5 Seasonal Amenities to Put on Your Wish List This Year

Though they aren’t typically as high on potential renters’ wish-lists as things like location, rent and floor plan, amenities can make all the difference when compared to cookie-cutter communities with similar offerings. Not all amenities are created equal, though. Their usefulness may be dependent on your geographical location, personal preference and even the season.

Amenities

For example, if you’re looking for a place in Buffalo, an outdoor pool may be as useful to you this time of year as that “unique” tie your oh-so thoughtful in-laws gave you for Christmas. So, we’re going to break down some of the most popular seasonal amenities and consider how important they may be during your housing search.

1. Fireplaces

Curling up beside the fire on a dark and cold winter night can be the epitome of cozy to some, but there are a few things to take into consideration before pulling the trigger on an apartment with a fireplace:

  • Wood vs. gas vs. electric: Will you have to buy and store your own firewood to build that roaring flame, or could taking advantage of a gas or electric fireplace end up costing you a pretty penny?
  • How often would you use it: If you live somewhere warm, there’s a good chance you’ll use a heat-providing fireplace less often than somewhere with a cooler climate, so it may not be worth paying higher rent for
  • Are you a warm-blooded person: If you’re someone who runs hot, a fireplace probably would not be as useful to you as it would to your aunt who likes to ask waiters if they have the authority to crank the restaurant’s heat up just for her

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2. Covered parking

If you live somewhere that gets a healthy dose of snow annually, a covered parking spot can be a God-send. Carports can save you valuable time (and back pain) by avoiding shoveling your vehicle out before work every morning in the winter, making it one of the most sought-after and valuable amenities in northern states.

Throughout the year, a carport can protect your vehicle from the various elements, reduce your carbon footprint and the energy costs of running your air conditioner to cool it down, and depending on the structure, protect your vehicle from being hit or broken into. Not to mention prevent your poor palms from being scorched on a burning leather steering wheel.

3. Rooftop patios

Shared rooftop patios are becoming one of the most popular, trendy amenities among new high-rise communities, particularly in urban locations. There’s just something grandiose and appealing about having your own slice of the skyline, especially when you add extras like pools, grills, gardens and fire pits into the mix.

That being said, rooftop amenities are also some of the most likely to raise the rent, especially in places like N.Y.C. or L.A. where private outdoor space is a rarity. These amenities in the air mostly cater to younger markets and frame them as an opportunity to socialize with neighbors and entertain guests, so if that’s not your thing, this one may not be for you.

However, if you’re a social butterfly, inviting friends to hang out on your rooftop will instantly make you the host with the most and it can be a great way to meet new people.

Obviously, if you live somewhere with warmer year-round temperatures, the more you would be able to utilize a rooftop and the more valuable it becomes. Additionally, some skylines are just better-suited rooftops than others.

4. Outdoor pools

Swimming pools are another amenity closely tied to personal preference and geographical location, as well as accessibility. If a community pool is only open until 9:00 p.m. and you don’t get home from work until 6:30 p.m., its value is significantly negated no matter how much you love to lay out.

In warmer regions, pools are much more common and less likely to impact the overall rent, you’re also more likely to see extras like cabanas, heated pools and spas to help a community claim its amenities are superior to the competition.

A community pool can also be the social center of a community, where residents gather and mingle. This, again, depends on personal preference but is definitely something to ask about if it is of importance to you.

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5. Sport courts

If ball is life, having access to a community court is a huge plus, serving as a way to get exercise, mingle with neighbors or entertain guests. If you have kids, it can also be a great way to tire them out before bedtime.

The most common sport courts found in communities are basketball, volleyball and tennis, all of which require fairly dry conditions, but can be enjoyed year-round, adding to their value.

However, if you’re not a sports person, having an onsite court just becomes part of the scenery and would obviously not be worth paying higher rent for.

Think about it

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of upscale amenities when considering communities. Whether they provide function, entertainment or leisure, amenities can be one of the first things that stand out to potential renters, especially in a competitive housing market.

However, it’s important to take into consideration how much you’ll be able to utilize these amenities and how valuable they can be to you personally. There’s no point in paying extra for things you won’t use, but a valuable amenity can also significantly enhance your living experience.

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