Not mentioned are the conversations people have with their dogs. I just want equal time with all decision-makers!
Given the increased share of pets in households and the increased time and resources spent on pets, it is no surprise some home buyers consider their pets the most important factor when making home buying decisions. Factors such as proximity to the vet and outdoor space for pets is important for buyers with pets.
Among all unmarried couples, nearly one-third of buyers considered their pet when deciding their neighborhood to purchase in compared to 14% of married couples. One-quarter of single women considered factored their pet into their neighborhood choice in comparison to 16% of single men. This trend is similar to the BLS Time Use Survey which found women are more likely to spend time with pets on a daily basis.
Among those who considered their pet to be very important to their neighborhood choice, they were also more likely to factor in a pet for other neighborhood features than those who did not.
Pet lovers also purchased a home in an area with availability of larger lots or acreage and were more interested in convenience to parks and recreation areas and in walkability. This is not a surprise as it is likely not just the human who desires these neighborhood features but the pet themselves who need room to run and play.
Robbie Timmers went all-out adding a contemporary-style house on his property in Thailand. White with chic black trim, the two-story, air-conditioned abode has security cameras, smart lighting and a sliding door to the porch.
Mr. Timmers would have added a swimming pool, too, but his wife objected. Her reasoning? It seemed unnecessary for the home’s intended occupants: the couple’s five dogs.
The roughly 10-foot-high canine mansion was designed and installed as a relaxing space for the couple’s pups, and sits in the backyard of—and matches—the Timmerses’ own home. “I wanted to have something that looks cool,” says Mr. Timmers. “I love it so much.”
Pets these days are living more luxurious lives than ever as humans increasingly pour money into making their properties fetching for nonhuman family members.
The rub: Sometimes the pets don’t dig it.
“I have to be honest, my dogs never set foot in the house,” says Mr. Timmers, who spent about $10,000 on it. “They just didn’t like it.” Nowadays, the mini-house mostly sits empty.
“It has everything,” he adds. “Just no dogs.”
Moreover, all these swanky, special-made pet amenities inevitably have a shorter shelf life than those for humans.
“If we’re going to customize our homes to our pet, we have to realize that there will come a time when it might not be relevant, or we want to change it out,” says HGTV personality Jasmine Roth, known for creating “pet nooks” for clients.
Ms. Roth experienced this recently with the death of Tiger, her Chihuahua. She had built little Tiger a nook under the stairs, complete with plaid wallpaper and vintage mirrors.
“I wish I had recorded the call when my wallpaper installer arrived,” Ms. Roth recalls. At first, he couldn’t find the space he’d been hired to wallpaper. “I was like, ‘Look down.”
The door was so tiny, the installer could barely fit inside, though he eventually squeezed in. Now, with Tiger gone, the only occupant of the pet nook is Ms. Roth’s toddler daughter, who uses it as a fairy cave.
Social media has helped popularize deluxe pet items, says Sara Pijuan of Los Angeles-based Pijuan Design Workshop, which makes Midcentury Modern dog houses costing from $3,750 to $5,000. The company also creates custom dog houses for clients; one, for a family in London, was designed to look like a Japanese teahouse.
Paris Hilton’s pooches have enjoyed an air-conditioned two-story, Spanish-style villa, known as “Doggie Mansion” and sporting a chandelier and a balcony with wrought-iron railing, according to her Instagram feed. (She says that was at her old home, and she no longer lives there.)