The Ultimate New Home Amenities Checklist
Most people know the fundamentals to look for when buying a house: A roof and foundation in good condition, enough square footage to fit the whole family, central heating and air and so on. Beyond that, however, there are lots of little extras — commonly known as amenities — that turn a house into, well, a home! If you’re embarking on a home-buying journey, it’s super useful to have a go-to checklist of amenities you’re looking for. Once you’ve verified that a house has the basics, you can grab your checklist and start looking for the features that make up your dream home! Up ahead, you’ll find some of the top amenities that buyers like you are seeking in today’s housing market.
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- Outdoor Space
Pandemic-era outdoor hangouts made a lot of people remember how great it is to have an outdoor space to live, work and play in! That’s why outdoor spaces are among today’s most in-demand home features, whether that’s a backyard, deck, patio, garden or some combination of the above. If you love to grill, you might want to look for a property with an outdoor kitchen island, or a place you can install your own. (Tip: Don’t forget that you’ll need electrical outlets for appliances like pellet grills and outdoor fridges.)
- Updated Kitchen
Kitchen upgrades are another highly coveted amenity for home buyers, and for good reason. The kitchen is the center of your whole lifestyle in many households, which is why upgrades like new appliances, kitchen islands and high quality countertops can be genuinely huge for your quality of life. A fully upgraded kitchen won’t come cheap, as most sellers know that it’s something buyers look for and price their properties accordingly — but if there’s anything worth stretching your budget a little bit for, the kitchen of your dreams just might be it.
The vast majority of Americans rely on cars for their primary transportation, and that makes parking as important a home amenity as it’s ever been! A spacious garage is the ideal for a lot of people, especially since garages also provide convenient storage space. Even if a garage isn’t at the top of your wish list, however, having any kind of designated off-street parking space can be a big deal, especially in a city. Gated parking is a good thing to look for if security is a top concern for you.
- Primary Bedroom Suite
Dreaming of that pampered, plush feel in your new home? The primary bedroom suite (AKA the master bedroom and bathroom) is where you’ll find many of the most tempting creature comforts. From walk-in closets and home office nooks to his-and-hers sinks and heated floors, the primary suite is one place where you should definitely feel free to get a little indulgent and demand the best. Some even offer next-level features like balcony access, full-sized soaking tubs or built-in surround sound systems.
- Finished Basement
A home with a finished basement presents all kinds of options for expanding your lifestyle. Some people use theirs as extra storage, while others turn them into full-fledged family entertainment zones or home fitness centers. Or, convert it into the basement lounge you’ve always wanted with a bar, pool table and whatever else puts you in your zone of maximum relaxation! Outdoor lovers might also want to look for a finished basement with patio access for easy come-and-go enjoyment of your outdoor space.
- Hardwood Flooring
Sure, some folks prefer carpet — but if you’re a hardwood floor person, there’s nothing else that will do! A hardwood floor brings a different level of classy shine to a home, and it can last for decades and decades if maintained properly with occasional refinishings. If you’re looking for a bargain, you might consider a home with imperfect hardwood that you can have refinished yourself (which also has the advantage of letting you customize your new finish). Alternatively, composite wood floorings can look almost as good as hardwood, although their longevity isn’t quite on the same level.
- Energy Efficient Features
Whether for environmental reasons or to save on energy bills (or both), many buyers are seeking out homes with energy efficient features built in. These include energy efficient windows, single-flush toilets, heat pumps, Energy Star appliances, smart thermostats, cool roofs and a whole range of other features that can help your home use fewer resources (and thus save you money). Those who really want to go all-in on a green home might even consider looking for homes that either come pre-equipped with solar panels or designed according to “solar-ready” building principles for future installation.
- Bonus Rooms
These flexible spaces are made to be whatever you want them to be! They’re full-sized rooms that may not be suitable as bedrooms, but are ideal for media rooms, game rooms, home offices or practically anything else you can imagine. Plus, since they’re not officially classified as bedrooms, they don’t count as such on property tax assessments, which can be a big deal for anyone buying in a high-tax area.
- Smart Home Technologies
The average American home now has over 20 connected smart devices, including a fast-growing range of “smart home” devices like doorbell cameras, smart lighting, smart TVs and even smart WiFi pellet grills. Anyone who loves to keep their home connected should know that it’s increasingly common to see properties with built-in automation features that allow you to set up all of your devices on the same system and centralize control through home automation apps. Just be sure to check that your favorite devices are compatible with the system!
A house is one of the biggest investments most people will ever make — so give yourself permission to be picky! At the same time, however, remember that you might be able to add some of these amenities yourself later, so keep an eye out for possibilities as well.