Many pet owners are thinking of their animals when they plan home renovations, do some redecorating or even shop for a new place to live.
About 7 of 10 boomers and Gen Xers — generations that together now range in age from their 40s to their mid-70s — own pets, and many take their animal companions into account when it comes to real estate. In a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults released by Ally Home, the mortgage division of banking and financial services outfit Ally, 30 percent of Gen Xers and 34 percent of boomers reported having made changes of some sort to their homes because of their pets. Twenty-four percent of Gen Xers and 19 percent of boomers give their dogs, cats or other animals a dedicated space inside their homes.
These statistics resonate with Gen Xer Rosie Aguilar Gutierrez, who completely remodeled her family's Silver Lake, California, home to accommodate her seven rescue cats. Gutierrez ripped out the basement wine cellar to install kitty-friendly cubbyholes as well as a corridor leading to the first story of the house to give her felines room to run and play — not to mention some much-needed mental stimulation.
"If you love animals enough, you're going to do what's right for them,” she says.
Turns out, those feline-focused upgrades were what sold the house to the couple who bought it from Gutierrez when she decided it was time to move out of the city. The buyers had two domestic cats as well as a Savannah — a hybrid of a domestic cat and a wild African cat. To get the house and its pet-friendly amenities, the couple was willing to pay $200,000 over market rate.
A bed big enough for humans and pets
According to the Ally survey, 20 percent of Gen Xers and 19 percent of boomers say they would actually bring their pets along with them when shopping for a home — or have done so already.