Your home is your home and there’s nothing that forces you to make upgrades that help improve its value. But if you do ever need to sell or refinance, having put some money into improvements that increase its value can help you longer term. For example, if you have pets and are wanting features that help you both have happier lives, there are some upgrades that can help more than others.
How do pet-friendly features improve your home’s value?
If you think about when you bought your home, there have to be some houses that stuck out for you because of some kind of special features they had. Maybe one had a bay window, or space for a freezer, these bonuses don’t have to be huge to get a buyer’s attention. The same goes for pet-friendly features.
According to a recent survey by Pew, 62% of Americans own pets, and of those, 97% consider the pet a member of the family. That means the odds are in your favor that if you also have a pet, features you install in your home for that pet will be appreciated by the next buyer, if you choose options that will help them care for their pets and are low maintenance.
On the other hand, it’s also important to consider future buyers if you aren’t absolutely certain you’re in your final house. Especially if you’re financing home upgrades, you’ll want to be sure they’ll improve your home’s resale appeal enough to get a buyer quickly. After all, that person will also likely be securing that home with a mortgage, and you’ll need to be sure the home you’ve made will appraise well.
Three pet-friendly features to consider
When some people think of “pet-friendly” features, they imagine things like dog-specific doors and ramps, but pet-friendly features can have a much wider appeal. Here are a few of my favorite pet-friendly features that also help improve your home’s resale potential.
1. Wooden fencing
Yep, it’s that simple. A really nice fence can help sell your home, especially if it’s a tall wooden privacy fence. Not only do they make your home more secure, they can help a homeowner with a dog who is an escape artist feel more confident about making an offer on your home, knowing they won’t need to do anything else to keep their furry friend safe. According to fencing experts at HoCo Fence, installing a nice fence can return up to 60% of the cost of the fence in property value.
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Of course, for this to work, you have to put in a nice fence, it needs to be at the back of your home, and it should create a sense of privacy for future buyers. An older fence is OK, provided it’s still in good shape, you’ve recently sealed it with paint or water sealant, and it blends well with the landscaping. If your fence is badly damaged, consider fixing it up to improve your home’s standing with mortgage lenders. For example, those that specialize in FHA mortgages can be very picky about these things.
2. Walk-in shower
Dog showers are all the rage in some parts of the country, and for good reason: a lot of dogs need to be washed. But, they are really limited in what you can do with them if you don’t have a dog or plan to get one. This leaves potential petless buyers scratching their heads at the thought of the dog shower in the utility room or back bathroom.
Instead of adding a dog shower, consider a basic walk-in shower. There’s very little difference besides scale, and you’ll have better access to your dog than you would in a more narrow dog shower. If you’re strapped for space, of course, a dog shower may make more sense, and can still be useful for other purposes, like cleaning dirty winter boots. If you’ve got an extra bathroom with a tub, though, converting it to a walk-in shower can add extra buying appeal for a wider range of people, including pet owners, seniors, people with a variety of mobility issues (not simply wheelchair users), and even parents of small children.
3. Screened porch
If you have a cat instead of a dog, or a lot of cats, a catio is a must-have feature. But a catio is a very specific kind of structure that’s not very useful for someone without a cat. Fortunately, a screened porch makes an excellent catio, giving your fuzzy friend plenty of space for sleeping in sunbeams without all the risks associated with roaming. And you can share it with them, too!
Unlike a catio, a screened porch will return well, even if you build it from scratch, rather than just screening an existing porch. The return on investment for a screened porch at the time of sale is up to 84%, depending on where you live. Just take the cat shelves down before you list your home — or don’t — and let your potential buyers imagine themselves (and maybe their cats, too!) lounging in your mega catio on all the warm days of spring and the cool days of fall.
In addition, a screened porch can grow up to be an outdoor kitchen very easily, depending on the configuration, so it’s really a great pet-friendly feature that can do so much more.
Pet-friendly and functional features are great for your home’s future, too
Choosing to install pet-friendly features that are also highly functional for other future owners can make your home not only a paradise for your pet, but a very special find for potential buyers down the road. Whether adding fencing for a secure and private yard or a walk-in shower that can be enjoyed by people (and pets) of all ages, striking a balance between your needs and those of future owners is the key.