St. Louis rental homes can provide their owners with an investment that’s competitive on many fronts. It can provide cash, positive equity growth, tax advantages—and even a variation on the “pride of ownership” that live-in homeowners feel. But at least in one area, it also brings a brow-wrinkling decision that those who live in the homes they own don’t have to think twice about.
We’re talking about pets. Fido and Kitty—yes or no?
For a huge proportion of American families, it’s a no-brainer. Despite potential less desirable side effects, that new puppy or kitten will be welcomed without hesitation into parlors from St. Louis to Anchorage. Any damage that might result is just part of the wear-and-tear any household expects. The American Pet Association used to point to the 39% of households that own a dog or two—and to the 33% who own at least one cat. That might be greater today, now that 94 million cats and 89 million dogs populate U.S. homes.
What this results in for St. Louis landlords is a tough choice about whether to allow renters to have pets. It might seem to make sense to simply rule them out—thus avoiding the clawing, scratching, digging, chewing on floors, walls, and fixtures, etc. Who needs those mental images to keep you up at night?
But if you decide on a no-pets policy, you eliminate something like 40% of your potential rental candidates. They’re spending $70 billion (!) a year to take care of their pets—which is why it’s sometimes argued that some of the personality types drawn to fostering animals are also highly desirable as tenants. In fact, the Petfinder website does say that pet-friendly rental units have a 4% lower vacancy rate.
The decision may be somewhat ameliorated by the fact that most pet owners readily accept pet deposits, various pet stipulations, and even a rent surcharge. For landlords who partner with professional managers, the best St. Louis professional property management firms can be counted on to enforce established guidelines that protect their clients’ properties while providing the revenue benefits.
In short, the pet/no pet conundrum needn’t be a stumbling block for anyone weighing the investment potential that St. Louis rental homes can provide. For a more complete picture, call me!