Sure, your clients may think a particular listing is perfect, but what does Fido think? It's a question becoming more commonplace these days, as more Americans than ever are pet owners.
In fact, 79 million U.S households currently own a pet, and 83 percent of pet owners think of their pet as a member of their family. When this group of buyers starts a house hunt, it's important to think about not just the needs of the clients, but of their pets as well.
“Many people who don’t have children view their pets as their children, and they consider their pets’ needs in the same way others would consider how the schools or playgrounds are in a particular neighborhood,” says Arlene Kagle, a psychologist in a recent interview in the New York Times. “These are people who have a great deal of empathy, so they worry about their pets as they would worry about another human being — though some have been known to carry it to extremes.”
The New York Times asked pet owners what features and amenities they look for when choosing a new place to rent or own. Here are some of their main concerns:
- Whether your clients are in an urban walkable city like New York or in the suburbs, pet owners will want to be close to parks and have access to safe walking trails where their pets can exercise and run around.
- Living in a neighborhood with access to dog walkers and dog daycare options are also important considerations for dog owners, particularly those in urban areas.
- Some pets are overwhelmed by loud noises or other pets, so living in high-traffic areas or areas with pets in close proximity might not be the best fit.
- Owners with talkative animals like birds will also have to consider location in their home search, especially if considering condo or apartment living.
- For owners with older pets in particular, a home's layout is an important consideration. A home featuring a lot of stairs may not be the best situation for an elderly dog.
- On the other hand, a small home without an open floorplan may not be the best fit for a rambunctious puppy to run around.
- Dog owners will also want a home with easy access to the backyard.
- Housing options with separate laundry rooms that include pet-washing stations are becoming more desirable. Many condos, for instance, now offer dog-walking services and pet grooming on-site.
- Pet owners are also likely to be attracted to listings that already have plenty of hard-surfaced flooring that makes cleaning up after pets easy.
- Your clients will also want to consider if a home has an area for a cat's litter box and an area where pets can eat without getting in the way of family traffic patterns.