A Complete List of Home Amenities and Features for Home Buyers

woman looking at checklist on clipboard at kitchen table
••• Eric Cahan/Corbis/Getty Images

Question: A Complete List of Home Amenities and Features for Home Buyers

A reader asks: "I'm a first-time home buyer, and when the time comes for my agent to ask me what I desire in a home, I won't know what to say besides simple things like a two-story home with a walkout in a quiet neighborhood. But there's much more to a home than that! Can you write a Complete List of Amenities or Features that I can use to let my agent know exactly what I'm looking for? Waterfront, fireplace, bonus rooms, etc. Many first-time home buyers would really appreciate that. Thank you. -- Linda."

Answer: Home amenities and features are details with which I am intimately familiar, Linda. So, you have come to the right place for answers. One of the really great things about giving your agent a list of amenities and features is that your agent can utilize technology to find that perfect home for you from this list.

Most MLS systems that agents use to find homes contain search parameters. Some will let you exclude certain types of criteria, which might be more helpful to you than you may first think. If, for example, you absolutely do not want to buy a home with carpeting, your agent can exclude all homes with carpeting from your search requirements. You might want to consider carpeting only for the bedrooms and installing hardwood-like floors elsewhere.

The more closely you define parameters, the fewer homes you may find that are available to you. If you include too many parameters, you may not find any homes at all. If is best to be more general and less specific. Plus, bear in mind that information exported is only as good as the information imported, and some agents might leave blank certain fields.

Location, Location, Location

This is the first rule of real estate. Location is the most important yet the most often overlooked rule. If you have to choose between a home with all of the amenities you want in a bad location or a home in a good location with only some of the amenities, choose the home with the good location. You can always add amenities, but you cannot change a bad location.

Narrow your list to your top 3 to 5 neighborhoods. Talk to the neighbors to find out if these areas are indeed where you might want to live. Let your agent know the ZIP codes you would like, or define the area by street boundaries so your agent can draw a map search.

  • Types of Locations
    1. View of Coastal, City or Hills
    2. Waterfront -- River, Ocean, Lakefront
    3. Greenbelt
    4. Golf Course
    5. Suburban
    6. City
    7. Raised Elevation or Mountains
    8. Cul De Sac
    9. Dead End Street
    10. Gated Community

Construction, Exterior, Style, Roof and Yard Amenities and Features

As a child, I drew home layouts in the street with drywall chalk from new construction sites. My dream home back then looked like Cinderella's castle at Disneyland. We all have some idea of what our perfect home would look like. But again, you'll get better results from excluding certain types than by choosing too many particulars.

  • Home Construction
    1. Adobe
    2. Brick
    3. Concrete Block
    4. Log
    5. Metal
    6. Stone
    7. Straw
    8. Wood
  • Home Exterior
    1. Brick
    2. Cement Siding
    3. Lap Siding
    4. Metal Siding
    5. Vinyl Siding
    6. Shingle
    7. Stone
    8. Stucco
    9. Veneer
    10. Wood
  • Style of Home
    1. A-Frame
    2. Bungalow
    3. Colonial
    4. Contemporary
    5. Cottage
    6. Dome
    7. Log
    8. Mediterranean
    9. Ranch
    10. Spanish
    11. Tudor
    12. Victorian
  • Roof
    1. Composition Shingle
    2. Concrete Tile
    3. Metal
    4. Rock
    5. Shake
    6. Slate
    7. Tar
    8. Tile
    9. Wood
  • Yard
    1. Size of Lot
    2. Swimming Pool / Sport pool
    3. Spa
    4. Sauna
    5. Steam Room
    6. Fireplace or fire pit
    7. Built-in BBQ
    8. Outdoor Kitchen
    9. Courtyard
    10. Patio -- Covered or Uncovered
    11. Deck
    12. Tennis Courts
    13. Trees and Landscaping
    14. Gardens
    15. Lawn
    16. Automatic Sprinklers / Drip / Misting System

    Basic Home Amenities, Types of Rooms and Flooring

    Rather than picking a specific age of home, try choosing a range of years. If you do not want a newer home, you can ask your agent to limit your search to homes built prior to a certain year. Bear in mind that if your cutoff is homes built before 1970, you will not receive a home listing for a home built in 1971.

