Most Households Have a Pet. Here’s How They Impact Real Estate

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%Walkability20%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:

  1. Fenced yard (49%)

  2. Large enough home for household & pet (27%)

  3. 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.


Some references sourced within this article have not been prepared by Fairway and are distributed for educational purposes only. The information is not guaranteed to be accurate and may not entirely represent the opinions of Fairway.

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