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When pets come first

By Julie Tramonte

July 2019

Some dog lovers show their puppy love with fancy dog food, a special spot on the sofa, squeaky toys or goofy outfits.

And then, there are those who buy their dog a house. Not a doghouse, mind you, but a whole HOUSE. And apparently, this pets-come-first buying trend is a very common occurrence.

In fact, 75% of millennials in their 30s have dogs, and 33% of them say their decision to buy a home was driven by their dog. Who knew?

Dogs are the new babies

Meet Whitney, who lives in Falls Church, Va. Like many millennials, she is focused on her career so for now, her 3-year-old dog Lucy Goose is her baby. And like any good parent, it’s important to Whitney that her baby be happy in their home. “When my dog is happy, I’m happy,” confides Whitney.

When Whitney adopted Lucy Goose, she was living in a 1-bedroom condo. Although only a puppy at the time, it was obvious the Labrador/Great Dane mix wouldn’t stay small for long. Whitney knew she needed a larger place but she wasn’t sure how much more room would be required, so she rented a larger townhouse while she assessed the situation. It soon became apparent that the townhouse wasn’t conducive to a large dog either, so she started hunting for a larger dog-friendly house that would meet the needs of Lucy Goose. She wound up buying a 4-bedroom home with a doggy door and a big fenced-in yard. 

Moving up when another dog moves in

The same was true for Rebecca and David, a young couple living in Wauwatosa, Wis., who had adopted a rescue dog: a sweet little greyhound named Lilly. Although they already owned a home in a location they loved, they started looking for a new house when they decided to add Moka, another rescued greyhound, to their family. Luckily, they found a home in the same area with a fenced-in yard that was large enough for their dogs to run laps (it’s a greyhound thing).

A little advice from a cat lady

Although I have a cat, I also had a beloved dog for 13 years so I partially understand why dog lovers do what they do. Who wouldn’t feel joy watching their dog run with happy abandon in the backyard? But, dogs age much faster than humans. So, as much as you don’t want to think about it, there will most likely come a day when your furry best friend is no longer in the picture. What then? Will you still love your house? Will it still meet your needs?

As much as you love your dog, it’s important to buy a house that meets both human and canine needs. Before you make an offer, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you want to care for a big yard?
  • Is the location convenient?
  • Is it in a good school district?
  • Can you truly afford it?
  • Is the home’s interior as great as the exterior?
  • Is it a good financial investment?
  • Would you want the house if you didn’t have a dog?

If most of your answers are yes, then you’re making the right decision. So, sit. Stay. And enjoy living in your dog’s house!

Maryann Z Eberly

im ready to buy a house.

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Julie Tramonte is a writer who joined MGIC in 2018. Prior to flying the coop, she wrote for a mattress company, a manufacturer and advertising agencies. She’s obsessed with reading, traveling, tennis and rearranging furniture. Mother of 2 beautiful, adult daughters. Empty nester toying with downsizing. Her guilty pleasures are doughnuts and the Kardashians (don’t tell anyone).