Tips on choosing between one- and two-story homes

Years before they’re ready to start looking for a new home, perhaps even as early as childhood, there are many homebuyers who have a clear picture of the type of home they want to own. But for others, that decision process begins only when they actually start touring their potential new homes. One of the hardest decisions that some families have to make is whether a one-story or a two-story home will be best for them. Here’s the (one-)story from

Disputes about whether to buy a horizontal or vertical home are hardly infrequent. Mark Nash, a longtime real estate broker and author of “1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home,” said homebuyers who have mixed feelings about housing styles should make sure they visit at least two horizontal properties and two vertical ones.

“Picking one over the other can be a huge decision with significant implications for how you live,” Nash said.

Whether you’re 25 or 65, it can be tough to plan for your future housing needs. But attempting to look ahead is worth the effort, Nash said. He encourages homebuyers to plan ahead at least three to five years.

”People nearing retirement have a lot to consider when choosing a house. At this age, problems with health or mobility can surface at any time,” Nash said.

On the other end of the spectrum, Nash said couples with young children should think ahead to when their kids will be preteens or teenagers. Those for whom affordability is a major issue may wish to choose a two-story house with extra bedroom space for the changing needs of their offspring.

Homebuyers should also factor in the investment potential for ownership of a one-level home. Now that the oldest boomers are well into their Medicare years, Nash said demand is increasing for single-floor living among pre-retirees and retirees. The result: ownership of one-level homes should prove a good investment over time, so long as they’re located in popular neighborhoods.

You can also think through the advantages of a second-floor “hideaway.” Perhaps you already work from home or expect to start doing so in the next few years. If so, Nash recommends you consider the advantages of a second-story office where you can concentrate with few interruptions. For similar reasons, many homeowners enjoy a tucked-away upstairs room where they can pursue a hobby.

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Shawn Cunningham
(702) 823-0855