If you’re flipping houses — and based on my television viewing I surmise pretty much everyone in America is — you might want to give a fenced back yard the highest priority, higher even than that “en suite” master bathroom.
A study commissioned by Sun Trust, a mortgage company, shows that Millennial-age Americans are motivated to buy a home more because of their dog — or the possibility of someday having one — than they are by marriage of the birth of a child.
So forget that nursery, flippers — whether you’re in Orange County, Atlanta or Las Vegas. Don’t worry so much about those his and her walk-in closets. Instead, make sure the home you’re flipping has a nice sturdy fence.
True, if you’re one of those countless flippers who have combined your flipping with your own flipping TV show, watching a fence get built doesn’t make for riveting television. But then (sorry) neither does the laying of sod or the construction of a kitchen island. (Despite that, I keep watching for some reason.)
But back to the study … A full 33 percent of millennials between ages 18 and 36 said that canine-related concerns are what motivated them most to buy a home.
That’s more than the number who said they made the jump to home ownership because of marriage (25 percent), a new baby (19 percent), or to get a washer and dryer (18 percent).
A desire for more living space was the top motivator (at 66 percent), followed by a desire to build equity (36 percent). Third, though, were the needs of the dog, or a potential dog — including a fenced yard.
The survey was restricted to millenials who recently bought their first home.
It asked about their motivations for doing so, as opposed to the house features they were looking for.
So things like stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops — both of which seem vital based on my watching of too many television shows featuring spoiled people looking for a new house — were not factors.
The survey found that 42 percent of millennials who had never bought a home said that their dog, or the desire to have one, would be a key factor in their decision to make the jump from renting to owning.
The study found that 60 percent of first-time home buyers are millennials. It’s expected that, within the next five years, 80 million millennials will embark on their house-hunting journey, said Dorinda Smith, president and CEO of SunTrust Mortgage.
She said restrictive pet policies among landlords add to the numbers of pet owners seeking their own place.
“Some rental properties don’t allow pets and most rental properties are limited in space,” Smith said. “There’s also additional effort in keeping a dog in rental apartments.”
(Photo: Tarek and Christina El Moussa, hosts of “Flip or Flop, are separated with a divorce pending, but the show goes on, from HGTV; graphic from SunTrust Banks, Inc.)