Thinking about upgrading your home to add more value? Before you hire a contractor, take some design inspiration from pet owners. According to the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet.
Not only do a lot of Americans own pets, but they also spend a lot of money on their fur babies: The APPA reported in 2017 that annual pet expenditures reached an estimated $69.36 billion. It’s clear that pet owners are willing to spend on their animal companions.
You can make this work to your favor if you’re planning to renovate and sell your home. While some of the suggestions below only make sense if you’re a pet owner yourself, others have universal appeal. (See also: 6 Money Lessons You Can Learn From Your Pets)
1. Update the floors
If you have ever owned a cat or dog, you know how detrimental they can be to carpet and hardwood floors. Consider updating your floors to something stylish, easy to clean, and hard to destroy, like tile or tile made to look like wood.
For a more affordable option, skip laminate flooring and go with vinyl or linoleum. Both of these options are durable and easy to clean, even with a new puppy (or young children) around.
2. Replace or upgrade rickety fences
A low or rickety fence is a huge turnoff to pet owners looking for a home. Pet parents need a secure barrier to keep their dogs in and wild animals out. Stone walls are nice because they add a privacy element to the home and cannot be destroyed by busy chewers. Avoid railing for the wall or gate, since many animals can squeeze between the rails.
Consider adding a fence around a pool area, too. Not only will this addition be welcomed by pet owners, but many families with young children will find this more appealing.
3. Install doggy doors
Installing a permanent dog door can be a huge bonus to pet owners who prefer letting their fur babies let themselves outside. When installing a doggy door, make sure to pick the right location. For example, you don’t want to install it in an area that pools water when it rains.
Furthermore, when installing a doggy door, don’t go cheap. Spend more money for a sturdy structure with dual flaps, weather resistant sealing, and a lock. You don’t want your dog door to decrease your energy efficiency or cause weather-related damage. You also don’t want it to be a security issue.
4. Grooming stations
Adding a small grooming station to a laundry room or back patio can be beneficial for pet owners who don’t want to bathe their animals in the bathtub. Houzz says that hiring a contractor to install a grooming station is similar to having a small shower installed and can cost anywhere from $1,000 for a free-standing tub to $3,500 or more for something fancier.
Even pet-free homebuyers might enjoy this added grooming station since it is an easy place to hose off shoes and even children after a messy playtime.
5. Potty areas
Potential homebuyers that are also pet owners might look at an unfinished backyard and think about how burdensome it will be to clean up after their pooches. Landscaping the backyard to include grass, or at least adding an area of synthetic grass made for dogs, can add a practical benefit for pet owners.
Think about a dog’s bathroom needs on every level of the home. Equipping a second-floor deck or balcony with a doggy door and easy-to-clean potty area will be seen as a benefit for pet owners who want to sleep in.