    • Single Family -- Attached or Detached -- Duplex, Halfplex, Condo, Townhome, Manufactured Home
      1. Age of Home / Year Built
      2. Number of Bedrooms
      3. Number of Baths
      4. Number of Stories or Levels
      5. Orientation (direction home faces)
      6. Utilities -- Gas / Electric
      7. HVAC -- Central Heating & Air Conditioning, Propane, Gravity, Floor or Wall
      8. Parking / Garage
      9. RV Parking or Boat Storage
    • Types of Rooms
      1. Number of Masters / Junior Masters / Ensuites
      2. Loft
      3. Den
      4. Bonus Room
      5. Great Room
      6. Home Office Area
      7. Home Theater
      8. Media Room
      9. Family Room
      10. Gym / Workout Room
      11. Library
      12. Butler's Pantry
      13. Sun Room
      14. Downstairs' Bedroom
      15. Basement
      16. Guest Quarters
      17. Wine Storage
    • Flooring
      1. Carpeting
      2. Concrete
      3. Bamboo
      4. Stone
      5. Tile
      6. Laminate
      7. Cork
      8. Vinyl / Linoleum
      9. Manufactured Wood
      10. Marble
      11. Wood
      12. Waterproof Vinyl Planks

    Specific Home Amenities and Features

    Home buyers often desire certain features in 4 areas of the home: the kitchen, master, baths, and dining room. In addition, I sometimes hear buyers state preferences for home energy features, including disability features. Although some of these can be added after purchase as a home improvement project, sometimes the cost to do so is prohibitive. Here are more specific amenities and features to consider:

    • Kitchen Features and Amenities
      1. Appliances -- Built-in or Free Standing -- Stainless / Colored / Cabinetry Match
      2. Counters -- Granite, Marble, Ceramic, Stone, Wood, Laminate or Synthetic
      3. Islands and Wet Bars
      4. Dining Bars
      5. Under Cabinet Lighting / Recessed Lighting / Pendants
      6. Farmstyle Sinks, Dual or Triple Sinks, Metal, Steel, Cast Iron
      7. Warming drawers, Wine Refrigerators, Trash Compactors
      8. Remodeled / Updated
    • Dining Features
      1. Space in Kitchen / Breakfast Nook
      2. Dining / Family Combination
      3. Dining / Living Combination
      4. Formal Dining Room
      5. Outdoor Kitchen
    • Master Suite Amenities and Features
      1. Large vs. Small
      2. Balcony
      3. Outside Access
      4. Private Patio
      5. Remote Area or Sitting Room / Office
      6. Ground Floor vs. Second Floor
      7. Surround Sound
      8. Fireplace
      9. Wet Bar
      10. Dual Walk-in Closets
    • Bath Features
      1. Dual / Triple Sinks
      2. Built-in Dressing Vanities
      3. Vanity Shelves & Mirrors in Showers / Tubs
      4. Jetted or Sunken Tubs
      5. Separate Shower
      6. Rainshower heads
      7. Stone / Tile Surfaces
      8. Outside Access
      9. Skylights
      10. Heated Floors
      11. Remodeled / Updated
    • Home Energy Amenities and Features
      1. Attic Fans
      2. Ceiling Fans
      3. Dual or Triple Pane Windows
      4. Programmable Thermostats
      5. Single Flush Toilets
      6. Window Shutters
      7. Solar Heat
      8. Solar Plumbing
      9. Solar Screens
      10. Storm Windows
      11. Tankless Water Heater
      12. Skylights or Sky Tubes
      13. Whole House Fan
    • Disability Features
      1. Extra-Wide Doorways
      2. Ramps
      3. Grab Bars
      4. Lower Counter Heights
      5. Walk-in Tubs and Showers

    At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, Cal BRE #00697006, is a broker-associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.