Adding amenities to HOAs, Coops, and Condos can actually pay for themselves while increasing property values. The question is: what common amenities work best for your association? Also, how should they be structured in order to pay for themselves? This takes a lot of planning and may require the need to bring in experienced consultants. Here are some suggestions on where to start your Association’s Amenity Plan.

Getting Started

Start with common amenities that can bring in the most money to the association for the lowest up front cost. This way, the first added amenity can pay for the next one; and so on. Adding advertising in the form of signs or billboards can be revenue generators, but are not allowed in many residential areas. However, ATM machines bring in revenue, can be thought of as an amenity by some, and do not take up a lot of room.

Common amenities are laundry, storage, bike storage, parking, and fitness centers. These require that there is enough space in the association to fit those. Working primarily with apartment buildings, we have yet to work with a building that did not have room to add at least one amenity; it just takes creativity and efficiency. A roof garden is a great example; most roofs are unused.

The Business of Common Amenities

The trick to then turning those common amenities into revenue generators is deciding if, when, and how to charge people who use them. When deciding on the fee structure, we like to see what the same service is for independent operators in the area. In New York, a gym membership starts at $100 per person, per month. Keeping the fee below that attracts more members, yet brings in enough revenue to pay for the investment and the future upkeep.

An added bonus to charging a fee for amenities is that it makes it easier to have a “hook” on late-payers. We advise boards on using access control systems. If managed correctly, this only permits the members to enter the area. This enables management to revoke access for those individuals who don’t pay their association fees in a timely manner.

For the Community

In New York, many of the newer common amenities include meeting rooms, children’s play room, media rooms, wine storage, and cedar closets. Another popular amenity is association-wide Wi-Fi. They could also be as creative as electric car chargers. No matter what amenities you choose, remember that ultimately the amenity is there to make the community better for all the residents, the added revenue is just a bonus.

Tina Larsson

Tina Larsson

Tina Larsson is the CEO of The Folson Group, which she co-founded in 2014 after three years of engagement with one co-op which during that time saved $430,000. The Folson Group is a New York-based financial consultant specializing in cost efficiencies. The company helps boards and managing agents cut costs so that they can keep fees from escalating. Ms. Larsson has over 22 years of investment and research analyst experience in the financial services industry. She co-founded her own independent investment advisory firm in 2007, following a long career as a portfolio manager and research analyst at Horizon Asset Management, Inc., an independent portfolio manager and provider of proprietary research. Ms. Larsson has been published in multiple subscription-based investment research products, as well as various media publications. Ms. Larsson has a BBA and MBA, both from Pace University.
Tina Larsson

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