WASHINGTON (February 13, 2017) — When making decisions about buying, selling or renovating their homes, Americans, by and large, take their pets' needs into account, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors®. The 2017 Animal House: Remodeling Impact report found that 81 percent of respondents said that animal-related considerations play a role when deciding on their next living situation.
"In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either have a pet or plan to get one in the future, so it is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership " said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. "Realtors® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family."
In fact, according to the survey, 99 percent of pet owners said they consider their animal part of the family, and this becomes apparent in the sacrifices pet owners are willing to make when it comes to buying and selling homes. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said they would not give up their animal because of housing restrictions or limitations. Twelve percent of pet owners have moved to accommodate their animal, and 19 percent said that they would consider moving to accommodate their animal in the future.
Realtors® who were surveyed indicated that one-third of their pet-owning clients often or very often will refuse to make an offer on a home because it is not ideal for their animal. Realtors® also noted that 61 percent of buyers find it difficult or very difficult to locate a rental property or a homeowners association that accommodates animals.
When it comes to selling, 67 percent of Realtors® say animals have a moderate to major effect on selling a home. Approximately two-thirds of Realtors® say that they advise animal owning sellers to always replace thing in the home damaged by an animal, have the home cleaned to remove any animal scents and to take animals out of the home during an open house or showing.
Nearly half of all survey respondents, 52 percent, indicated that they had completed a home renovation project specifically to accommodate their animal. Of those who undertook projects, 23 percent built a fence around their yard, 12 percent added a dog door and 10 percent installed laminate flooring. Ninety-four percent of consumers indicated that they were satisfied with their renovation; 58 percent indicated they have a greater desire to be at home and 62 percent enjoy spending more time at home since completing their renovation.
When it comes to the enjoyment homeowners gain from these projects, fencing in a yard and installing laminated floors rated highest, both receiving Joy Scores of 9.4; Joy Scores range between 1 and 10, and higher figures indicate greater joy from the project. Adding a dog door came in a close second with a Joy Score of 9.2.
A majority of surveyed animal owners, 83 percent, indicated that they own a dog, which helps explain the overwhelming popularity of dog-related renovation projects. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they own a cat, 9 percent own a bird, reptile, amphibian, arthropod, small mammal, or miniature horse, 8 percent a fish and 5 percent own a farm animal.
NAR members were also surveyed about their relationships with animals, with 80 percent of Realtors® considering themselves animal lovers and 68 percent indicating that they have pets of their own. Twelve percent of Realtors® surveyed volunteer for an organization that helps animals, and 21 percent plan to volunteer in the future.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
When Aaron Healey joined Ruhl & Ruhl REALTORS® in 2012, he was immediately introduced to American Home Shield (AHS®)—a leading home warranty provider currently servicing 1.4 million customers across 49 states and the District of Columbia. As one of the firm’s top home warranty sellers last year, Healey has been recommending AHS home warranty plans to buyers and sellers alike for the past four years.
“I’ll often provide a home warranty with my listings as a security blanket for the seller, then automatically pass it on to the buyer,” says Healey, who goes on to explain that when a warranty isn’t part of the deal, he’ll personally purchase one to make sure his client is protected.
“It prevents people from having to pay a major amount for an essential or big-ticket item if something goes wrong,” adds Healey, noting that the last thing a new homeowner wants is to be hit with a big bill during the first year of owning the home.
In fact, Healey recently had a buyer move into their new home, and a week down the road, they had no hot water. But thanks to their AHS home warranty, they were able to fix the problem without wasting time or money.
Educating buyers and sellers in regard to how the warranty works—and what it covers—is another critical component that can’t be overlooked. For Healey, keeping buyers and sellers informed begins with providing a welcome packet that explains what to do in the event of a problem, as well as the best way to contact AHS.
“The folks at AHS are very responsive to both us and our clients. They’re open to any suggestions we have, and are always there to make sure things are going well,” says Healey.
“When purchasing a home, buyers are spending a great deal, and they don’t typically have money sitting around to pay for a new water heater, furnace or central air conditioning unit,” says Healey. “Having the ability to provide buyers with a warranty is a really big deal, and a great marketing tool for sellers.”
For more information, please visit www.ahs.com/realestate.