Today, American households are more likely to include pets than children under the age of 18, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey. The share of households with kids stands at 27%, while the share of households with pets is at 68%.
Therefore, many residential real estate investors are targeting this large demographic of pet owners by making their rental properties more appealing and pet-friendly.
Pet-friendly rentals can also increase investors’ profits, suggests a study conducted by FIREPAW Inc., an animal welfare nonprofit research firm. Vacancy rates for rentals that allow pets tend to be lower than those that don’t allow pets, they claim. In addition, landlords spend less than half as much money advertising pet-friendly units, and they’re able to increase their profit by charging separate pet deposits.
As a result, more investors want their properties to be appealing to pet-owning tenants and are making a variety of upgrades, such as swapping out carpet for ceramic tile, using pet-safe lawn products, and adding features, such as cat and dog doors or adjustable shower heads for bathing pets.
Pets also appear to be heavily on the minds of home shoppers. A survey by realtor.com found that 87% of homebuyers with pets say they take their pets’ needs into account when searching for a home.
“To target the pet parents themselves, investors can provide information about local services, such as pet sitters and dog walkers, plus leave pet-centric gifts such as toys and treats upon move-in,” Christopher Long, founder and chief executive at Radius Realty, wrote in a column for Forbes.com.
However, property damage from pets is a chief concern among landlords. The FIREPAW study, however, found that tenants with pets tended to cause less damage than tenants with children. Further, even the worst of damages caused by pets tended to be “far less than the average rent or the average pet deposit,” the report notes.
Source: “Is Residential Real Estate Going to the Dogs?” Forbes.com (Feb. 24, 2020)