Out of the Dog House: Pet Owners Are Buying Homes More Than Ever

Cat and puppy, pets together on a lawn

Our furry friends (or scaly friends, for you reptile owners) bring immense joy to our lives. In fact, according to a 2015 Harris poll, 95% of owners think of their animal as a member of their family – especially Millennials. However, living with pets in your home can also be a burden, especially if you’re renting. Many pet owners have been motivated to purchase a home to avoid those potential issues and to give their beloved animals a better place to live. Here’s a look into why we see this increase in pet owners looking to own their homes.

A couple at home with their pets

The challenges of renting with pets

Pet ownership is a big responsibility and it can be quite challenging when renting is involved. We all know that pets make the house feel like a home, but they also add complexity when you have to rent. For example, if you live in an apartment building, you have to worry about taking your dog out regularly, and every time they bark, you may be worried about them bothering your neighbors through your shared wall. Cats have been known to destroy carpet or scratch up doors, which can mean losing your deposit on a rental.

Beyond those issues, it’s not easy to find a home that allows pets in the first place. Many rental properties are not pet-friendly since they don’t want to be on the hook for restoring a home after the pets move out. This may leave pet-owning families scrambling to find a home that will suit all of their needs. These challenges of renting definitely play a part in the shift toward homeownership for people with pets.

A happy cat under a blanket

Pets and our mental health

Why do so many pet owners want to provide a better home for their animals? Because they provide a better life for us. It’s true: studies prove that owning a pet improves our mental health. Naturally, we want to be able to give them a great life in a home that is perfect for them.

Whether it’s a dog, cat, rabbit, horse, fish, or even bugs, countless studies show that pets help our state of mind. Pet owners are often happier and more connected because they have someone who cares about them unconditionally. Pets provide unconditional love which can be very supportive when people need it the most. They also help reduce stress levels by acting as a distraction from life’s difficulties.

People who have pets tend to have lower blood pressure, heart rate, and heart-disease risk than those who don’t. Even the act of petting an animal has been proven to almost instantly reduce anxiety symptoms. So it’s no wonder that when it comes to our pets, we want to return the love they show us and provide the best homes we can for them.

A hamster pet at home

Millennials and their pets, by the numbers

Millennials (now the largest generation in America, outnumbering Boomers) love their pets – in fact, according to a recent study, 76% of them are pet parents. Compare that data with the fact that a whopping 89% of Millennial homeowners have pets, and it’s clear there is a correlation.

We know that Millennials are putting off marriage and having children more than the previous generations did. It would seem that owning a pet is the chosen stepping stone for Millennials before taking on the responsibility of parenting. A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors showed that 43% of pet parents would be willing to move just to accommodate their pet(s).

What’s more: the pandemic upped adoptions of both cats and dogs significantly, and with many people working from home, they spent more time with their animals, which 42% of pet owners said has made them feel closer to their pets. This increase in ownership, plus time spent, shows a promising likelihood of more Millennials making the switch to buying homes soon.

A cute pug lounges at home, one of the most popular pets

What makes a purr-fect pet home

Almost 1 in 5 recent home buyers said that it was highly important that a home be convenient for their pet, whether that means near to a veterinarian or a place with ample outdoor space. If you’re hoping to find a place that is a better fit for your furry kids, let your real estate agent know this is high on your priority list. Chances are they’ve already helped others find something like this, too.

What should a home include to be a happy place for your pup or kitty? Easy-care flooring should be high on the list. Accidents happen, and chances are your pets also have little scratchy claws that can damage your flooring. Skip the carpet that traps pet hair and odor and opt for laminate, tile, or vinyl.

If you’re looking to live in an urban area, you may want to make sure you’re within walking distance of a pet-friendly park and a pet shop. Other features in your home to consider might be a pet washing station or mudroom, play space for them to run around and keep their toys, storage solutions, doggy doors, and maybe homes without stairs if that would be difficult for your pet to navigate.

Are you looking for a new house that will make a happy home for you AND your pets? Our agents are ready to help you find the perfect place. Click here to find an agent to begin the search with!

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