They're both waiting for someone to come along and want them, but that's not all.
The truth is, both houses that need new owners and dogs who need new homes share the "boring ad syndrome."
Think about it. In spite of the fact that the Internet offers almost unlimited space, the majority of homes for sale ads I see online don't offer any information that creates desire or excitement to see the house. Dog adoption ads are the same.
House ad: "3 br, 2 ba, family room, deck, 1800 s.f."
Dog ad: "6 mo. Shep X male."
Both ads are "supposed" to make readers pick up the phone and ask for more information. But what is there about those ads to even provoke curiosity?
Even ads that are longer often show nothing but a dry list of features. The writer leaves it up to the reader to imagine what those features mean to them.
There's no longer an excuse for this. Creating curiosity is the writer's job - not the reader's.
Back in the days when homes were advertised in newspaper classifieds, there was a financial reason to be brief. You were charged by the word. The Internet has changed all that.
Now, if you're advertising on the internet or writing copy for a flyer, there's no excuse for brevity. You have the freedom to paint as many word pictures as there are features and benefits to describe – and you should.
Your job is to arouse interest and cause the readers to imagine themselves enjoying life in that house. So, while being careful to avoid breaking any ADA or Fair Housing laws, take time to weave some benefits in with the features. For example:
"You'll have room to invite the whole neighborhood for summer BBQ's on your 24 X 40 redwood deck."
(Can you see everyone laughing and having fun?)
"While this home's extensive outdoor lighting illuminates the falling snow, you can relax in warmth and comfort as the flames dance inside your 4' river rock fireplace."
(Can you picture doing this?)
My first broker gave me this advice: "When you write an ad, try to put the reader in the house." That advice is still just as valid as it was when she said it back in 1985.
So take that home's most attractive or important feature, imagine how anyone could enjoy it (regardless of race, religion, gender, familial status, disability, etc.), and write a sentence that brings that enjoyment to life. Then go on to the next feature and do the same.
Don't worry that the features you stress won't appeal to everyone. All you'll do is eliminate the lookers who will waste your time because they won't like the house when they see it in person.
Those who do want those features will be reaching for the phone, and those are the buyers you're searching for.