A Complete List of Home Amenities and Features for Home Buyers

Examples of home amenities include Skylights Master suite balcony Outdoor kitchen Swimming pool Marble countertops Home theater Gated community

Image by Nusha Ashjaee © The Balance 2020

When the time comes for a first-time homebuyer to tell a real estate agent what they desire in a home, many only have broad requirements and are not fully aware of all the feature and amenity options. One of the really great things about giving your agent a list of specific amenities and features is they can utilize technology to find that perfect home for you.

Using a List to Search Properties

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. It is best to be more general and less specific.

The Importance of Location

When it comes to real estate, the golden rule is location, location, location. 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 you want, choose the home with a good location. You can always add amenities, but you cannot change a bad location. Narrow your list to your top 3–5 neighborhoods and talk to people in the community 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. Location types include:

  • View of coast, city or hills
  • Waterfront
  • Greenbelt
  • Golf course
  • Suburban
  • City
  • Raised elevation or mountains
  • Cul-de-sac
  • Dead-end street
  • Gated community

Exterior Features

We all have some idea of what our perfect home would look like, but the exterior features are twofold. On one end, you have the home construction, which consists of the following options:

  • Adobe
  • Brick
  • Concrete block
  • Log
  • Metal
  • Stone
  • Straw
  • Wood

On the other end, you have the exterior material, such as:

  • Brick
  • Cement siding
  • Lap siding
  • Metal siding
  • Vinyl siding
  • Shingle
  • Stone
  • Stucco
  • Veneer
  • Wood

Style of Home

  • A-frame: An architectural house style with a sloping roofline that resembles the letter A.
  • Bungalow: Single-story, and some have a second story built into a sloping roof, usually with dormer windows.
  • Colonial: Homes have 2–3 stories, fireplaces, and brick or wood facades. Floor plans have traditional layouts where kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms are on the first floor, and bedrooms are on the second floor.
  • Contemporary: With a design of contemporary style homes that grew out of modern architecture, this style arose with the Industrial Revolution of the early 20th century. It includes cottages, domes, logs, mediterranean style, ranches, tudors, and victorians.

Roof

There are many options for roofing material. Here are the most feasible choices:

  • Composition shingle
  • Concrete tile
  • Metal
  • Rock
  • Shake
  • Slate
  • Tar
  • Tile
  • Wood

Yard

Your yard allows for more customization than most aspects of your home. To begin, you'll need to decide on the size and landscaping. From there, you can choose from the following amenities and features:

  • Gardens
  • Automatic sprinklers/drip/misting system
  • Swimming pool/sport pool
  • Deck
  • Courtyard
  • Patio (covered or uncovered)
  • Outdoor kitchen

Type of Home

There are various types of homes you will need to consider before making a purchase, and your decision generally depends on your family situation. You may need a single-family (attached or detached), duplex, halfplex, condo, townhome, or manufactured home. Once you decide on that, consider the following about the home:

  • Age/year built
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of baths
  • Number of stories or levels
  • Orientation (direction home faces)
  • Utilities
  • HVAC: Central heating and air conditioning, propane, gravity, floor, or wall
  • Parking/garage
  • RV parking or boat storage

Types of Rooms

There are many designated room types outside of the typical bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. Consider whether you would want to make plans for the following:

  • Loft
  • Den
  • Home office area
  • Home theater
  • Media room
  • Family room
  • Gym/workout room
  • Library
  • Butler's pantry
  • Sunroom
  • Basement
  • Guest quarters
  • Wine storage

Flooring

Flooring often varies by room, but here are the most common options:

  • Carpeting
  • Marble
  • Wood
  • Concrete
  • Bamboo
  • Stone
  • Tile
  • Laminate
  • Cork
  • Vinyl / linoleum
  • Manufactured wood
  • Waterproof vinyl planks

Specific Home Amenities and Features

Homebuyers often desire certain features in the kitchen, master bedroom, baths, and dining room. Also, a growing number of buyers prefer to have home energy features, including accessibility features. Some of these features can be added later as a home improvement project, but sometimes the cost to do so is prohibitive. Here are more specific amenities and features to consider by room type:

Kitchen

  • Appliances: built-in or freestanding; stainless, colored, or cabinetry match
  • Counters: granite, marble, ceramic, stone, wood, laminate, or synthetic
  • Sink: Farm-style, dual, or triple sinks
  • Islands and wet bars
  • Dining bars
  • Under-cabinet lighting, recessed lighting, pendants
  • Warming drawers
  • Wine refrigerators
  • Trash compactors

Dining

Master Suite

  • Size
  • Balcony
  • Outside access
  • Private patio
  • Remote area or sitting room/office
  • Floor level
  • Surround sound
  • Fireplace
  • Wet bar
  • Dual walk-in closets

Bathroom

  • Sink type: dual or triple
  • Built-in dressing vanities
  • Vanity shelves and mirrors in showers
  • Jetted or sunken tubs
  • Separate shower
  • Rainshower heads
  • Stone or tile surfaces
  • Outside access
  • Skylights
  • Heated floors

Energy

  • Attic fans
  • Ceiling fans
  • Dual or triple pane windows
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Single flush toilets
  • Window shutters
  • Solar heat
  • Solar plumbing
  • Solar Screens
  • Storm windows
  • Tankless water heater
  • Skylights or sky tubes
  • Whole house fan

Accessibility

  • Extra-wide doorways
  • Ramps
  • Grab bars
  • Lower counter heights
  • Walk-in tubs and showers