The TV game show Family Feud started in 1976 with Richard Dawson and still runs with Host Steve Harvey. If you’re one of the ten people that haven’t seen the show, the premise is two families pitted against each other vying for the most points to win money. To get points, you have to match your answers to a survey question. This further encouraged our love of ‘top ten’ type publications. Maybe that’s why this one caught my eye from a recent Realtor Magazine article.

Straight from the article What Renters Want: Top 10 Most Requested Amenities (without the article’s commentary)


1. Air Conditioning

2.In-Unit Laundry


4.On-site Laundry

5.Assigned Parking

6. Central Heat

7. Furnished

8. Balcony

9. Garage Parking

10. Hardwood Floors

11. Ceiling Fan (if you’re still counting-stop. Number 11 was actually an honorable mention.)



Those top ten would most likely be from residential renters. Here, on our mountain plateau, most of our renters are a completely different kind of animal, the vacation renter variety. The wants and wishes of residential renters vs. short term renters are basically the same, but the latter tend to be more vocal about the following top 10 list. The order of preference depends on the renter.

1.Walk-to-town– I’m not sure if it’s because people are more ambulatory these days or don’t want to get in a car after having a drink, but there’s definitely something special about having a place in town.

 2. View – Living in these beautiful mountains, it’s not hard to understand someone’s dream of having a mountain vista just outside their bedroom window, but there are many people that consider a wooded view to be the best view. They can drive to see a vista, but the quiet intimacy of a wooded setting is something hard to find in a city.

3. Bedroom-to-bathroom ratio No matter where the property is, this has become really important. I had a renter refer to those type houses as bathrobe houses, because you can’t leave your bedroom without wearing a bathrobe.

4. Air Conditioning – Yes, I know. We’re ‘air conditioned by nature’at least that used to be the slogan of Highlands, but that was before everyone started paving every road and lane, and cutting trees, and building bigger and bigger homes with hardly any green space. Sometimes I can almost hear the lonely trees crying out, longing for their friends and family, but that’s another story)

5. Outdoor spaces– Homes may be for keeping our cool, but outdoors are meant living. People are into gardens more than ever whether they’re the actual gardeners or not, others love water features, outdoor entertaining, etc.

 6. Fire places– Is it the Neanderthal in our genes that makes us want fire? There are fireplaces in living areas, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. With the growing popularity of fire pits, we’re seeing them placed on decks and lawns everywhere- some are obviously campfire style, but there are lavish ones as well.

 7. Internet– Some people can only justify a longer stay in these beautiful mountains if they can stay connected to the world.

8. Zoning or HOA rules – This one is tricky, because the rules aren’t always known when you’re looking to buy, or known when you’re looking to rent. For instance, there are some HOA rules that allow owners to have pets, but not renters. That can lead to confusion and frustration. There are some HOA rules that limit rentals to one week, two weeks, or month long stays.

9. Laundry –Our town currently doesn’t have a laundromat, and without a laundromat, it means a trip off the mountain unless you go to the dry cleaners.  Having a washer/dryer in your home is considered more of a necessity than an amenity.

10. Updated and Well Maintained– There may be some vacation renters that enjoy a low budget rental with ’Early Attic’ furniture, no internet, small ‘boxy’ TVs that only work with an old VHS system, old appliances (that may or may not have all eyes working), and there are homes available for them, but for the most part, people want updated and well maintained homes.








We know that what people want is generally the same whether our clients are renters, or potential buyers, whether they know it or not. It’s always fun to see that light bulb turn on when that realization hits. There are exceptions to every rule, but especially when someone is looking to purchase a home that will be offered as a vacation rental, it’s important to know what renters want. Even if the buyers have no plans to rent their homes out, what about the buyers that come after them in 5-10-15 years?

The resale value should be as important to a buyer when they’re looking to buy as when they’re considering listing it for sale. The average length of home ownership of a primary residence is six-to-nine years, and second home ownership is probably similar. I know plenty of homeowners that have had second homes in our area for much, much longer, but I guess when you figure in the flippers, the average goes down.

Jeannie and Tucker Chambers are owners/brokers of Chambers Realty & Vacation Rentals located at 401 N. Fifth Street in Highlands, NC 828-526-3717 or [email protected] They’re ready to help you check off the top ten in your next mountain home.