Only a few decades ago, Americans bought homes to ring in a marriage, welcome a new child, or prepare for one of these two major life changes shortly down the road.
But today, times have changed. Millennials are waiting longer and longer to get married and start their families, and they just don’t need those starter homes the way they did in years past.
Still, that’s not stopping them from buying real estate. In fact, many of them are driven to buy a house by an entirely different factor—their furry friends.
The Fido Factor
Millennials really value their pets, and they’re serious about making long-term plans that involve them. According to a recent study, 33% of millennial home buyers say they purchased their property with their dog in mind. Of millennials who hadn’t yet bought a home, 42 percent said their dog (or the desire to get a dog down the line) would play a key role in their decision to buy.
To put things into perspective, only 25% of millennials said they bought a home due to a recent or upcoming marriage, and a mere 19% said it was the birth or impending birth of a child. This marks a massive change from just a few decades ago.
Why is a House More Dog-Friendly?
Dogs are clearly influencing millennials’ desire to buy a home, but why is this? What is it about buying real estate that makes for a more dog-friendly environment?
For most dog owners, it comes down to one of these major factors:
- Space – Most apartments are cramped as it is. Adding a dog to the mix—particularly a large one—can make for a pretty difficult living situation, both for the pet and the owner. Buying a home can offer more space for everyone.
- A yard – Many rentals don’t have yards, and this can be a major deterrent for dog owners. There’s nowhere for Fido to run and play, and the owner is forced to walk them multiple times a day to help them exercise or use the restroom. If the weather’s not ideal or the apartment is located on a high floor, this can be a serious hassle—especially for busy 9-5ers.
- Less liability – Renting with a dog can make you liable for serious damages—damages that could make you lose your security deposit or, worse, vulnerable to legal action if the dog isn’t allowed on the property. Owning the home frees you from these types of liabilities.
- Fewer costs – Some landlords require extra deposits for having pets on-site, and others even ask for monthly pet “rent.” Buying a home can cut out these extra costs and make pet ownership just a little more affordable—both now and in the long run.
- Freedom to make changes – You can’t make big changes to a rental property, like adding a doggy door or installing a gate or outdoor kennel. As these features can add serious convenience for a pet owner, this can be pretty frustrating. Fortunately, as a homeowner, you can add dog-friendly elements freely—with no limits or prior approvals needed (except for maybe from your HOA!)
- Room for more pets – Many pet owners want to add more to the pack—especially if they work long hours and want another companion for their existing furry friends. Buying a home means more room to grow and more room for those extra family members in the future.
The bottom line is owning a home offers more flexibility for dog owners, as well as an environment that inspires an active, healthy lifestyle for their furry friend. As many Millennials consider their dogs a “child” of sorts, these are both hugely important factors.
What to Look for in a Dog-Friendly Home
Are you considering buying a home to give your pup more room to roam? Are you hoping to buy so you can adopt that furry friend you’ve been eyeing?
Here are the features you should look for:
- A large yard with plenty of room for the dog to run and use the restroom
- Lots of grass, as more dirt and sand means more muddy paws and messes
- A neighborhood with lots of sidewalks, parks, and playgrounds for walking and outdoor activities
- A high privacy fence, so the dog doesn’t bark or bother nearby neighbors
- Wood or tile floors, making clean-up easier and less of a hassle
- Plenty of backyard shade, especially if you live in a hot climate
It’s not absolutely necessary, but dog owners often prefer homes with separate utility rooms as well. These offer a great spot to store dog bowls, leashes, and other supplies, and they even make for a great kennel or dog bed location, if the pup won’t be sleeping with you.
Is buying a dog-friendly home in your future? If so, contact Embrace Home Loans today. We’ll help you—and your furry friend—finance your dream home.