(Newsroom America) -- A third of millennial-aged Americans (ages 18 to 36) who purchased their first home (33%) say the desire to have a better space or yard for a dog influenced their decision to purchase their first home, according to a new survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage.
Dogs ranked among the top three motivators for first-time home purchasers and were cited by more millennials than marriage/upcoming marriage, 25 percent, or the birth/expected birth of a child, 19 percent.
Only the desire for more living space, 66 percent, and the opportunity to build equity, 36 percent, were identified by more millennials as reasons they purchased their first home.
"Millennials have strong bonds with their dogs, so it makes sense that their furry family members are driving home-buying decisions," said Dorinda Smith, SunTrust Mortgage President and CEO. "For those with dogs, renting can be more expensive and a hassle; home ownership takes some of the stress off by providing a better living situation."
Among millennials who have never purchased a home, 42 percent say that their dog – or the desire to have one – is a key factor in their desire to buy a home in the future, suggesting dogs will also influence purchase decisions of potential first-time homebuyers.
"Millennials are trending toward homeownership," Smith added. "Demand among millennial-aged, first-time homebuyers is robust, and we expect them to continue adding strength to the housing market."
SunTrust offers the following tips when considering a first-time home purchase:
Understand Your Initial Expenses. The down payment and closing costs can really add up, but don't forget to budget for moving expenses. These include everything from truck rental to setting up water, power, cable, internet and more.
Organize Your Finances. While there are different types of loans for different needs, your finances will be thoroughly evaluated during the credit application. Make sure they are organized so you can better retrieve them throughout the application process.
Get Pre-Qualified. Lenders can use your income and credit history to give you an estimate of the home loan amount for which you qualify. The pre-qualification amount can be a helpful guideline when you are considering which properties to purchase.
Create a Realistic Timeline. Even with a pre-qualification, loans can take weeks to be finalized. Work with a loan officer to decide the best type of loan for your situation and make sure your loan will be ready in advance of your closing.