Pet spas, a residents-only restaurant and cryotherapy. These are just a few of the extravagant amenities prospective buyers can find in condominium buildings right now.
Yet, while some developers find themselves competing in an “amenity race,” condo buyers, ironically, aren’t generally looking for the newest, most luxurious features. People want practical perks – they want spaces or equipment that will improve their health, enhance safety and support their lifestyles.
In this article, we’ll explore which amenities are most in-demand, and how associations can encourage owners to use amenities more often.
Most valuable condo amenities
Condo amenities are as unique as the communities they serve. Some buildings have a modest workout space, while others have bowling alleys and basketball courts. Newer condos tend to offer owners less living space, so developers may try to compensate by adding unique facilities to attract buyers.
Developers also pay attention to trends. 10 or 15 years ago, buyers may have been looking for pools and pet spaces. Now, shared workspaces and parcel lockers are in high demand.
Some amenities lose appeal as social and economic trends change, but these three items will always be popular with condo buyers because they appeal to a variety of demographics:
- Rooftop terrace
These are the amenities that most new condo owners actively request and, frankly, find most valuable.
24/7 front desk service has become the norm for many condo communities. People value the extra security and the service when it comes to helping guests or managing package deliveries. It’s not uncommon for a concierge company to offer a hybrid of security and customer service. Staff will come to investigate a noise complaint at 2 am, but would not generally try to defuse a fight that broke out by the front entrance.
Another favorite is the condo gym. On occasion, the gym looks more like an afterthought than a planned fitness space. But, when designed correctly, it can offer a lot of convenience to residents who wish to do some basic cardio or weightlifting. Some gyms are open 24/7, so owners with odd schedules can still get a workout in.
Finally, because condos tend to be constructed in dense urban areas, the extra breathing room offered by a scenic rooftop terrace can be invaluable. The rooftop terrace may also have barbecue facilities and dedicated seating areas, which is a bonus in the warmer months.
Most overrated condo amenities
These amenities sound good, but owners don’t actually use them as much as they thought they would:
- Swimming pool
- Pet spa and dog washing room
- Golf simulator room
People think that they’ll use their condo pool all of the time. But some owners never even dip a toe in the aqua blue facility. Rooftop pools tend to draw a more enthusiastic and younger crowd, but usage is limited in North American cities that experience cold winters. Pools are also among the most expensive amenities to maintain, meaning they can be a big waste of money.
Condos with pet spas and dog washing facilities are often located near dog parks, so they can attract a certain type of resident. But not everyone loves dogs. And even some pet owners find it too challenging to bathe their furry family members by themselves. They’d prefer to pay a groomer than pay for the amenity through condo fees.
Golf simulator rooms are perhaps one of the most underused amenities. They are not universally appealing, and they are expensive to fix when they break. Golf simulators also take up a lot of room; the space could probably be used for a more practical feature.
Why would condos want to encourage amenity usage?
Let’s say your owners don’t use the amenities in the building very often. What’s the big deal? Well, in addition to being a waste of valuable space, owners miss out on the full condo experience. They’re less likely to interact with other residents, and less likely to entice future buyers to move in.
Owners are paying for the amenities
Whether they use the gym once a year or five times a week, owners are the ones who pay for the amenities. The money used to maintain and repair amenities comes from condominium fees. Often, the more amenities a building has, the higher the condo fees will be in order to pay for upkeep. Owners should get their money’s worth.
Associations can generate additional revenue from them
Facilities like the gym or business room are usually free to residents. But some amenities require a deposit or additional payment. That could include guest suites, the party room, or elevator reservations. The association can generate more income from these types of amenities if residents are using them often enough.
How to get more residents to use amenities
You can’t force anyone to use an amenity, but you can make spaces more attractive and easier to book.
Consider repurposing amenity spaces
As individual units get smaller and smaller, amenities become more important. It may be that your current offerings no longer serve the community’s wants and needs. The building may have housed empty-nesters a decade ago, but now, you’ve got younger couples and families moving in.
It’s not a cheap solution, but amenity spaces do require renovations and upgrades from time to time. If you’ve got a library that’s only collecting cobwebs, consider how to make better use of that space. Co-working spaces, spaces for strollers and parcel storage rooms are all very popular right now. Children’s rooms, craft rooms and tool rooms are also in high demand. With housing prices on the rise, some people are realizing that it just makes more financial sense to stay in a condo. That means there are now families of four of five in these small units, and they appreciate having an additional space to play, work or relax.
Some spaces may just need a refresh. Replace rusting gym equipment with some new items. Swap harsh fluorescent lights for warmer LED lighting. Even a new paint job can make an old space feel more comfortable.
Make sure owners know how to access amenities
It may sound a bit shocking, but some owners and residents may not be aware of what all is available to them. Similarly, they may be aware that something like a guest suite is available, but are unsure about who to ask to reserve a room.
For this reason, all new owners should receive a welcome package with information about condo amenities, including where they are located and how to access them. Communities that use a condo management software platform like Condo Control can even post this information in the document storage section. That way, any resident or owner can access amenity details at any time.
Make it easy to book amenities
On a similar note, residents and owners won’t book amenities if the process is too complicated. Having to get a certified check from the bank to secure a party room or guest suite is a tedious and unpleasant process. As such, owners may decide it’s not worth the work.
A good amenity booking and payment processing system can drastically increase amenity usage. Software can facilitate the booking process and allow residents to book amenities all by themselves. Bookings can be completed using a computer or smartphone. If a facility requires a deposit or payment, residents can also cover the costs through the system. Not only does this simplify the process for them, but it reduces some repetitive admin work for condo staff, too!
The best condo amenities are the ones that add true value to the lives of the people for whom they were designed. Fitness rooms, workspaces and child-friendly amenities are big right now because they are practical and support the needs of condo dwellers. Concierge and condo lockers are also becoming must-haves for new buyers. In order for residents to enjoy the facilities available to them, they must be easy to book and use. The spaces must be safe, clean and, ideally, make the resident or guest feel at home.