Pets, smart devices can influence home buyers

Q: While looking for a home to buy, I always wonder if my dog Ruby will be happy there – even before I ponder if I would be happy. Do other pet owners feel this way?

A: This is very normal. It seems that pets rule the roost. When finding a home, 81 percent of U.S. households say that animal-related considerations play a role in deciding on their next living situation. According to the National Association of Realtors research, 62 percent of U.S. households say it is at least somewhat important to have animal-friendly neighborhood amenities.

Almost all pet owners (99 percent) consider their animals to be part of the family. Many pet owners make home choices, and even undertake home renovations, with their pets in mind.

When choosing a neighborhood for their new home, 15 percent of recent buyers made a decision with their pet in mind, according to the 2018 Profile of Buyers and Sellers. These buyers are typically about 40 years of age, married (61 percent) and primarily buyers of previously owned homes (91 percent). About a third chose neighborhoods based on convenience to parks and recreational facilities. Most (85 percent) bought a detached, single-family home, with 4 percent buying to have a better home for their pets.

Some of the amenities pet lovers choose are a fenced yard, laminate flooring, a washing station, dog door, cat litter closet, animal pool and built-in dishes and beds.

Q: I can’t decide which “smart home” devices to choose for my new home. Besides fun and convenience, my primary reason would be cost savings. What is the research on these devices?

A: According to a survey from Parks Associates, households with smart devices are expected to jump from the current 33 percent to more than 50 percent by 2023. But many consumers want proof that these internet-connected devices would save them money.

The survey revealed that 55 percent of people would be inclined to purchase a smart home device if the initial cost of the investment were at some kind of a discount. As smart home technology advances and becomes more widespread, industry experts expect this to gradually occur.

According to the survey, 60 percent of households with a broadband internet connection that hadn’t purchased an internet-connected appliance would consider purchasing a smart home device if it could save them money in the long-term, such as reducing an electric bill.

Security concerns are also keeping some consumers at bay. About 50 percent of those surveyed said they would consider internet-connected devices if they were given more control over how their data is collected and used by companies.

Almost 6 in 10 survey respondents said they would consider buying a smart home device if it meant a discount on their home insurance. Certain insurance companies offer a discount for security cameras, smart thermostats or similar smart products, so check with your provider.

But please also consider the fun and convenience of smart home devices. Many people believe that anything that creates more ease of living is worth money too.

Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates. Contact her at 672-8787 or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.