With Pets a Growing Priority, Do Seller Strategies Adjust?

People are passionate about their pets. Even though sellers historically attempt to hide all evidence of their furry friends when listing a home, it would be foolish to assume animals never factor into a buyer’s decision.

Not only has the number of American homes owning pets risen over the past decade from 56 percent to 68 percent, but a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) earlier this year found that 81 percent of respondents took animal-related considerations into account when choosing their next living situation. In addition, 89 percent said they would not give up a pet due to housing restrictions and 52 percent undertook home renovations to accommodate their pets.

What’s more, a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 33 percent of millennial home buyers were primarily motivated to purchase a home because of their dog. That’s right, pets outranked marriage and children as the key factor in a millennial’s decision to purchase a property.

If pets matter this much to so many, could there be some merit to demonstrating the pet-friendly nature of your home? If so, how can we do that without alienating buyers who don’t own animals? Let’s look at some creative strategies that might do the trick.

1. If you’re one of the 52 percent making pet-minded renovations, ask your realtor to include those details in the listing. Did you opt for difficult-to-scratch bamboo floors or ceramic tile when you renovated the kitchen? Have you installed an area to rinse dirty paws in your mudroom? Those perks might seal the deal for a family of pet lovers.

2. Add a few pet-minded details when staging your home to imply that this place is comfortable for people and animals alike. A set of stylish new food and water bowls on the patio or an attractive leash hanging in the laundry room might be all you need. The key here is cleanliness. Don’t use worn accessories; purchase something fresh for showings.

3. Does your community or condominium have pet-friendly amenities? Do restaurants in walking distance welcome pets on their patios? Find a way to let potential buyers know how conducive the area is with an animal-lover lifestyle. Consider leaving a framed list of your favorite things about the neighborhood on the kitchen counter during the open house, or share your listing on social media with a brief note.
A word of caution: There are some cardinal rules regarding pets and real estate that still stand. First, an immaculate litter box or yard is crucial. Second, the home should be without pet-related odors. We always recommend inviting a pet-less realtor or friend to join you for a final walk through to identify any lingering smells in which you are accustomed.

We also encourage vacuuming furniture and cleaning floors daily while your home is actively being shown to eliminate stray hair. Finally, you’ll still want pets out of the house during showings. Let the buyer envision their family pet in the home – not yours.

The Lipman Group has years of experience marketing and selling homes based on their unique qualities and connecting buyers with properties that meet the needs of the entire family, including its four-legged members. Whatever your concerns may be about buying or selling a home with pets, we’re here to help!

Lawrence M. Lipman is the owner and president of The Lipman Group / Sotheby’s International Realty in Nashville. Real estate is Larry’s career, but also his passion, and he takes pride in guiding buyers and sellers through exciting home transitions at any budget. Larry welcomes questions and can be reached by calling 615-364-3333.