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Financial Fitness

How Pets Influence Homebuying Decisions


Must-Have Home Features for Pet Owners

A popular adage states that only three things matter when buying real estate: location, location, location. That was always an oversimplification (um, home price and amenities?), but now a surprising new priority has emerged: pets, pets, pets.

When it comes to buying a home, pets are in the driver’s seat, particularly dogs. How prevalent is this change? A study by the National Association of Realtors® showed that a whopping 43% of American households would consider moving or otherwise changing their living situations to accommodate a pet. Even more striking? Of the Realtors surveyed, 18% had represented clients whose moves were dictated entirely by their pets’ needs.[1]

So, what features are pet owners most interested in?

Dog-friendly backyards.

For the majority of animal-loving homebuyers, a fence is their top priority.[1] After all, even the best trained pup can wander away in search of a stray ball or pesky squirrel. Beyond that, room to play a spirited game of fetch or learn some tricks is crucial.

Neighborhoods fit for a dog.

Wide sidewalks for walks, trees for shade, and access to parks or trails can make the difference between a “Sign on the dotted line” and “Next, please.”

Indoor spaces that meet pet-specific needs.

Owners of senior dogs might prefer a home without stairs, while cat owners might be on the lookout for out-of-the-way space for a litter box. Convenient space for feeding is also a plus, as anyone who has accidentally stepped in a water bowl can attest. Beyond that, pet owners look for room for toys, beds, and equipment (travel crates, harnesses, pet grooming products, etc.).

Location, location, location.

Okay, this still counts … but for different reasons. Pet owners are looking for convenient access to pet supply stores, groomers, veterinarians, and emergency animal hospitals, and 18% of owners surveyed listed this as one of the most important factors for them.[1] Of course, proximity to a dog park is the Holy Grail for canine owners.

Durable floors.

White carpets + muddy paws = disaster. Pet owners want to enjoy their fur babies, not worry about carpet stains or floor scratches that can’t be buffed out. Tile, laminate, vinyl, or concrete floors can take anything a pet can dish out, including the occasional accident.

Room to roam inside.

A Great Dane is not going to be happy in a tiny space, and neither will its owners. Ditto for the proud parent of a clowder of cats. (Who knew there was a fancy word for “many” cats?)

Cleanup space.

Whether it’s a mudroom for cleaning off messy paws, a utility sink for cleaning cages or tanks, or even a walk-in shower for dogs, space for animal hygiene is a huge plus for pet parents.


[1] Animal House: Pets in the Home Buying and Selling Process, National Association of Realtors®, April 2020.

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