This week I met with a couple looking for their first house. They just completed medical school and they were looking for a modest home to raise their two children, that will accommodate them until they retire. They planned to spend about $300,000 on a home, and save as much as possible for retirement. I thought this was an extremely intelligent idea so I put together a list of home features that could accommodate millennials to baby boomers.

  The average young family has 2 children and the parents want to sleep on the same level as the children, so 3 bedrooms on one level is a must. Baby-boomers often want separate bedrooms and bathrooms, plus a flex room that can be used as an office or guest room, so 3 bedrooms on one level works for them as well. A master bath and 2nd bath is a must. 

  Both generations are drawn to open floor plans with the kitchen open to the family room for watching the children or entertaining and a separate sitting room or den. They like a large dining area but not a separate formal dining room. The garage and front door should be on the kitchen/living level with very few stairs to enter the house. This eliminates a tuck under garage. A smaller yard is desirable to save time on yard work, but still provides private outdoor space. A nature view would be great and the house should be on a quiet street, close to parks, trails, schools, shopping, transportation, entertainment, etc. 

  The most desirable house style would be one level with a walk-out lower level, but that is difficult to find for $300,000. The 2nd best option would be a 3 or 4 level home so you walk in on the main floor and eliminate full flights of stairs to go to bed. My clients decided on a 4-level home.

  Some other desirable features are; high ceilings, wood or tile floors, granite countertops, good storage, fireplace, the master suite away from the other bedrooms, 3 car garage, and neutral décor.

  Finding the perfect home can take time and patience. An experienced real estate agent can search for the criteria that will meet your long-term needs. 


  Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.