Profile picture for Mom2NAC

1 story or 2 story?

What is your preference and why? 

I guess my main conflict is safety.  With a 2 story, there is a danger of falling (I have 3 small kids), and of course being trapped upstairs in the event of a fire.  With a 1 story, someone could more easily abduct one of the kids from their rooms.

Then there are the other issues - electricity bills (not sure which is better?), yard size, aging, etc.

Thoughts?
  • November 04 2011 - US
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Answers (12)

Profile picture for sunnyview
I think it depends on the house. I like to have a separation of space and yard so sometimes that means two stories, but I also like the convenience of a bedroom on the first floor and being able to not carry groceries upstairs or laundry downstairs.

It seems to me that one story well designed works well for most young families and older people too, but for the time in the middle when you have teens might be nice to have two floors.
  • November 04 2011
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Good question and obviously everyone has different reasons for a two story, ranch, tri-level or bi-level.   I prefer a ranch style so I don't have to deal with the stairs.   Some people like the separation of the bedrooms from the other rooms in the house that a two story offers. 
  • November 04 2011
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Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
My son always felt safer in a two story and lots of kids go up and down stairs.....that being said.....
make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are hardwired and have back up batteries. Have a 'safety ladder' in each room if you are concerned about fire. Get a home inspector to make sure the home has good wiring. 
If you are worried about someone abducting your children -two stories. If you are concerned about bills, ask how much it costs to heat and run the ac every year on the home.
Whatever you do, best of luck to you
  • November 05 2011
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
A single story (for living purposes) house gives you the ability to live in the same house if you end up with a broken hip, leg, ankle, or even being in a wheelchair.

When you get old and feeble stairs can become unclimbable. If your house is a 2 story you will either have to figure out some way to get everything you need on the first floor or move.

If you are worried about people breaking into the house add some prison type bars to the windows. That will keep a single story window from being entered by most intruders.
  • November 05 2011
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
I know this is going to sound counter intuitive; but climbing stairs every day is really good for people's health, as long as they can do it.

As they say... "use it, or lose it".

And child safety gates are really low cost and easy to install.

Just make sure you plan for the inevitable loss of mobility.  Stair lifts are also fairly low cost; but not all stairs can be adapted.

It is more critical to consider front and back porch access as there is nor always sufficient space to put in ramps.

Portable ramps are an option but only if you have people to place them for you when needed.  Not everyone is going to have family around or be able for afford a professional care giver.

Possible you won't need that upstairs space later as you age, and perhaps you can rent that out for a little extra income.  Or if you have that professional care giver, or cook, or chauffeur, or maid; perhaps the upstairs would become the servant's quarters?

And yes, I've known people that had skiing accidents that came back paraplegic that had to pay to put an elevator in their house.  It is not that unreasonable.
  • November 05 2011
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Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
Side note regarding bars on the windows, many people feel they are  ugly, I don't think your neighbors are going to like the 'look' and what it suggests, and in the case of a fire, even though they have a quick release on the newer ones, I would still be concerned.
  • November 06 2011
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I would vote for the ranch on a slab for the safety reasons you mentioned.
Having no stairs is great and may make it easier to sell years from now to an aging society. I love my ranch!
  • November 06 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I love my ranch too! I have a raised ranch so I have the best of everything right now. Entry without steps on the street level and bedroom, kitchen and living all on one level with a greater separation of space. It's awesome.
  • November 06 2011
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Profile picture for Dan Malloy
Strictly for an economy of scale standpoint a builder can provide substantially more space in a two story home vs a ranch home.  The foundation and roof are two of the most expensive component parts of a home, and with a 2 story, you are using those parts 2x instead of one.

A 2 story home will also have a smaller footprint on your lot, thereby allowing for a larger back yard.

Good luck in your quest for a new home!
  • November 06 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Strictly from an economy standpoint builder can squeeze more square footage on a smaller lot with a two story house too. As a bonus, you can see your neighbors from your top story windows.

The builders generally don't pas on the savings on the cost difference so when it gets down to it you should buy the house and plan that you prefer whether new or old.
  • November 06 2011
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Profile picture for VanessaCollinss
My personal opinion is to buy a 1 story house. Reason being is because once one gets old, one does not want to climb up and down the stairs. Also, with the concern of earthquakes, I'll rather not live in a 2 story house.  
  • November 21 2011
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What is your preference and why?  Prefer a 1 story over the 2 story

I guess my main conflict is safety.  With a 2 story, there is a danger of falling (I have 3 small kids), and of course being trapped upstairs in the event of a fire.  After a few years of age, kids don't appear as fragile as most believe. With a 1 story, someone could more easily abduct one of the kids from their rooms. Reduce the chance of this happening by purchasing a 1 story home in a good neighborhood.  Historically, it has been shown that children are abducted in both good and bad neighborhoods.  However, there is a sense of safety when you live in a home located in a better neighborhood than the one that is not.

Then there are the other issues - electricity bills (not sure which is better?), yard size, aging, etc. Electricity bills will vary depending on consumption and not whether the home is 1 or 2 stories of similar square feet. 
I speak only for only for myself, in regards to desirability, 80% of my buyers are wanting a 1 story home.  They are second home buyers getting up there in age and do not want the struggles of daily stair climbing.  The desire for 1 story homes may vary in other markets.
  • November 30 2011
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