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Daily Real Estate News  |  July 26, 2007  |   'Pet-Friendly' Becomes Marketing Buzz Word
Niche marketing is common in the real estate industry, with agents specializing in meeting the needs of first-time buyers, seniors, and non-English-speaking buyers.

A number of property professionals now are branding themselves as "pet-friendly," citing research from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association that animals have a place in 63 percent of the nation's households.

Spacious yards and condominiums that allow pets are moving closer to the top of buyers' lists of priorities. According to Chicago-based agent Mario Greco, clients often refuse to consider buildings that do not accept animal companions.

The trend is changing, however, with more landlords allowing pets in rental units and new condo complexes offering dog-walking and pet-sitting services. Agents are using such niches to their advantage to generate business in a slow market.

Buyers "want to work with people they have a connection with," says Linda Lamb of the Pet Realty Network in Chicago, who features the photo on her business cards and brochures.

Real estate coach Bernice Ross, however, says incorporating pet photos on professional materials may be overkill. "Because you're an animal lover, does that mean you have real estate expertise, that you're going to be a good negotiator?" she asks. "Name one Fortune 500 company, unless they're selling dog food, that has a dog on their business cards."

Source: Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger (07/22/07)

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