The Great Outdoors: Today's Home Buying Amenity

HTH-VOOnce upon a time, homeowners required only a roof, walls and perhaps a backyard, along with proximity to essential services and excellent schools. Additional incentives to lure potential homebuyers might have included granite countertops, brass- or nickel-plated fixtures, and a communal play space or pool.

Things have changed. Certainly, quality education and high-end touches are still on the list of many aspiring homebuyers. Just as important are outdoor amenities that extend far beyond the backyard.

Millennials Rule

One reason for today’s homebuyer’s focus on the great outdoors involves psychographics and demographics. Specifically, millennials are driving, and shaping, demand for certain extras when in residential living. 

Older millennials are in their mid- to late-30s. They’ve held well-paying jobs for a while, and delayed marriage and children while whittling away their student debt. This age group is ready to marry and start a family (if that has not been done already), and wants a home in which to raise their kids.

At the same time, this age cohort wants amenities similar to apartment living. These homeowners want to live in walkable communities, where they can be active outdoors. They crave living experiences, rather than material items. They also are also very social. Unlike the privacy-fence desires of their baby boomer parents and grandparents, millennials want to get to know their neighbors and more importantly, want to regularly interact with them.

As millennials drove multifamily housing amenity requirements, they are now doing the same thing in the homeownership arena.

The Amenities List

It isn’t just millennials that are interested in outdoor amenities connected with the homes and communities. The following add-ons can appeal to any age cohort, while providing additional incentives for potential homebuyers who might still be on the fence. So to speak.

Trail systems

Trail systems are increasingly in demand, both for weekend hiking and biking, and for getting from Point A to Point B. Well-thought-out trail systems connect houses and neighborhoods with one another, and even to essential retail. These paths can also offer diversions, such as pocket parks, stocked fishing ponds, game fields and even nature centers and outdoor classrooms.

Outdoor venues

Such settings can include sports fields (for Little League and junior soccer games), skate parks and amphitheater-type settings that are ideal for everything from concerts to community talent shows. Such venues nicely meet the social requirements ofyoung adults, by bringing together families and neighbors.


The Mission del Lago community’s golf course has been a welcome outdoor activity for many in the last few months. Mission del Lago residents enjoy discounted rates and monthly adult and junior golf clinics. 

Gathering locations

Less formal and smaller than outdoor venue spaces, gathering spaces allow neighbors to meet informally. This is why many communities include outdoor kitchens (with seating areas) with their clubhouses, as well as gathering areas near children’s playgrounds, swimming pools and lazy rivers.


Timber Ridge Veterans Park in the Vintage Oaks community in New Braunfels, TX is a favorite community gathering spot for outdoor fitness classes, impromptu picnics or the annual Summer Concert Series.

Planned activities

An on-staff lifestyle director can be a great asset, as is an event calendar that offers planned outdoor gatherings. Planned activities can include yoga and cooking classes, as well as community Halloween and holiday parties.


Even as these homeowners focus on, and enjoy, the great outdoors, they want to remain connected, technologically. They’ll carry smart phones on a hike to determine number of miles walked, while bringing along tablets or e-readers to parks while their children play with one another. Wi-Fi hotspots shouldn’t just be indoors, any more. 

Enjoy the new trend in delivering outdoor spaces that provide peace, fresh air and endless (free!) activities. As more communities seek to attract homebuyers looking for outdoor spaces, homeowners will have even more options to choose from.