In April, Lindsay Machak with Multifamily Executive ran an article about the top five most underutilized amenities at apartment communities. Three top executives in the industry contributed their feedback about these amenities and whether or not they were deemed underutilized.

The five amenities listed were: Racquetball Courts; Volleyball Courts; Theater Rooms; Clubhouses; Putting Greens.

To piggy-back on this article, I’d like to provide my thoughts on these amenities, as well as a few amenities I feel may be some of the more utilized amenities at communities.

  • Racquetball Courts: I can see racquetball courts being an amenity that may be well used at an active senior community. Outside of this demographic racquetball courts just seem like too large of a space commitment to really get the return on investment to justify having this at the typical community.
  • Volleyball Courts: I am a fan of this amenity, because I enjoy playing volleyball. Student Housing, or Military geared communities, always seem to have volleyball courts and from my experience, this is commonly a popular selling tool with these groups. As an amenity at a conventional property, I could see the space being better used as a dog park.
  • Theater Rooms: This amenity always has the “wow” factor behind it, but that is really about it. I can’t remember the last time I was touring a community and there was actually someone in the theater room. It’s an expensive amenity that requires a tremendous amount of upkeep and is oftentimes abused by residents.
  • Clubhouses: I personally love walking into a beautiful clubhouse. It’s the first impression factor that prospects get and is when they begin to develop their mindset as to whether or not they can see themselves living at the community. Now in terms of the clubhouse being an amenity that many people utilize, it is not typically a well populated area. Despite this, I think it is still well worth the investment to have a nice clubhouse, because it will definitely be a deciding factor when it comes to your prospects.
  • Putting Greens: I honestly think putting greens are an amenity of the past and was typically something that was put in a space to just fill an area. Putting greens are typically never used and they are normally a forgotten amenity that never gets taken care of. Just as with the volleyball court, if there is a choice between a pet area and putting green, I would always go with the pet area.

Now, if you’re looking to have amenities that will get usage and will be appreciated by your residents, here are a few must-haves for your community:

  • Pet Areas: Roughly 75% of apartment renters own pets. Enough said.
  • Transportation: Regardless of whether your community is student housing located close to campus, or a conventional community located near a shopping center, having some sort of complimentary shuttle is an amenity residents use across the board. In addition, this is something that will make your community stand-out from your competitors and show that your community is willing to go the extra mile for its residents.
  • Social Areas: Whether it is a grilling area, a courtyard with tables and chairs, or just an inviting clubhouse, residents are looking for a sense of community in the apartments they are choosing to live at. Now the kicker to this is that it’s not just about having these areas, it’s about encouraging engagement with these areas, which is on the management staff to coordinate. Host cookouts. Plan a speed dating night. Have themed parties. These are things that are outside the box and will give residents an opportunity to meet fellow residents.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi: Does this area have Wi-Fi? This is one of the more common questions our leasing specialists get on tours when it comes to showing the clubhouse and social areas at communities. As many areas Wi-Fi can be provided in, the better for your community. We are such a technologically spoiled society these days that we have to be able to have Wi-Fi as much as possible. Definitely take this into consideration when developing, or upgrading, your community.

These are just a few of the amenities I have seen well-utilized at communities. Are there more that you have seen work at your community? Feel free to comment and share!