Although luxury amenities seem exciting when you’re apartment-shopping, after moving day, they tend to lose their luster. Case in point: You may have fallen in love with the terrace in that high-rise apartment for rent in Chicago, but what if you’re responsible for clearing off snow all winter long? (Where do you even put it?) Or that rooftop dog park: It seemed perfect for your little spaniel — until your building filled up with barking mutts that disrupt your concentration when you’re working from home.
Here are seven premium amenities that can actually end up costing you in ways you might not have considered.
1. Outdoor pool
A pool is nice and all, but unless you’re living in South Florida, the usage window is pretty limited. In most areas of the country, you’ll have about three to four months of prime swim time, if you’re not traveling for a lot of those summer weekends. At the end of the season, you may realize you’ve gone yet another year without dipping a toe in your building’s rooftop pool. Plus, most complex pools tend to be on the smaller side, which lessens their appeal. Finally, pools are extremely expensive to maintain — and you, the renter, are the one who’s footing the bill for all that upkeep.
2. Communal roof deck
Morning coffee, afternoon barbecues, sunset views: A communal roof deck seems like the score of a lifetime. Except sharing with all your neighbors means you’re constantly competing for space, especially if the landlords haven’t provided enough seating. And there’s always that tenant who treats the deck as his own private club and hogs the space, which can also mean a lot of extra noise right above your head (not to mention traffic in the elevator). If you’re a social butterfly who loves to meet new people, you might enjoy a rooftop gathering now and again, but if you’re just looking for quiet time to enjoy an alfresco glass of wine, you’re likely to be disappointed.
There’s a case for and a case against. Pro: There’s a 24-hour gym 30 feet below your apartment — you officially have no excuse not to work out! Con: The gym is likely small, lacking in amenities (no TVs, classes, or steam room!), and sparsely equipped, with out-of-date equipment that doesn’t get serviced as often as it should. Pro: You can cancel your gym membership and save money! Con: You’re likely paying for your complex gym through increased rent anyway, and getting less for your money. The exception: If you live in a tundra climate, you’ll very likely be grateful for access to an elliptical that doesn’t require you to venture outside.
4. Washer/dryer combo
In-unit laundry? OMG. So what if it’s a little all-in-one unit that sits under the kitchen counter? Well … there’s probably not a lot to be excited about here. Those combo units are notorious for being inefficient and never drying clothes properly. You’ll spend hours attempting to do a single load of laundry when you could have burned through five piles at the nearby laundromat.
5. Jacuzzi tub
Think back over the past year and count how many times you’ve taken a bath. If the number is in the single digits, rethink the allure of that jetted wonder. Jacuzzi tubs were all the rage in bathroom renos about a decade ago, but as renters and owners quickly learned, they’re usually more exciting on paper than in person. Even when you do make it into the tub, you’re using the jets only for a few minutes, tops. Better to hold out for an oversized shower stall with a rain showerhead — you know you’ll use that thing every morning.
6. Pool table
Again, how often are you really going to be shooting a couple of games before bed? If the pool table sits in a common area, chances are slim you’re going to be able to nab the table when you want it — and chances are even better that balls and cues are regularly going to go missing. Guess what? That apartment complex a block away that skipped the game room probably has cheaper rent too.
With the rise of second screening and streaming media players, watching movies and TV shows has become less of a popcorn-worthy event and more of an expected part of the day. Most of us are usually multitasking with the movie playing in the background, pausing for bathroom breaks, snack time, or that phone call from Mom. So while a large screening room might seem like a luxury, chances are slim you’ll want to leave your apartment for two hours to watch a rental on a slightly bigger screen.
What apartment amenities do you think are overrated? Share in the comments!