October 21, 2015
Community Amenities – Hot Options Homebuyers Want
Many developers of planned communities are “movin’ on up” and offering resort-style amenities in affordable suburban neighborhoods. This trend is a win-win – buyers get exciting extras and developers produce salable, attractive communities that are popular with their target audience. How do developers decide which particular amenities they’re going to offer in a specific community? Developers tend to look carefully at the slate of amenities they can offer when they are first looking at the property they would like to acquire. Factors such as the quality of the soil, the local water table, the economic status of the area and the amenities already offered by surrounding communities can all come into play. For example, maintaining tennis or basketball courts against a high water table may be a challenge. Also, if all of the local communities already established have in-ground swimming pools, what extras would a developer include to make their pool more appealing than the others? These questions are answered by special land development teams that are in charge of assessing the opportunities and selecting the ones that will provide the widest acceptance among homebuyers. So what amenities are convincing homebuyers that a certain community is the perfect choice for them? “Green Amenities” Community planners are adding more and more open, green space to their developments. Whether it's bike trails, hiking trails, dog parks, picnic areas with grills or “pocket parks” nestled in the center of an active community, the addition of plentiful grass and trees that everyone can enjoy is always a popular pick. Some communities are even adding spaces devoted to neighborhood gardens and sponsoring their own open air farmer’s markets. Others are adding trolleys to take residents to nearby destinations to cut down on the use of single family automobiles. Timely Technology Homebuilders are offering residences that are “tech ready” – outfitted with fiber optic networks, community wi-fi, business centers with handy work stations designed to suit the telecommuting crowd, key card entries to community buildings, security camera systems and time clock systems for babysitters and tutors. Most developers now use Energy Star certified appliances exclusively and many actively promote alternative energy sources such as solar power. Wonderful Water To go back to our earlier question about swimming pools, more and more communities are dressing up their standard offerings to be more competitive. Homebuyers are excited by miniature water park pools with slides and lazy rivers, Junior Olympic size pools for lap swimming and beach entry style pools that feature a gentle sloping entrance, rather than ladders or stairs. Some communities are now offering multiple pools to meet the needs of different types of residents. Two or more pools may now be available in some neighborhoods, including a general use pool, a children’s pool, an adults only or seniors only pool and a lap pool. Fountains, ponds and reflection pools are also desirable accents when planning a community. A Kiddie Paradise Communities are adding full playgrounds, sports fields, child care centers, day camps and scheduled activities that appeal to parents by appealing to their children. Some communities are even installing miniature movie theaters! Sports Galore We’ve mentioned tennis courts and basketball courts, but some communities are taking it a step further by adding golf courses, beach volleyball pits, fully equipped gyms, billiards and game rooms, ziplines and kayaking in their own manmade lakes. Pampering Places The popularity of full-service spas, beauty salons and tanning beds is surging – by providing these fee-for-service options on-site, communities are offering convenience to their residents with profitable locations that, in the long run, end up paying for themselves. If you’re in the market for a new home, take a look at the local real estate market and compare the amenities offered in various communities. Some will appeal to you while some aren’t your cup of tea. If a specific neighborhood offers two or three (or more!) exciting options, be sure to make an appointment to check it out. You don’t want to miss out on these special extras that will make your home more like a paradise!