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Rambler or Two-Story New Home? The Pros and Cons of Each

Building a brand new home is something that many families want to do, but when you begin this undertaking, there are a lot of decisions to be made. Perhaps one of the first and most important is the home style you want. While there are far more than just two choices, the two most common home designs are ramblers (everything on a single level, with or without a basement) and two-story homes.

Data from the National Association of Home Builders shows that since the 1990s the preference for two-story living has steadily declined, and today only accounts for about one out of every three homes built. A little more than half (52 percent) prefer one-story homes, while just over 10 percent say they prefer the split-level design.

Benefits of the Rambler Model

The term “rambler” is synonymous with a ranch-style home, and named because they tend to be flat and spread out. They were popular from the 1920s until the mid-1900s until split-level homes became the floorplan of choice in the 1970s, but have recently had a comeback in many areas. The primary reasons that people choose ramblers today include:

  • Having everything on a single floor, which is especially important for people who are getting older and might have trouble navigating stairs
  • Architectural design that includes large windows for plenty of natural light
  • Vaulted ceilings in family rooms, living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms help open up a floorplan
  • Ability to design a seamless flow from indoor to outdoor living spaces
  • Open floorplan designs with fewer load-bearing walls to separate rooms

While there are many advantages for homeowners, this type of home is not always the best choice. A home that is larger and more spread out means less space for a yard, and can also mean higher costs to build the home. In addition, floorplan options can be limited and you won’t have as much privacy if you have guests since everything—bedrooms, bathrooms, and laundry—will be on the main floor.

Two-Story Advantages

A two-story home can also offer some advantages to families looking to build a new home. Perhaps the largest benefit is in the cost savings—a house that is more compact will have a smaller foundation and less roofing, which generally means lower costs for the builder so you can get the same (or more) square footage in a two-story for less than the cost of a rambler.

Families with younger children may prefer this option because it allows them to have a separate space for entertaining and everyday living. You won’t have to bug the kids to clean up their toys or make sure your child’s bathroom is presentable when company comes over if they are going to stay on the main level and away from upstairs bedrooms.

Many two-story home designs today also come with a main-floor master suite, which means parents of teenagers can have a little more separation and people approaching retirement age have reassurance that they can continue to live in their homes even if walking up and down stairs becomes more difficult.

Before you decide on which is right for you, talk to your new home builder in Utah about all the available options, how each type of home might fit on the lot you want, and weigh the pros and cons of each style.

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