If anyone is happy about our being stuck at home, it’s our pets. Owners who previously left for work every morning have become constant companions to pets during the pandemic, providing scratches, treats and walks throughout the workweek. This writer’s own skittish rescue cat has become increasingly playful and willing to accept a pat or two as the lockdown has stretched on.
According to reports from shelters across the country, people have been eager to foster pets recently, so while we can infer that pets are happier with us around, it’s clear that humans have been leaning into the opportunity to experience their companionship. In fact, it wasn’t long after the lockdown began that The New York Times started reporting on the hunger for puppies and providing advice on topics like grooming and planning for a pet’s care should their owner become ill.
But how does our resurfaced love affair with furry creatures affect how we buy and sell homes? A recent study by the National Association of Realtors compiled more than 15,000 responses to surveys of its professional membership, recent home buyers and sellers, and randomly chosen, geographically diverse households. The findings show that a pet’s needs are important to buyers, though only a small percentage will actually make a move to accommodate the needs of a pet. Pet-friendly features such as fenced yards and pet doors were among those on many a buyer’s wish list.
The survey demonstrated that many people consider their animals members of the family, though it also showed that it’s important to erase evidence of pets when showing homes. That includes removing the pets themselves in addition to their toys, their odors, and any wear they’ve caused. After all, not every buyer is a pet lover, and even those who love their own animals may not love yours.