When it comes to features that differentiate some homes for sale from other similar offerings, one that’s increasingly noteworthy out is pet-friendliness. Suitability for pets used to be thought of as a strictly second-tier consideration—but that day has passed. It may not rule the roost—but evidence is mounting that its importance is on the rise.

It’s an animal house when buying, selling and renovating,” according to a 2016 study from the National Association of Realtors®.This becomes apparent in the sacrifices pet owners are willing to make” when it comes to buying and selling their homes. The NAR has put a good deal of research into the subject—and for good reason. A more recent study last year found that 80% of home buyers own pets—and 87% of those say that their needs are important or very important in their home search process.

Owners planning to put up their own homes for sale may be able to take advantage of this widening phenomenon. Especially if they are pet owners themselves, an emphasis on their property’s proven pet-welcoming features like a “fully fenced yard” or “invisible fencing” can be a magnet for pet owners. In bygone eras, doors once thought to have been compromised by cat portals are now often highlighted. More than a few carefully staged and superbly lit listing photos show tell-tale signs of pet inhabitants. You can see Tabitha or Ruff’s pet bed right there next to the roaring fireplace (and sometimes the star him- or herself can be seen snoozing therein). That shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone who watches TV—where it seems like nearly half the commercials feature dogs or cats—even when there’s no logical connection with the product.

More surprising is what owners of all different kinds of pets had to say. These included rodents, fish, and reptiles—yet they insisted they would “pass up a dream home if it didn’t meet their pets’ needs.” Since the needs of caged and aquariumed animals wouldn’t seem to be much affected by their home’s architecture, that might be taken with a grain of salt. More convincing was the feedback from dog-owners, 90% of whom said they would pass on an otherwise perfect home if it fell short in Fido-friendliness.

Different features matter more to some buyers than to others—but the pet element is definitely on the rise. Highlighting the appeal factors that are most important to each individual prospect is part of how we work to ensure that “SOLD” signs swiftly grace our clients’ Western Slope homes for sale. Call us!