When looking for an apartment, people's search criteria can often initially boil down to the number of bedrooms and monthly rent. As the search deepens, though, people will search for the details that really matter to them and their families or roommates. That may include distance from public transportation, if the units are pet-friendly, or what kind of appliances are in the kitchen. These features are all very important and can be deal-breakers, but during that next level of the search process, there’ll also be the rundown of apartment amenities.
Apartment amenities are the nonessential features of an apartment that make life easier, more enjoyable, or more productive. These are not items like running water or heat in the winter that you should have everywhere, but certain sweeteners a building may offer that make them more appealing than another options that may be comparable in size, price, or quality.
How Apartment Amenities Appeal to Renters and Owners
When you are on an apartment hunt, prioritize the amenities that are most relevant to your lifestyle. Consider what will make living in this new space (for months or even years) more pleasant and what isn't worth the extra rent money or facility fees. If you love working out, a gym in the building would be a big asset to you. If that’s not your thing but a weekend swim is, a rooftop pool would be far more appealing.
Landlords or building owners, managers, and developers need to figure out which amenities will offer the most return on their investment. On-site childcare is a worthwhile investment only if it brings families with steady incomes (and long-term leases) into the building, for example. Other amenities, such as a pool, require an initial allocation of space, a large expense to build, and significant ongoing maintenance—but it may be worth the cost if the amenity keeps the building full and renters or condo owners happy.
Features vs. Amenities
Amenities are additional features or comforts inside a property or building that will add extra value to residents and their experience of the building. While an apartment having a stove is a basic feature, having an event space in the building with a catering kitchen capable of hosting parties and large gatherings would be an amenity.
What Is an Amenity Fee?
While some amenities are built into the rent, at some properties, residents will be asked to pay an amenity fee separate from rent for access to the facilities, such as a gym or a rooftop. While you may have the option to opt-out of the fee if you don't plan to use the amenities, an amenity fee, facility fee, or common charges are something to consider as an additional monthly expense. Ask about any fees at the lease signing and confirm what they are or if they're optional.
Common Apartment Amenities
Available amenities will depend on location, the demographics of the city or region, and what kind of residents the owner is hoping to attract. Is the building in a college town? Or is it more of a family-friendly area? If it’s in the northeast or New England, options like an outdoor fire pit area may bring people in. Where it’s generally warmer, a pool or a shaded rooftop are probably a lot more appealing. While office space may be great in building catering to young professionals, a play area or childcare may be more appealing to the family set. Still, there are some apartment amenities that will appeal to most potential residents—here are options to consider when searching for your next home.
Transportation and Parking Amenities
When choosing a new apartment, most people will pay close attention to transportation options. While it’s nice to know the apartment is close to a subway or bus stop, that would only be helpful for someone who commutes on public transportation. For those who have a car, amenities such as on-site garages, covered parking, or assigned parking spaces are much more appealing. For cyclists, bike storage may be an appreciated amenity; those without cars may appreciate a courtesy shuttle to the nearest train stop or shopping center.
There are many technology conveniences that are appreciated as amenities, such as online options for leasing, paying rent, and making maintenance requests.
Does the building have a shared laundry room or even an on-site laundry service or dry cleaner? Laundry is an essential, so if you don't have in-unit laundry, you'll want to find out what laundry options your building offers (if any).
If pets are welcome in a building, how those pets are treated and cared for once on the property could be considered an amenity. Does the apartment complex offer doggie daycare or an on-site pet walker? Is there a designated dog park area or a trail for dog walks?
Having elevator access, a doorman, or a designated (and secure) package room are all amenities people will appreciate to varying degrees, depending on their lifestyle. All will come at a premium, likely in the form of higher rent than you'd see for a comparable unit in another building—but if you have an infant who needs a stroller, you'll want an elevator. If you live alone or are concerned about safety, paying a higher rent or fees to live in a building with a doorman, security cameras, a security guard, or gated access may be worth it. Other building amenities can include on-site composting, a recycling center, or doorstep recycling collection.
An on-site gym or fitness center, a pool, and even a playground or community center all help residents feel more at-home (and comfortable) in a building. Whether there’s a shared outdoor grilling space for cookouts, a multi-purpose room that can be reserved for parties and meetings, or a library and media room that can be used for studying or working from home, amenities make living in a building better.
More community amenities can include events and classes, which are great for creating a neighborly feeling.