Why Standard Features are Not Amenities

I wouldn’t even consider renting an apartment that didn’t have a microwave.

It’s not that I can’t cook. (I can’t, but that’s neither here nor there.) It’s just that the inclusion of a microwave in an apartment kitchen seems so standard, so basic, that if an apartment didn’t include one it would feel like an apartment from the Stone Age. (I know there weren’t apartments in the Stone Age. It’s called hyperbole. Jeez.)

A microwave is not an amenity.

Recently I came across an infographic on the Lincoln Property Company blog lists the top 20 amenities, according to the NMHC. Included, along with a microwave, are other “amenities” such as a refrigerator, cable TV and high-speed Internet.

What, no mention of ceilings?

Maybe these items used to be considered amenities, but now, with so many new communities competing for renters, these features are pretty much standard. People just assume that they will be included. Don’t have them? Then say goodbye to most of your desirable potential renters. Your pool of applicants will shrink all the way down.

Pictured: Not an amenity.

Look over your marketing material. Are you touting modern apartment standards as your top come ons? Well, stop it. It makes you look desperate, and no one is attracted to desperation (like all those unanswered match.com form emails that people send to anyone who clicks on their profile).

So what should you advertise? Amenities renters want, but that not all apartments necessarily have, like a gym, rooftop access, or online rent payment options. Or amenities that are a little different that will help your community stand out, like food trucks, fitness classes, or free massage Wednesdays (a girl can dream, right?).

What if you have an older community or just a building that isn’t a fancy-schmancy luxury high-rise that has crazy amenities? There are sure to be other things you can highlight, beyond what you are expected to have. Maybe you’re pet friendly? The apartments have great natural light? None of the units have ever been used as a meth lab?

Always try to have what your residents will want. But don’t try to pass off including something that is all but required as a “favor” you’re doing for them. Providing standard features isn’t a license to brag.

What amenities does your community have that you’re most proud of? What are some other standard “amenities” that should no longer be included in advertising?

-Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor