Animal House: Pets in the Home Buying and Selling Process

A home purchase can be one of the largest a household makes. A number of factors must be considered throughout the home buying and selling process, including all members of the household, even pets. This report analyzes REALTOR® recommendations and actions taken by home buyers and sellers to best accommodate their pets and present their homes in the best light, despite effects from their furry family members.

Home Searches and Pets

Sixty-six percent of U.S. households currently have a pet or plan to get one in the future, proving that pets and their effects on a home, various belongings/toys, and accommodations must be considered for a majority of households. Additionally, 43% of households would be willing to move to better accommodate their pet(s), demonstrating that this is a priority among consumers. A small percentage, one percent, of recent home buyers said they were prompted to make their purchase by the desire for a better home for their pet(s). When searching for a new home, consumers don’t only look for pet-friendly features within the home; 18% of recent home buyers said it was very important that their new neighborhood is convenient to a vet and/or outdoor space for their pet(s). This is important to consider when marketing a home for sale as potential considerations from prospective buyers.

Bar graph: Pet ownership

Given their prevalence, REALTORS® must be equipped to advise their clients regarding their pets throughout the buying and selling process. Within the past year, a median of 38% of members’ clients have owned a pet, companion animal, or service animal; and 18% of members have represented clients that have moved solely for their animal. Pets are not only important to members professionally, but also personally. Eighty-one percent of REALTORS® consider themselves animal lovers. Additionally, 14% of members volunteer for an organization that helps animals. Among those who consider themselves animal lovers and/or volunteer at an animal organization, 13% advertise this to potential clients.

Community Policies and Pets

Not only do pets influence certain aspects sought after in homes themselves, but also in communities: 68% of REALTORS®’ clients say that the animal policy influenced their decision to rent/buy in a particular community. These animal guidelines are an important aspect to consider in a home purchase, as it can include a significant added expense. The typical annual pet fee for REALTORS®’ clients in single family homes/townhouses and Condos/Co-Ops is $300, compared to $400 in rental units. When finding a home for their clients, the most important feature to members’ clients in terms of their animals’ situation is a fenced yard, followed by a large enough home for the household and pet, and flooring.

Pets and Home Showings

Pets also come into play when REALTORS® are advising in selling a home. The most common pet-related change members make to their seller clients is taking the animal(s) out for showings, followed by replacing anything damaged by the pet(s). Eighty percent of REALTORS® recommend that their clients remove pets during showings when selling their home. While they may not be the top priority for home buyers and sellers, pets are an important aspect and must not be forgotten.

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