Whose house is it, anyway?

If you’re like many of us, your home is ruled by your four-legged friends. But they couldn’t influence your home buying and remodeling decisions … could they? A lot more than you might think, says a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

In fact, a whopping 81 percent of people responding to a NAR survey said animal-related issues play an important part in choosing their next living situation.

Pet owners are a passionate bunch. 99 percent said they consider their animals part of the family, and 89 percent said they wouldn’t give them up because of housing restrictions or limitations. (Are you listening, condo associations?) 12 percent said they’ve actually moved to accommodate their pets, and 19 percent said they’d consider doing it in the future.

Pets play a big role with real estate professionals, too. Those in the survey said a full third of their pet-owning clients often refuse to make an offer on a home because it’s not ideal for their pets. At least the Realtors can relate; 80 percent of those in the survey said they’re animal lovers, and 68 percent had pets of their own. Twelve percent actually volunteer for organizations that help animals, and 21 percent said they plan to in the future.

The actual dwelling itself isn’t the only issue. Sixty-two percent of U.S. households say it’s very or somewhat important to be in a neighborhood with animal-friendly amenities. Fifty-four percent want to be near a walking path, 49 percent near a pet store, and 37 percent near grooming services.

Even after the home transaction is closed, pets rule. Half of all survey respondents said they’d completed a home renovation project solely to accommodate pets. Of those, 23 percent built fences around their yards, 12 percent added dog doors, and 10 percent installed laminate flooring.

Pets stick their noses into the selling process as well. 67 percent of real estate professionals said they tell owners with pets to replace anything that’s been damaged by an animal, have their homes cleaned to get rid of pet scents, and remove Duke from the house during open houses and showings.

The power of pets isn’t going to lessen anytime soon. Six out of ten US households either have a pet or plan to get one. Canines are the clear favorite; 83 percent of pet owners report sharing their space with a dog. 43 percent of them cater to a cat. Then there are birds, reptiles, small mammals, fish, farm animals ... it gives a whole new meaning to home life being a zoo.

Read more at NAR
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