One-Story Vs. Two-Story Homes: Which One Should You Buy?


Buying a home is a big deal, and comes with plenty of important decisions that need to be made. If it’s a single-detached property that you’re looking for, you might be struggling to choose between one-story or two-story homes.

The option you end up choosing will depend on a number of factors, namely your housing market, the location, and your specific needs. There really is no clear-cut answer to which of the two is better, as they both come with their own set of pros and cons.

Two-Story Homes

Two-story homes are very popular for a variety of reasons, including the following:

Separation between living and sleeping areas. Many buyers like the idea of having a two-story home in order to provide some sort of separation between the living and sleeping quarters. This is certainly a huge advantage, especially since it offers more privacy and cuts down on noise that may be coming from the living areas.

Cheaper by the square foot. Generally speaking, two-story homes cost less per square foot to build because the foundation and roof are typically smaller than single-story homes, on average. These tend to be the most expensive components of a home, which is why two-story homes are less expensive to construct on a square-foot basis.

Less land to occupy. Since the footprint of two-story homes tends to be smaller than ranch-style homes with only one level, they take up less space on the lot they sit on. This allows for larger usable space outdoors to enjoy.

More energy efficient. Two-story homes are typically more fuel efficient compared to single-story homes because less exterior wall and roof area is exposed to the outdoor elements. In addition, plumbing pipes usually have a much shorter distance to travel throughout the home, which can also cut down on energy costs.


Single-Story Homes

As advantageous as two-story homes may be, there is definitely a case to be made for one-story homes as well.

Fewer stairs to climb. There’s no need to have to climb a set of stairs to go from the living area to the bedrooms. Not only is this more convenient, it can offer a safer alternative for young children and the elderly who are more prone to dangerous falls involving stairs. That means no baby gates are needed at stair landings and accessing all parts of the home is easier and safer for those who are mobility-challenged.

More uninterrupted living space. Since there’s no need for a staircase to take you from the living area to the sleeping area, more space can be freed up in a single-story home.

No noise from upper-level traffic. Without a second floor, there’s no noise from occupants walking about upstairs. 

Easier evacuation. Should there ever be a fire, escaping from the home is much easier and safer from the main level. If the fire blocks off any exits from an upper level in a two-story home, evacuating can be much more difficult if not impossible without being rescued from a second story window. 

Easier access to the gutters. It’s important to clean the gutters every so often in order to prevent any blockages that could translate into water damage to the home. With a single-story house, the gutters are much more easily accessed for cleaning purposes. Not only that, you’ll also have an easier time reaching the windows whenever they need to be cleaned.


Which Option is Better?

The choice between a single-story versus a two-story home is a subjective one that ultimately comes down to your own personal preferences. Your current living situation should obviously be considered, but so should your future needs if you choose to stay put for the long haul. That said, being aware of the potential advantages and disadvantages of both types of properties can help you make the right decision based on your needs and expectations.