Young tenants, home buyers want a modern set of amenities

Young tenants and buyers want modern amenities, such as a coworking space in a high-rise or a partnership with a local, nearby coworking facility.  Above: Marc Billings and Tito Gaudenzi, with art technology startup Blackdove, work at Buro MiMo in 2015 in Northeast Miami.

Young tenants and buyers want modern amenities, such as a coworking space in a high-rise or a partnership with a local, nearby coworking facility. Above: Marc Billings and Tito Gaudenzi, with art technology startup Blackdove, work at Buro MiMo in 2015 in Northeast Miami.

AL DIAZ

MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Messy kitchens. Concierge services. Coworking space. Connections to local businesses.

These and other features are the amenities housing professionals are recommending that builders and developers offer homebuyers going forward.

“What consumers want in a community is changing, requiring master plan and rental community developers to rethink standard amenities and respond to changing needs,” said Maegan Sherlock, a research analyst with the John Burns Real Estate Consulting firm.

Take the messy kitchen. Most of us already have one every time we cook. But that’s the point of a “messy kitchen” – a little annex off the main kitchen that helps keep the main kitchen clean and looking like a show piece. After all, today’s kitchens with cabinet-quality cabinets, granite or quartz countertops, and decorative light fixtures are as much a fashion statement as Jimmy Choo heels.

The messy kitchen houses “the everyday small appliances that can be used regularly without messing with the beautiful countertops,” explains architect Deryl Patterson of Housing Design Matters in Jacksonville.

A big proponent of a second kitchen, Patterson has one in her own house that she says she uses “all the time.” This is where she starts the day making coffee – but now she wishes it included a sink and a pull-out bin. Without a sink, Patterson has to go to the main kitchen island for water to make her brew. Afterwards, it’s back to the main kitchen to dump the lot. Don’t ask how many times her filter has broken on the way to the bin, she says.

Not only is a small extra kitchen practical, it’s relatively cheap: basically just cupboards and running water.

In addition to other kitchens, the Burns firm’s trend-tracking research suggests three low-cost, high-impact amenities that developers may want to use to attract today’s young homebuyers.

First: concierge services. Hotels have long offered this kind of assistance: Walk up to the concierge desk, ask where to find a good Italian restaurant or the nearest full-service gym, and get an answer on the spot.

But the concierge also performs other tasks. He or she can arrange events on your behalf, book excursions and transportation, make restaurant reservations, and even respond to complaints by taking necessary action.

That’s exactly what Sherlock sees in the future of housing developments – at least those big enough to afford it. She says concierge-like services that ease everyday demands will allow homeowners to prioritize other priorities.

She also likes the idea of ​​a community-based rental service where people can check out fishing poles, bikes, maybe even lawnmowers. Such facilities would allow residents to take advantage of seasonal sports such as skiing and kayaking without having to purchase and store the equipment.

It’s all part of the “sharing economy” that today’s young buyers have grown up with, says Sherlock. So is the idea of ​​a locally based workplace for those who no longer need to commute to a remote office. And it works for those who don’t have enough space in their home for a dedicated office, as well as those who just want to get out of the house.

Sherlock says a coworking space, perhaps in the community clubhouse or as a stand-alone building, will meet the needs of the work-at-home set, 40% of whom would otherwise set up their laptops in their kitchens, spare bedrooms or basements. at least one day a week. Such space can even go beyond the standard conference room “by allowing remote workers to rent soundproof rooms or equipment like green screens and lighting,” suggests Sherlock.

If offering coworking space isn’t in the cards, she likes the idea of ​​partnering with nearby businesses that offer such services. “A discounted membership is a great way to support your community,” she says.

Linking residents directly to other local services is also a good way to build support. Perks like discounted spa and fitness club memberships, deals at local restaurants and shops, and maybe even happy hour deals at nearby craft breweries can help people explore and become part of the community, she says.

Meanwhile, Sara Gutterman of Green Builder Media suggests that builders upgrade their outdoor living facilities. “People are tired of being confined indoors and are looking to design sustainable outdoor living spaces for relaxing, entertaining and gardening,” she says. “In an unpredictable and confusing world, homeowners find solace in their porches, yards and gardens.”

And finally, builders should consider adding a small space for the homeowners’ dogs. Patterson says several of her employees wish they had had the foresight to build a better place to store their pet’s food, toys and bowls. One even wants a doggy shower in the garage, where his dog can shake off excess water.

Patterson’s own house has such a dog shower: It’s waist-high and has hot water and a powerful blow dryer. Her husband scoffed at the idea when they built their place a few years ago, but now he loves it. “What used to take an hour per dog now takes 30 minutes for both,” she says.

Lew Sichelman has covered real estate for more than 50 years. He is a regular contributor to several shelter magazines and housing and home finance industry publications. Readers can contact him at [email protected]

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