What Is an Amenity?

An amenity is a feature of residential or commercial property that enhances the appeal to inhabitants. The term “amenity” can refer both to features built into the property as well as those that are part of the community. Amenities are very desirable to residents and increase the value of a property.

Learn more about what an amenity is, typical examples, and what kind of value they can add.

Definition and Examples of an Amenity

An amenity refers to the desirable features of a home, residential community, or commercial property that enhance its appeal for potential inhabitants or tenants. Amenities include features both inside the unit and part of the community. For a resident, amenities should help make living more comfortable and convenient.

Housing units with more desirable amenities can attract new residents and charge higher rents. They can also lead to high resident satisfaction, high occupancy, and higher property values.

Amenities are frequently referenced in attracting tenants to apartments or condominium complexes. These buildings may offer swimming pools, fitness facilities, park areas, pet spaces, and other types of amenities.

Apartment complexes may aim to align the amenities offered with the tenants they hope to attract. For example, if an apartment complex consists mainly of one-bedroom units catering to young professionals, they may offer amenities such as co-working spaces or fitness but offer fewer child-friendly spaces.

Many amenities can attract residents to a community. In an email interview with The Balance, Andrew Meditz, president of Elite Amenity Management based in New York, revealed some of the most desirable amenities. These include access to a private gym, fitness studio, and swimming pool. He also noted that work-from-home amenities, such as co-working spaces or common areas, have become very desirable.

Real estate broker Michael Dean said in an email interview with The Balance that smart technology is an amenity that attracts residents. “From state-of-the-art, highly efficient HVAC to integrated lighting systems and app-driven security systems, the more technologically adept your home is, the better your market appeal.”

How Do Amenities Work?

When tenants or prospective owners are searching for a property to live in, they’re likely looking for specific amenities and will search out communities that offer them. Amenities that offer a more comfortable and convenient life for tenants can lead to higher satisfaction, lower turnover, higher rents, and higher property values. Owners can use amenities strategically to attract tenants or potential buyers.

According to Alex Peña of RentHop in an email to The Balance, “A good rule of thumb is that anything that adds on to the amount of usable space (like a storage unit, parking spot, or balcony) or creates more efficiency (like washer and dryer in unit, dishwasher, or elevator) will be a sought-after amenity and increase the value of the apartment.”

Because many community amenities are shared among the housing complex or neighborhood, they may need professional management and maintenance. With an apartment complex, the upkeep of these facilities is often managed in-house. Residents have no role in the upkeep.

These amenities come at a cost, usually in the form of higher rent. Some apartment complexes may have an amenity fee on top of rent.

With a condominium complex or planned community, however, individual owners become members of a homeowners association (HOA) and agree to abide by the conditions, covenants, and restrictions (CC&Rs) upon purchase of the property. As a part of the CC&Rs, the homeowner agrees to pay fees for the HOA to hire management and maintain the amenities. Board members are elected to the HOA, where decisions are made about what amenities the homeowners association can offer.

Types of Amenities

Amenities generally can be classified into two categories: in-unit amenities and community amenities.

In-Unit Amenities

In-unit amenities are found within the residential unit itself. Some common examples of in-unit amenities include:

  • Washers and dryers
  • Central air conditioning
  • Forced air heating
  • Balconies
  • Smart-home features
  • Wi-Fi
  • High-speed internet
  • Security
  • High-end fixtures and finishes
  • Renovated spaces
  • Open floor plans
  • Pet-friendly spaces
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Closets or storage space
  • Large windows and natural light

Community Amenities

Community amenities are shared by the residents of the apartment building, condominium complex, or HOA-governed neighborhood. Some examples include:

  • Swimming pools
  • Clubhouses
  • Tennis courts
  • Fitness facilities
  • Parking
  • Covered parking
  • Parks
  • Common areas
  • Pet areas
  • Security
  • Package lockers
  • Bike storage
  • Co-working spaces
  • Electric car charging stations
  • Kids’ play areas
  • Barbeque areas
  • Picnic tables
  • Community garden spaces
  • Green spaces
  • Elevators

In a study by the National Apartment Association, half of the top 10 amenities added to apartment complexes were community-based, such as clubhouses and common areas.

How Much Do Amenities Cost?

Here are a few examples of typical amenity fees when they’re not included in rent:

  • One-time: anywhere from $100 to $500 upon moving in
  • Monthly: $30 per month
  • Swimming pool: $30 to $50 for the season
  • Bike storage: $10 to $20 per bike per month
  • Outdoor parking spaces: $10 to $400 per month
  • Covered parking spot: $50 to $600 per month
  • Storage: $50 to $200, depending on the size of the unit
  • Fitness centers: often free, but some complexes where space is a premium can charge a fee for use of the facility
  • Clubhouse use: usually free
  • Package lockers or management: $3 to $5 per month, sometimes with an activation fee of around $30

Charges and expectations for amenities vary widely in different parts of the country. In some areas, it is typical for amenities to be included in the price of rent and tenants do not need to pay an additional fee. Some apartment complexes charge a one-time amenity fee, while others may charge for them monthly.

Key Takeaways

  • An amenity can increase the desirability and value of a property to owners and tenants.
  • Amenities are often included in rent, though this is not always the case.
  • Some amenities are offered inside the unit; others are offered as part of the community. 
  • Popular amenities include yards, smart home technology, security, and co-working spaces.

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