On Amenities

Here’s how much that doorman might cost you.

Photo: crystalsquare apartments/Flickr

Apartment listings are written in their own hyperbolic and aspirational language. When you look for an apartment, be it via Craigslist or a broker or a phone number taken from one of those fliers on the street, you become adept at cutting through the bullshit. “LOTS OF LIGHT” often means a window looking out into an airshaft; “XXL JUNIOR ONE BEDROOM WITH SLEEPING ALCOVE” means that the bed goes in a closet and your clothes go…somewhere else. Aside from the basics, though, there are many other amenities that make your home life that much more palatable. These amenities, as I’m sure you’re aware, cost extra.

Which Amenities Raise Rents Most?

The New York Times threw together an infographic based on information from a study by the website RentHop to figure out which apartment amenities add the most to the rent. Honestly, I’m not surprised but maybe a little confused.

The RentHop study found that out of all the various amenities offered in apartment rentals across the land, an elevator, a doorman, a washer and dryer and a dedicated parking space are the ones that impact the cost of rent the most. The Times added a “pets welcome” policy and a fitness center for fun. The financial breakdown makes sense. In almost every metropolitan area except for Dallas-Ft. Worth, the amenity of having a doorman in the building added the most amount of money to the rent. Having staff that mans the front desk or the door means that they have to get paid. Naturally, that salary comes from the rent. The second most expensive amenity was an elevator, which also makes sense — those things break down and someone’s gotta fix it! Everything else checks out, at least to me, but my question is this — aside from an elevator, which I know is helpful for mobility issues, are any of these things worth it?

Let’s look at the numbers. As per this chart, the median price of a studio apartment in Boston is $1,845. If you subtract the costs of all the amenities, the rent drops to a much more reasonable $1,385 — almost worth the savings for an apartment that has just the bare necessities.

The pet policy seems awfully low to me, only because the havoc wrecked on apartments by pets is often a lot, depending on the animal. Also, if a washer and dryer in an apartment building or complex is like, under $100 extra, every single apartment should have one. I’d pay.

I would love a trash chute and maybe a buzzer that works ; the former is a very specific dream and the latter feels like a necessity, but what do I know. What other amenities would you pay extra for? What amenities would you leave in the dust?

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