Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Pet-Friendly Housing Steering the Real Estate Market
Steve Cook, Real Estate Economy Watch
In a national survey released in February of this year, the fifth-ranking reason that people buy homes today was found to be “They Don’t Want to Pay Extra to Own Pets.” This reason outranked “They Want to Live the American Dream” and trailed “They Want More Space.”
Sinking sales, shrinking prices, and surging foreclosures have shaken America’s love affair with homeownership to the core. Our love for our pets, however, will always drive us to find a pet-friendly haven. For those who own beasts larger than a cat, the best option is usually homeownership.
Pet ownership is on the rise
Last year, the number of U.S. households that owned a pet hit an all-time high of 72.9 million. Of those households, more than 46 million families own dogs and another 2.4 million have a horse or two. Nearly half of pet owners, or 49.7 percent, consider their pets to be family members. The actual number of pet-owning households is significantly higher than it was 20 years ago.
Finding a pet-friendly rental can be difficult and expensive
Despite years of concerted efforts by veterinarian groups, humane societies, the pet food industry, and pet-loving tenants, at least 50 percent of rentals prohibit all pets, and many of those that do allow them charge a fee. Pet fees range from flat fees of $20 to $700 and monthly surcharges of $6 to $25. The most-often quoted monthly charge for a pet is $15, while the average up-front fee is about $225, with $100 being the most-often quoted fee. Large dogs often translate into higher fees, as well.
Landlords and pet owners may not see eye to eye
According to the Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare (FIREPAW), 35 percent of tenants without pets would own a pet if their landlord permitted. And pet-friendly builders have fewer vacancies and longer-term tenants. Yet in today’s rental market, few landlords feel the need to cater to pet owners.
Tension between pet owners and landlords has generated litigation in several jurisdictions. Last year, a Fargo, N.D., landlord was charged with discrimination for charging a nonrefundable deposit of $200 plus $20 more per month in rent to tenants with disabilities who owned companion animals.
Lack of pet-friendly housing is the primary reason owners relinquish their pets to shelters, according to the American Humane Association (AHA). Many are families who left homeownership and returned to rental, either voluntarily or involuntarily. These pets are contributing to a glut of shelter pets, especially dogs, that has strained the resources of AHA facilities.
The power of pets
Pet owners fit the target demographics for homeownership perfectly. Pet people are more likely to be traditional families; they are slightly younger than the average homeowner, and significantly more pet owners are married.
The power of pets is not lost on Rhona Sutter, a real estate broker in Naples, Fla., who calls her company “The Pet Realty Network.” Launched in January 2007, it offers “pet-friendly real estate” for pets and their people. Her website adds, “By focusing on the special Real Estate needs of pet owners and their pets, The Pet Realty Network is different than other Real Estate Web sites and is an excellent and cost effective alternative to traditional advertising.”
Are you a pet owner? How much does your pet influence your choice of housing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
What a First-Time Homebuyer Needs to Know
Housing Market Predictions: Home Values Continue to Sink
Buying an REO or Foreclosure: What You Can Expect and What Can Kill the Deal
Congress Doubles Funding for Troubled USDA Housing Loans
Home Repairs: Do It Yourself or Hire Help?
Steve Cook is Executive Vice President of Reecon Advisors and covers government and industry news for the Reecon Advisory Report.
Cook is a member of the National Press Club, the Public Relations Society of America and the National Association of Real Estate Editors, where he served as second vice president. Twice he has been named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he was editor of the student newspaper. In addition to serving as managing editor of the Report, Cook provides public relations consulting services to real estate and financial services companies, and trade associations, including some of the leading companies in online residential real estate.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.