A Majority of People Prioritize Their Pets’ Needs When Buying Their Dream Home

Looking for your fur-ever home? So are more than 70% of prospective buyers.

It’s not really surprising how much people adore their pets (they’re part of the family, after all), but a new survey from Realtor.com proves how much of a priority pets are for current or soon-to-be homeowners. About 70% of Americans care for a pet, so it makes sense that pet-friendly homes or apartments would be more appealing than non-pet-friendly spaces to people looking to buy or rent—even if the place is perfect in every other way.

Golden retriever laying in yard

JfJacobsz / Getty Images | Design: Better Homes & Gardens

Clare Trapasso, executive news editor at Realtor.com, says she passed on a home she really liked because it didn’t meet her standard of living for her two dogs.

“The house was great, and we didn’t even bother making an offer because we wanted a backyard for our dogs,” she says. “[Buyers are] looking for homes, whether it be for sale or rental properties, that accommodate their loved one.”

The survey, which was conducted in August 2022, shows that a majority of people feel the same way—72% of prospective buyers with pets revealed they would forgo buying their dream home because it didn't accommodate their pet, and about a third would give up a shorter commute or an extra room in order to give their pet a proper home. And if they had to choose one over the other, 68% of current homeowners would rather give up their house than their pet. 

Taking on DIY projects to make homes more accessible for pets is also a must for many: More than two-thirds of pet owners looking to buy a home within a year have built or installed special pet features, and half of current homeowners with pets already have. The most popular upgrade, according to the survey, is a dog door. Others include a dog shower or bath station, a dog run in the yard, and a “catio” (aka a patio built right outside a door or window where your cat likes to hang out). These projects have potential to increase sellability for your home, too.

“If more than three-quarters of homeowners have pets, many of the people who are going to be in the house that you’re selling are going to want a yard, or some of the features might actually appeal to these owners,” Trapasso says.

Self-owned homes generally have more flexibility for accommodations and add-ons, but when it comes to renting, Trapasso says it’s apparent that more communities are aiming to be more pet friendly nowadays. Especially if you’re looking at buildings like complexes and condos, you can add amenities like dog-washing stations to your checklist of wants or must-haves and likely still find a number of options.

If you’re looking to rent and the landlord or building website says pets aren’t allowed, it never hurts to double check and ask, Trapasso advises. Just make sure to check your lease before welcoming home a four-legged friend, as doing so without approval can be cause for eviction.

“Sometimes a gerbil is OK, but not a 100-pound dog, or cats are OK, or large dogs are prohibited,” Trapasso says. “This sounds crazy, but you never know with people—usually farm animals or exotic pets are not allowed. So really think about what kinds of animals you're asking for.”

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