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Dog-Friendly Homes Present New Opportunities for Sellers

ForSaleByOwner September 7, 2023

Roberta Billings says dogs have always been a huge part of her life, so much so that when Billings moves into a new residence, she makes sure to accommodate her two Great Danes and her collie.

“I created space for them in all of the places I’ve lived,” says Billings, 54. “They’re my companions.”

Jack Russell Terrier on welcome home mat

Billings, a clean energy consultant, says she moves every two or three years because she likes to accept new projects in different areas of the country. Although she could rent, Billings prefers to buy a house in each new location so she can modify it to meet her – or in this case – her dogs’ needs. Simple renovations like all-weather carpet in one room and separate sleeping spaces in another make for great environments for her pets but aren’t always appealing to potential buyers when she’s ready for her new assignment.

That’s fine with Billings. She says she just skips the general buying population and instead looks for the right buyers. “First of all, there’s nothing in the houses I’ve lived in that can’t be brought back to normal for a couple of thousand dollars,” says Billings. “Some new paint, some new carpet and things are good as new.”

But Billings, who recently moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, says she’s only had to restore her “dog rooms” once in the past decade, and she’s sold four homes in that time.

When looking for like-minded buyers, Billings spread the word on dog-enthusiast social media sites, posted bulletin boards at local pet stores, veterinarian offices and grooming facilities and engaged in conversations at local dog parks. “A basic conversation is probably what worked best,” says Billings. “That’s how I found my buyer.”

Billings knew her approach – honing in your search to a person with specific tastes and interests – can be risky in its limitedness, but she’s confident that it can be effective. “You’re not just looking for a person to buy your house,” Billings says. “In some ways, you’re looking for a person to buy your way of life, at least the way you live your life in a certain place.”

Recently, Billings directed potential buyers to a story that touted Portland as one of the dog-friendliest cities in the country. “I can tell people how great it is to own a dog here, but when you read it somewhere, it makes it that much more official,” she says.

Although most of the people who looked at her home – including the eventual buyer – were already living in the Portland area, Billings says she felt like a little reading material went a long way, which may explain why she included links to Yelp reviews of dog-friendly restaurants and stores that were located close to her house.

Billings says she spends a lot of time at Powell Butte Nature Park with her dogs, as do many local dog owners. “It’s this wonderful trail that was about 3 miles from my house, so I mentioned that to people at the trail,” she says. “One of the people I spoke with said she and her husband were looking for a place, and I gave her my info and we went from there.”

Billings says she had an offer within a week. “I’m a dog person. I don’t run from that when I try to live somewhere or sell a place,” Billings says. “It only makes sense to look for a similar person if you’re selling something as personal as the home you live in, and it’s even more important if you’re selling your house on your own like I did.”

Read more: How to Make Moving Easier for Your Pet