Dogs are man's best friend, but how far does that friendship go? You may not realize how important pets truly are to their owners until you look at their real estate behavior. For many, furry companions play a significant role in the home-buying process, reports a recent study conducted by realtor.com® in collaboration with Harris Research.
According to the report, the majority of surveyed buyers—80 percent of 1,000-plus individuals who closed on a home in 2018—are pet owners. Most (64 percent) own a dog, while 41 percent are cat owners, 12 percent have birds and 11 percent own fish.
A glaring observation? Age plays a role. The younger demographic tends to lean toward pet ownership. Eighty-nine percent of 18- to 34-year-old respondents to the study have pets, while only 63 percent of surveyed buyers aged over 55 are pet owners.
Pets as a priority range from heavily considered to only casually or not at all involved during the home search. Most respondents who own pets ranked their animals' needs during their home search as "very important" or "important" (48 and 39 percent, respectively). This is more common in families with children (89 percent) than without (72 percent). Only a small minority of respondents (7 percent) said their pets' needs did not impact their home-search process.
Just how large an influence are these beloved companions? Seventy-five percent of surveyed homebuyers would go as far as giving up their dream home if it did not meet their pets' needs. Older respondents, however, did not feel as strongly—only 64 percent of surveyed buyers over 55 heavily considered their pets' needs, while 79 percent were in the 18-34 age bracket.
Pet owners have their own list of deal-breakers when home shopping with furry friends in mind. A large yard wins out as the most sought-after amenity (voted in by 45 percent of respondents). Other must-haves include outdoor space (36 percent), a garage (33 percent), large square footage (29 percent), a dog run (26 percent), sturdy flooring (26 percent) and close proximity to outdoor spaces (25 percent).
While there is a difference between type of pet and how much their needs are prioritized, respondents owned all types of animals, including horses, rodents, reptiles, fish and birds. The overwhelming majority of homebuyers who search for pet-specific amenities during their search are dog owners (90 percent), with cat owners coming in close behind (87 percent).
"It's heartwarming to find that people will put their pets' needs first, even when it comes to one of the biggest financial decisions they will ever make," says Nate Johnson, chief marketing officer for realtor.com. "This survey shows that we really do consider pets part of the family—and that their needs are a critical part of finding the perfect home."
For more information, please visit www.realtor.com.