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Most Households Have a Pet Heres How They Impact Real Estate

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. households have a pet. Here's how pets impact real estate for sellers, buyers, and industry professionals.

October 13, 2021
October 13, 2021
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Home prices, interest rates, and inventory all have a marked effect on homebuying. But there’s one silent – or sometimes not-so-silent – homebuying influence that often goes unmentioned: Pets.

Sixty-three percent of U.S. households currently have a pet and another 3% plan to get one, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors®. And these pets have a substantial impact on how people buy and sell homes.

In fact, 43% of households would be willing to move in order to accommodate a pet even though the most desirable pet features – a fenced yard, more square footage, and pet-friendly flooring – add to a home’s purchase price.

For buyers, sellers, or real estate professionals, the impact of pets on homebuying merits consideration.

What pet owners look for in a home

With nearly two-thirds of households owning or planning to own a pet, pet owners make up a substantial portion of homebuyers.

According to the NAR, a median of 38% of homebuyers owned a pet, companion animal, or service animal. One percent of all homebuyers listed desire for a better home for their pet(s) as a top reason for buying a home.

That may sound insignificant, but 18% of Realtors® said they’ve had clients who were moving primarily for their animal. And pets ranked right alongside these reasons for buying a home:

Primary reason for home purchase Percent of homebuyers
Establish a household3%
Desire to be closer to job/school/transit3%
Desire for newly-/custom-built home2%
Affordability of homes2%
Financial security2%
Desire for better home for pet(s)1%

Pets have an even larger impact on picking a neighborhood. Sixty-eight percent of Realtors® had clients whose homebuying decisions were influenced by community animal policies.

In fact, recent homebuyers ranked convenience to vet/outdoor space for pets higher than convenience to health facilities for themselves.

Neighborhood feature Percent of homebuyers
Availability of larger lots/acreage20%
Convenient to vet/outdoor space for pet18%
Convenient to health facilities15%
Access to bike paths9%
Convenient to airport8%

The most important real estate features for homebuyers with pets are:

  • Fenced yard (49%)
  • Large enough home for household & pet (27%)
  • Flooring (24%)

As a pet owner and homebuyer, you're almost guaranteed to consider how your new home will affect your pet. An astounding 95% of pet owners, in fact, look for amenities that will suit their pets when looking for a home, according to a study.

And if you need extra square footage for Fido, be prepared to pay. Redfin says the average price per square foot across all metros it tracks increased from roughly $170 last October to $197 this year. An extra 100 or 200 square feet doesn't come cheap.

Still, it's safe to say that homebuyers would happily pay more for House A than House B if it better suited their furry friend.

Related: October Is the Best Month to Buy a Home, Sales Data Shows

Selling a home with a pet

Pets also influence people trying to sell their homes. Pet features may be a selling point for buyers, but signs of sellers actually owning pets seem to be a turn-off. Realtors® recommend removing pets during showings more often than landscaping, making minor repairs, or getting professional photos.

Home improvement recommendation for sellers Percent of Realtors® that recommend it
Remove pets during showings80%
Minor repairs75%
Painting walls68%
Landscape outdoor area68%
Professional photos60%

Pets are in nearly two-thirds of U.S. households, and they have a substantial impact on how people buy and sell homes. Homebuyers should be ready to spend more for a home and yard that accommodates their pet(s), and sellers should be ready to cover up the presence of their animal companions.

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