SunTrust Mortgage recently asked millennial homeowners what influenced their decision to buy a home. I imagine we can all relate to the top response: a desire for more living space (66 percent). The second-most-popular response—to build equity (36 percent) —showed their more financially pragmatic side.
Then there was the third-most-cited reason, which I found surprising but also delightful: better space/yard for a dog (33 percent).
Meanwhile, 42 percent of millennials who have never purchased a home said their dog—or the desire to have a dog—is a key factor in their wish to buy a home in the future.
Since many RECON subscribers are residential real estate agents, I thought I'd ask them to weigh in on this. Of the 95 who responded to our informal poll in Tuesday's edition, only 16.8 percent said millennial buyers’ chief concern was space/yard for a dog. Equity (25.3 percent), recent marriages (20 percent), and recent births (20 percent) were the top reasons.
Obviously pets are family to many people. Like any other member of the family, they can influence not only when a person decides to buy a home but what features the home absolutely must have.
Bryan-College Station Realtor Keta Jones said the lack of a fence (or even the presence of one simply in need of repair) has been a dealbreaker for some dog owners. She said others passed on homes that didn’t have a room with a view—for the pet.
“I’ve had clients not buy a house because there is not a low window for the dog to look out,” Jones said. “For some people, especially those with small dogs, low windows are very important.”
For some pet owners, the location of the window is just as important.
“One client ruled out a house because it didn’t have a window in the utility room,” Jones said, “The utility room was where their cat liked to stay, and the cat ‘preferred’ a window there.”
Jones said she once suggested that a client’s dog could look out a sliding glass door that opened onto the backyard, but the buyer said Fifi “wouldn’t like that.”
Among other reasons she said buyers have cited for not buying a specific home: no sidewalks to walk their dogs and no nearby, dog-friendly parks.
“If I know a client has a dog, I point out features that their pet would like when I show a house," Jones said.
For folks in the business of selling homes, that's a good rule of thumb, er, paw.