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One of the family: Three-quarters of home buyers would pass up dream home for pets’ needs 

New survey data from realtor.com®, The Home of Home Search℠, found that pet owners will do almost anything for their furry friends – including forgoing their dream home. Specifically, 75 percent of pet-owning home buyers said they would pass on an otherwise-perfect home if it wasn’t right for their animals.

“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,” said 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.”

The online survey of more than 1,000 people who closed on a home in 2018 was conducted in July by Harris Research.

Vast majority of home buyers have pets

Among the home buyers surveyed, 80 percent reported owning pets. Dogs were the most common pet (64 percent), followed by cats (41 percent), birds (12 percent), and fish (11 percent).

Younger buyers were more likely to be pet owners, with 89 percent of 18 – 34 year-olds reporting ownership of pets, compared to 63 percent of buyers 55 and older. People with children also were more likely to own pets (91 percent, compared to 57 percent of those without children).

Pets have a major impact on the home-search process

The survey found that 87 percent of pet owners took their beloved critters’ needs into account when they were looking for a home. Nearly 90 percent of pet-owning buyers said that their animals’ needs were important or very important in their home-search process (39 and 48 percent, respectively). Only 7 percent said their needs were unimportant.

This was especially true for younger pet-owning buyers and buyers with children, the overwhelming majority of which said that their pets’ needs were an important part of the home search process (91 percent of 18 – 34 year-olds and 90 percent of 35 – 54 year-olds), compared to 64 percent of 55+ buyers. Similarly, 89 percent of people with children said their pets’ needs were important, compared to 72 percent of those without children.

It’s not just dogs and cats that influence home-purchasing decisions: The survey found that even pets like fish, birds, rodents, and reptiles have a roughly similar impact. An overwhelming majority of dog owners (90 percent) and cat owners (87 percent) said their pets’ needs were important or very important during their home search, compared to 87 percent for fish, 89 percent for birds, 91 percent for horses, 92 percent for rodents, and 98 percent for reptiles.

Home buyers will skip dream home if it isn’t right for pets

Of the pet owners surveyed, 75 percent would pass up an otherwise-perfect home if it did not meet their pets’ needs. Younger buyers were more likely to say that they would forgo their dream home if it wasn’t pet friendly (79 percent for 18 – 34-year-olds and 77 percent for 35 – 54-year-olds), compared to 64 percent for buyers 55 and older, as were those with children (81 percent versus 57 percent for those without children).

In roughly equal numbers, owners of all different kinds of pets – even fish and reptiles – said they would also pass up a dream home if it didn’t meet their pets’ needs.

Most important home features for pet owners

Pet-owning home buyers were asked to rank the three home features they considered to be the most important for the needs of their pets. They were: A large yard (45 percent), any 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).

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