What is an Amenity?
Amenities do not have to be limited to physical components of the house or structures themselves; the common thread of amenities is simply the additive aspects of the property.
Features of the geographic region and locale are also important amenities—nearby facilities or attractions, a low crime rate, proximity to schools and places of business, etc. Even an affordability advantage to similar properties in the area is an amenity, vis-à-vis those other properties.
Going Past Base Amenities
But items like the square footage, the architectural style, and how many bedrooms and bathrooms a property contains are amenities. These “boilerplate” facts of a home could still stand out and differentiate the property from others. Prospective buyers or their agents will commonly use search functions to filter results in a given area, so that only properties with specific amenities are shown.
Other commonly cited amenities include whether the property has a garage, basement, expansive kitchen, new appliances, an open floor plan, central air/heating, a pool, and multiple floors. Commonly cited geographic/locale amenities include:
- Proximity to schools
- Low crime statistics
- Friendly/quiet neighbors
- Move-in ready
- Proximity to shopping/food
- Gated community
- Property tax rates
In a world where the most baseline of all houses would be considered vanilla, amenities provide the flavors. They offer variety. A discussion of what first-time homebuyers are seeking most can be found here. The amenities most sought out will shift from state to state, region to region.
Municipalities and states can also spend money on public amenities (parks, bike lanes, recycling programs, community centers, etc). They have a vested interest in seeing property values rise in their area, and increasing amenities will increase demand from people who want to live in the area.
If someone is pursuing an income/cash flow real estate strategy such as a buy and hold rental, it’s vital to study and learn the key amenities sought by your target renter base. The top amenities that renters look for is discussed in-depth here. Using local knowledge can help enterprising homeowners and investors add specific amenities, which can increase the value of the home more than the cost of adding the amenity.
What Amenities Should I List for My Home?
And if you’re listing a rental property on the market, be thinking about the kind of renter you want and what’s most important from their unique perspective. A good listing agent can be invaluable in sorting out which amenities are most value-add to the sales potential (both speed of sale and price realized) of the property. Always be thinking how a prospective buyer/renter is going to first come across your property. In most cases, they’ll be using a mass listing service’s search function and filtering properties based on specific amenities.
Is parking at a premium in your area? Put a dedicated parking space down.
Hot summer weather? Put your pool near the top of the listing.
It may be advantageous for you to make a high-value investment in the property, i.e. take a half bathroom and renovate it to a full bathroom, so a 1.5-bath home can be bumped up to a 2-bath home, have more intrinsic value, and get included in much wider search results from prospective buyers.