One interesting trend in the nation is an increase in the number of one-story homes being built. From North Dakota to Michigan and Ohio, down south to Texas and across to Alabama, the number of new construction single-story homes is outnumbering new construction two-stories. The one-story home is often thought of as either the starter home or the empty-nester retirement choice. However, there are any number of reasons individuals and families choose one style of living over another. Here’s a list of pros and cons you might consider if you haven’t looked closely at the practicality of each option.

Pros for the Single-Story Home

No-step living. Most people consider climbing up and down a full stairway to be a bit of a hassle, especially when forgetting something after just having made the decent to the first floor. Also, as people age, fewer steps is usually preferable for mobility reasons.

Lower heating and cooling bills. The lower height of the home makes a one-story less expensive to heat and cool.

More renovation flexibility. It’s easier to make layout changes to a ranch because there are fewer load- bearing wall issues to encounter. Not only are open spaces easier to make, but skylights for the main living room and high cathedral ceilings are easier to add.

Easier gutter and roof maintenance. It’s more convenient to clean gutters and attend to roof issues ten feet from the ground than twenty.

Greater opportunity for deck and patio expansion off multiple rooms. Generally, you can create a door from any room to the outside to expand your outdoor living access and area.

Easier escape route. In case of fire, escaping from a one-story is clearly easier than from a second floor.

Child safety. Baby gates on steps are a bit of a pain to deal with, especially with multiple people living in the household. Without steps, there’s greater peace of mind for child safety from falls.

Easier to clean and move. Lugging supplies and moving heavy furniture up and down steps is inconvenient to say the least. A one-story simplifies all of these activities.

Ranch Style Cons

Ranches cost more per square foot. Because of their sprawling footprint, they’re more expensive to build. Foundation and roofing are the two components of a ranch that drive up costs.

Less privacy. Bedrooms on the first floor can mean less privacy, both from other adjacent areas of the home and from the outside.

Pros for the Two-Story Home

Cheaper to build per square foot. A two-story home typically has a smaller footprint than a ranch, which makes it more cost effective to build, even if the square footage is equal.

Views and balcony potential. Some people prefer having a floor up top for an outdoor view of their property and beyond. Also, the architecture of a balcony is very appealing to some home owners.

Separation of living space from sleeping space. For people who like to keep the two in their own domains, two-story living wins.

A grand entrance. Entering a two-story foyer with a lovely staircase creates a grand and elegant aesthetic that some prefer to the lack of stairs.

Easier to build and accommodate outdoor living space. Because the footprint of a two-story is smaller than a ranch, there are more available lots that can provide adequate yard space.

Two-Story Cons

Harder to evacuate in emergencies. Navigating steps in an emergency, or worse, escaping from a second-floor window, are potential worries.

More expensive to heat/cool. It’s hard to get even heating and cooling with two floors of living space. With cool air staying low and heat rising, the cost to maintain a comfortable temperature is typically higher than in a ranch.

Bottom Line

Both types of homes can provide great potential resale value. However, the single-story home is likely to sell for more per square foot and faster. There is always great demand for a ranch home because people of any age can live in them. While number of levels in a home is a critical factor for personal enjoyment, take all your priority items into consideration before choosing what’s right for you.

Real Estate Term of the Week

Footprint:The area used by a building structure and is defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking areas, landscapes, and other non-building facilities are not included in the footprint of a home.

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