Many factors go into choosing where you will call home. Should you be most concerned about the location? Do you want something older or a new construction? You may even wrestle with whether a one-story ranch is suitable for your family or if a two-story home would be a better fit. The decision between a one-story or two-story house goes a little deeper than simple personal taste and preference. Here are a few things to consider before you make your choice.
- Maintenance: A home that is only on one level allows for easier maintenance. No dragging a vacuum cleaner up and down stairs or hauling a laundry basket from an upstairs bedroom to a downstairs laundry room. Maybe you want to paint or pressure wash the exterior of the home. With a one-story home there is no need to fuss with a high reach to get the job done.
- Bathrooms: Since you don’t have two levels for people to live on, one-story homes need fewer bathrooms.
- Safety: A one-story home can be ideal if you have young children. The fear of your child falling down a flight of stairs is one less thing you have to worry about as a parent. Even if you don’t have kids, stairs can be cumbersome as you get older. A one-story home is great for those looking to age in place.
- Emergencies: Ranch-style homes can also be great for managing emergencies. If you have to evacuate quickly from a bedroom, it’s easier to escape from a ground floor window than a second floor window. However, in the unfortunate situation where you might leave a window open, it’s easier for burglars to climb through a ground floor window than a second floor bedroom window that has been left open.
- Privacy: A one-story home can present more opportunities for less privacy. With bedrooms on ground levels, it can be easier to see your neighbors in your private spaces or even be exposed to strangers passing by on the street.
- Views: Two-story homes are great for views. Imagine having a balcony on a sloping lot and having the best view of your neighborhood.
- Distinct Separation: With two-story homes, you have the distinct separation between your bedrooms and other living spaces. This can be great when it comes to cleaning, entertaining, and working from home.
- Safety: In a two-story home you stand a better chance of shifty characters not entering a second floor window that has been accidentally left open.
- Heating and Cooling: Heat rises and cool air drops. This can mean your heating and cooling will need to be adjusted depending on where you are in the home. With more house to heat and cool this can cause you to have to double your heating and cooling costs compared to a one-story.
- Lot Size: Are you conscious about shrinking your housing footprint? If you want more house but you’re very specific about your lot size, a two-story would be great for you. They take up less space on a lot compared to one-story homes.
- Outdoor space: If you value having a great space to entertain outside, a two-story home may be right for you. You’re taking up less land space so you’ll have more yard to utilize.
There are over 3,800 two-story homes currently on REIN.com with a median list price of $330,000. There are over 1,900 one-story properties currently on REIN.com with a median list price of $220,000. Over 1,400 two-story homes sold in April compared to 850 one-story homes sold in the Hampton Roads area.
Still not sure what’s right for you? Work with one of our 8,000 agents to narrow down what you need. If it’s a question of what you can afford, check out our mortgage calculator to help estimate your monthly payments. For local listings you can trust, start with REIN.com.