When looking at a home to purchase, there are many questions you need to ask yourself. Do I like the neighborhood this house is in? Will the house require a custom floor plan or any other major home improvements? And of course, should I buy a two-story home or a one-story home?

There are many pros and cons to owning a two-story home vs owning a ranch, and those pros and cons should be properly weighed and considered before choosing to buy a house that you feel best suits the needs of you and the other residents of the home.

Pros & Cons of a Two-Story Home

The pros of a two-story home

(1) More square footage on the same amount of land – By having a two-story home, you are able to acquire far more vertical space on the same amount of land as a ranch. This makes it far easier to put more rooms in the house or store more items since you are working with two levels of space instead of just one. It also means more bang for your buck since you get more square footage in the house for the purchase price with a two-story.

(2) Elevated view – Sure, you can see out of your home with a ranch, but if you have a two-story home, you get the added benefit of a view from up above. This can be especially nice if you live in an area with a lot of scenery because the elevated view will allow you to see more of everything in the surrounding area. To enhance that view, you also have the option of putting in a balcony, something you cannot do if you live in a one-story home.

(3) Separate bedrooms from the general living space – This can be done with a ranch as well, but nowhere near as neatly. By having a two-story home, you can have a clear separation by level of bedrooms and living space. You can even have a different custom floor plan for each level to further differentiate between the two. This comes in handy for those with children and a higher quantity of people living in the house.

(4) Ability to set up staircases – There is unquestionably an aesthetic and stylistic benefit to having stairs in a household. Stairs give the appearance of a larger home and add to its overall visual appearance. It is amazing the aesthetic value that a foyer in a two-story house can bring to an otherwise standard looking home.

The cons of buying a two-story home

(1) Stairs may not be your friend – While stairs can be aesthetically pleasing and help make your home look larger, walking up and down stairs can become difficult, especially as we age. It can also be a safety issue for you if young children or senior citizens live in the home.

(2) More noise – While noises are unavoidable in all homes, in a two story home you are guaranteed to hear noises from above as top-level activity is sure to be heard.

(3) Harder to clean and evacuate – Living in a two-story home means greater separation between bedrooms and the living area, but it also means more square footage that needs to be cleaned. While every home should have an evacuation plan, this is especially true in two story homes where exiting the home in the event of an emergency is more difficult.

(4) More costly to heat and cool – A two-story home requires two HVAC systems, whereas a ranch requires only one. Each HVAC system operates separately making the cost of heating and cooling a two story house more expensive.