The Commonwealth Blog

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Will You Buy a One or Two-Story Home? Here's What You Need to Know

There’s More to Consider than Curb Appeal

When hunting for the perfect home aesthetics may be high on your list. You want your future house to be attractive – a home people pass by and think, “Wow, what a good-looking place.” Alongside attractiveness, you’ll likely consider functionality. Is this a good home for a family? For elderly relatives? Is its layout conducive to your lifestyle?

These are just a few of the questions you will ask yourself while embarking on your house hunt. But there’s one more question you should seriously consider – should you buy a one or two-story home?

Perhaps overlooked, this question is worth pondering, as there are several important pros and cons associated with each building type. When making this decision, consider the following factors.

One-Story Homes Are Easy to Design and Maintain

Building a dream house is easier if you’re settling for one story. They are more simple to design and cost-effective – two major brownie points. Because they’re structurally easier to engineer, they can be built with prefab components, making your life and your contractor’s life a bit easier during the building process. Plus, you won’t drain your pocketbook.

One-story homes are also easier to maintain because everything resides on the same level. You don’t have to carry the vacuum or haul any bulky objects upstairs to check off your chore list. Laundry can be done downstairs without it having to be carried upstairs to bedrooms, and power-washing windows is a breeze while accessing all windows from the ground floor. If easy maintenance is important to you, opting for a one-story home may be the best option.

Along with this train of thought, one-story homes are also easy to navigate. They’re a safe option for individuals who prefer not to use stairs – or for clumsy toddlers. They’re also easier to navigate in case of unanticipated emergencies, an important factor worth considering if you live in an earthquake zone or are raising a family.

One-Story Homes Are Expensive to Build and Don’t Offer Privacy

One-story homes will likely sprawl out a bit and, for this reason, require more materials for the foundation, roofing, and windows. Plumbing and HVAC lines must be longer to reach all parts of the house. More power is required to support bigger systems that run far throughout the house.

One common reason buyers shy away from one-story homes is that they offer less privacy. People are more likely to peer through ground-level windows, and parts of the home are more exposed to neighbors and passerby. If you prefer to be tucked away in a secluded space, a two-story home may be the better option – which brings us to our next point.

Two-Story Homes Provide Ample Privacy and Great Views

Perch above the neighborhood in a two-story home. With a second story, you get the perks of added privacy, a common selling point for many buyers. You can more easily separate yourself from the public – as well as your own family if you need. In-laws reside in guestrooms downstairs while you retreat to your master bedroom. Kids can also be tucked away in upstairs playrooms or bedrooms during dinner parties and important business or family meetings. Plus, owning a two-story home means you’ll probably get some pretty good views of the neighborhood or be surrounded by tall trees and foliage.

Two-Story Homes Are Safe and Elegant  

It may be obvious, but two-story homes are quite safe. It takes more effort for a thief to scale a wall and climb through a second-story window. If you happen to leave a window open upstairs, you're less likely to experience theft than if you left a downstairs window open. Safety, alongside privacy, may be something to consider when deciding between a one-story and two-story floorplan.

Two-story homes are also pretty and fun to look at. Not only will you enjoy the functionality and space the place has to offer, but you’ll get a kick out of living in a home that’s mature and prominently stands out in the neighborhood. You also have more options for design work when there’s more space to work with. If aesthetics are your thing, let a two-story house be your muse.

Two-Story Homes Are Accident-Prone and Difficult to Heat

Stairs, stairs, stairs. They can be dangerous for little ones to navigate and require parent supervision while toddlers attempt an ascent. Baby-proof gates may be necessary to keep children or pets from climbing up the stairs without an adult supervising their efforts. Stairs can also be difficult to adopt for disabilities, costing upward of $20,000 to make accessible.

Heating and cooling down rooms is another issue. Upstairs bedrooms, offices, and game rooms are often warmer because, well, hot air rises. When the upstairs is hot while downstairs rooms are cool, you’ll have to devise strategies for adjusting the temperature – and this can get quite costly.

Your Needs Matter

Your home is your sanctuary. When you return from work you want to retreat to a space that accommodates your lifestyle and the needs of your family. Consider the pros and cons of each option carefully before signing any papers. You’ll be glad you examined your options before making any moves. Having reviewed some logistical and personal factors, you’re ready to make an informed decision for yourself and your family.  

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