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Single Story Ranch Vs Two Story Home

If you are thinking of buying or building a new home, at some point you will have to consider the pros and cons of a single story Vs two story home. There are advantages to both styles of home so it’s important to know which style would work best for your family and lifestyle.

Many people believe that two story homes are more economical because they require less foundation and roof structure. The rooms on the first floor don’t require a roof and the rooms on the second floor don’t require a foundation. There is also some savings on plumbing and electrical wiring because of closer proximity of all the rooms in the house. However, two story homes generally require a second HVAC system for heating and cooling the second floor as well as stairs which can be expensive and eat up square footage inside the home.

As it turns out the difference in cost of a single story ranch Vs two story home is not really enough to make a decision based solely on cost. So what are the important differences that might affect your family?

Single Story Home

  • Safer for families with young children and better for older, mobility challenged people and/or pets. Allows for ‘aging in place’.
  • More options for different ceiling heights and skylights.
  • Save up to 100 sq. ft. with no stairs.
  • No noise from stairs and second story traffic.
  • Fewer bathrooms needed.
  • Can combine mud room with laundry room.
  • Easier to access and clean gutters, roof and outside walls.
  • Easier to evacuate in case of fire.
  • Less expensive to add on to the structure of the home.
  • Easier to resell. More popular with home buyers.

Two Story Home

  • Require less foundation, roof, plumbing and wiring which can lower cost per sq. ft.
  • Smaller footprint means more lot and floor plan options as well as usable yard space.
  • More energy efficient, however two HVAC systems may be required.
  • More separation between rooms up/down. Better for families with teens.
  • Smaller roof to maintain.
  • More expansive views from second floor.
  • Safe to leave second story windows open.

Single story homes are safer for families with young children and more practical for those with mobility issues that might make it difficult or impossible to climb stairs. If you are buying or building a ‘forever’ home, sometimes referred to as aging in place, a single story home is usually the best option.

Two story homes, especially those with a downstairs master bedroom, may be more ideal for those with teenagers living at home. There is more separation between the upstairs bedrooms and bonus rooms and the downstairs living space. The view from the second floor may be more appealing and it’s safer to leave a second floor window open, especially at night.

There are many other factors involved such as accessing exterior siding, gutters and roofing for cleaning and repair, overall footprint and yard space as well as cost to add on to the home later should the need arise. Hopefully, this article will help you when it comes to deciding the best option for your family between a single story ranch Vs two story home.

Floor Plans and Available Homes

McKee Homes offers a great selection of single story, two story and three story floor plans. Many of our single story floor plans have an option for a second floor guest suite which is the best of both worlds. View our single story homes floor plans. If you are more interested in two story home floor plans, please visit our main floor plan page.

For move-in ready homes, please visit our advanced search page and select the number of stories you prefer in the search form to see a list all available homes in that style.


McKee Homes, North Carolina’s #1 Choice for New Homes

McKee Homes has highly skilled team members dedicated to creating the best home building and buying experience possible in Eastern North Carolina.  Areas we are building in include:  Fayetteville, Pinehurst, Raleigh and Wilmington NC.  Some of our new home resources we can provide you include:  New Home Financing, Specially Adapted Housing, Buyer Incentives and more.

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McKee Homes online marketing manager

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2 thoughts on “Single Story Ranch Vs Two Story Home

  1. It’s good to know that two story homes are more ideal for teenagers. My husband and I want are thinking to adopt. The kids that we’re interested are a bit older, and we’d love to buy a house with them in mind.

  2. I like that you pointed out that you can get more yard space with a two story home. It does seem like it would be best to have a professional help you figure out what type of home you should get. I would want to have as large as yard as possible.

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