties to understand one another and appreciate their unique requirements.
Furthermore, the increasing pet-loving demographic of Home Buyers is something I like to keep in mind regarding marketing a property. Ideally, Sellers want to highlight the aspects of their home that make it particularly pet appealing. Doing so will help you to stand out to the millions of pet-friendly parents searching for their dream home, whether that pet is a dog, cat, horse, pot-bellied pig, alpaca or 100-pound tortoise. If you’re thinking this is a passing trend, think again. New home builders are jumping on board and have begun designing homes with special pet features, including: pet-friendly floor plans, cozy nooks (for beds & supplies), built-in doggy doors, and retractable pet gates discreetly tucked inside door jams, all as a way to attract pet-friendly buyers and meet their needs.
High on the list of desirable pet-friendly features are:
- 91% of pet owners ranked a fully fenced-in backyard as the most important feature of a home to accommodate their pet
- 71% of pet owners rank the proximity to dog parks, walking trails and pet-friendly beaches as the most important feature of a neighborhood they would consider moving to
- 31% of pet owners also consider the location and distance to veterinarians, groomers, and pet supply stores
At a time when the real estate industry is becoming increasingly desensitized and impersonal, Buyers and Sellers can take comfort in knowing that there’s still a lot of heart in real estate investing … And it begins with focusing on the things that make a house feel more like a home.
Kathryn Holt Realtor® & Design Specialist Specializing in Pet Friendly Properties