“Good luck with that!” Click. Beep beep beep beeeeep.
That was the response of one of the (almost 100) apartment managers that I called while searching for a place to rent. It wasn’t me that made it difficult to find a rental, it was my two dogs. Most apartments I’d found would allow one small dog, if that.
Eventually, we found a (less than desirable) place to live.
But, in order to find a long-term place that truly worked for me and my animals, I was going to have to buy a house.
This got me thinking: do people buy houses just for their pets?
As it turns out, they do! Let me explain.
Homebuyers absolutely buy homes with their pets in mind
When I asked Lori Crabtree, a real estate agent in Columbus, Ohio, if many of her clients bought homes with their pets in mind, she said, “Absolutely, yes.”
Crabtree’s own dog is featured in her marketing materials, and she understands what homebuyers with pets are looking for, because she was once a homebuyer considering her pets, as well.
Crabtree encourages homebuyers who consider their pets when making a home purchase, but reminds them, too:
“They’re [the homebuyer] probably going to live there longer than their pet depending on how old their pet is. Make sure it functions for them first and their pet second.”
Are Millennials buying homes more often than other generations?
A 2021 study by Apartment List concluded that over the past five years, the rate of Millennial homeownership has increased faster than previous generations.
Millennials want to buy homes.
Homeownership can quickly increase personal wealth, and no one can tell a homebuyer what type of breed or size of dog to own, a big plus for fur parents!
Are condos or single-family homes better for pet parents?
“With condo ownership, large dog breed restrictions can get tricky.”
A single-family home may be the best way to ensure a homebuyer and their pets get all their needs met.
What homebuyers with pets are looking for in a home
When homebuyers are looking for homes that function for both them and their pets, they’re often looking for specific amenities, especially if they’ve been living in smaller apartments for any length of time.
Somewhere to put the litter box
For homebuyers with cats (especially those who love to make a mess), a discreet place to put their litter box is a must. Crabtree says:
“For people with cats, who have been living in apartments, they’ve possibly been living with a litter box in their bedroom or bathroom or somewhere terribly inconvenient.
It is very important to them to have a space somewhere not inside the house proper to put the litter box.”
A fenced-in yard
A yard encapsulated in a secure chain link or privacy fence makes a safe space for dogs to romp, play, and do their business.
“For people with dogs, it’s more convenient to have a yard where they can open the door and let the dog out because it is a whole other life to take the dogs for walks.”
A walkable neighborhood
Although a fenced-in yard creates a lot of ease for the owner, dogs do love their walks, and a walkable neighborhood is high on the list of things home buyers are looking for.
A neighborhood with wide streets and well-maintained sidewalks is important for dog owners, and cat owners who leash up their felines and let them lead the way around the block.
A window to the neighborhood
Other considerations that Crabtree sees homebuyers take into account are the size and placement of windows.
“For cats, they consider the windows and what the cats will be looking out into, and easy places for dogs to look outside and be entertained during the day.”
Another consideration that pet-owning homebuyers make when looking for a home is the size and shape of the kitchen. As Crabtree said:
“Some are looking at kitchens with the thought of where they’re going to put the food and water bowls…especially if they’ve lived in a tiny apartment, that stuff is always under foot. They want to improve their space lives.”
That space can extend to utility space, as well. Crabtree has had clients ask questions like:
“Can a pet door be installed in the door or the wall so the cat can come and go as they please?”
Indoor play spaces
Homebuyers have a lot of space considerations to make, but besides the logistics of where their pets’ will potty or where they’ll put the food bowls, another space to keep in mind is where their pets will play when the weather is less than desirable outside.
This is why some buyers also think about square footage and how much free space is in each room of the house. After all, once your dog gets a case of the zoomies, it can be hard to convince them not to run.
What homebuyers should keep in mind
The cost of owning a pet
A home purchase is a big expense, but so is pet ownership.
The annual cost of pet ownership is something to take into consideration when making a budget that includes your mortgage and other line items, such as possible healthcare costs for your furry friend and insurance for your home.
Medical expenses for a pet can add up quickly, along with food and grooming costs. After all, in a 2020 study released by research firm, Mintel, 47% of U.S. pet owners claimed that they would go into debt to pay for their pets’ medical care.
With proper insurance, they wouldn’t have to.
Companies like Lemonade offer pet insurance for as low as $10 a month, and homeowners can get an additional 10% off their pet insurance if they insure their home with Lemonade, too.
One fixed expense that a homebuyer acquires when purchasing a home is the cost to insure that home. While it might not seem obvious, this expense is a factor in purchasing a home, too!
On the off chance that all those play spaces are destroyed by fire, there’s a substantial cost to replace them. Homeowner insurance is the price to pay for peace of mind should the roof be damaged by wind or the basement flood for lack of proper drainage.
Not to mention, you will want to shop around for homeowners insurance to make sure that you are getting the best rate, especially if your furry friend tends to be on the “restricted” list.
Do homebuyers buy homes with their pets in mind? Yes! But if they are home shopping and on the lookout for their pets’ next palace, they have some other things to consider, as well.
Sure, that window and space for a pet door are great, but making sure that your home and your pets both have proper insurance is an important budget consideration in the homebuying process.