Despite being called out for their ineptitude at saving money and their overwhelming fondness for spending it on experiences instead of things, millennials actually do desire financial stability—especially if it means they can buy a house.
So what kind of homes do they want? According to real estate professionals, a large majority of millennials seeks out properties that are move-in ready—with plenty of room for customization.
“They care more about the home being clean and in good condition,” says Mary Katherine Spalding, a Realtor® associate with Helen Painter Group in Fort Worth, TX. “Cosmetic changes are much easier to make, and millennials are a generation of DIYers.”
But home sellers are also becoming well-versed in what they don’t want. If you’re looking to attract millennial buyers, be forewarned: These home upgrades will turn them away from your home faster than you can say, “What’s your Wi-Fi password?”
1. Over-the-top landscaping
A spacious, well-manicured yard was the pride and joy of earlier generations that didn’t mind working up a sweat mowing and fertilizing their lawns. But that’s not the case with busy millennials. They prefer cultivating indoor plants—and the convenience of an outdoor space that’s easy to maintain.
Jason Duff, founder and CEO of Small Nation, a real estate development company in Bellefontaine, OH, says millennials prefer to have landscaping beds (for growing a vegetable garden?) and other green-filled areas that look nice, are easy to maintain, and can be set up for quality time with pets.
2. A formal dining room
Mom and Grandma may have cherished dinner time in their fancy dining room with matching plates, sterling silver flatware, and gold-plated tea sets. But younger buyers tend to consider that dedicated room a stuffy waste of space.
Duff says young buyers enjoy cooking in their kitchen and want to eat in or near their kitchen, too.
“Most millennials don’t care about formal dining rooms,” says Duff. “It was a fixture for many homes in previous decades, but today dining tends to happen close to the kitchen—from the convenience of a meal home delivery box like Blue Apron—or on the go.”
3. A designated floor plan
Older generations may be satisfied with a mapped-out floor plan that designates a living room, kitchen, and dining room, but millennials seek multifunctional rooms. Think wide-open spaces that make the home feel like one flowing space.
“Where homes traditionally would have separate rooms, millennials are gravitating toward having large, open rooms that bring these all together like kitchens with breakfast bars or islands that open to the living space,” says John Steele, a real estate agent with Team Steele San Diego Homes in California.
4. Brand-new carpeting
If you’re considering sprucing up your home before you sell, think twice before spending money on installing new carpets. Millennials are moving away from carpeting in favor of bare floors with statement rugs.
“There are some buyers that like it in the bedrooms, but in the living spaces, laminates, tile, hardwood, and engineered hardwood are much more popular,” says Steele.
Another reason to stick with noncarpeted flooring is that it’s more pet-friendly—and millennials love their pets. Carpeting can absorb and retain odors, stains, and hair, and pet cleanup is easier on a hardwood floor.
5. Memorabilia and game rooms
Millennials aren’t defined by their possessions—and they definitely don’t want to showcase them in a room. So if you’re thinking about staging a room where the owners can show off their stuff, think again.
“Millennials may be a little different than previous generations in wanting to keep, collect, and show off all that they have accumulated,” says Duff. “Put away the pool table and think digital,” says Duff.
Millennials live a more digital existence, so Duff recommends staging your game area in a media room with a large TV or projector and maybe even surround sound.