A Des Moines Custom Home Builder Blog

Ranch vs. Multistory Home

Posted by Don Brill on December 28, 2018


Before you build your dream home, you’ll need to decide on its layout, including, whether you want a single story or a multilevel home. Both options have pros and cons, and only you can decide which will best suit your family’s needs. To help you choose, check out our rundown on ranches versus multistory homes. 



Single story homes, either with or without finished basements, have a number of benefits for many homeowners. A ranch-style home can be an excellent choice for aging adults, parents with young children, and families of any size.



  • All necessary rooms are accessible without stairs.
  • Parents can be in close proximity to their young children at all times.
  • Ranch homes typically have more sightlines and accommodate everyone on one floor.
  • Skylights and solar tubes are possible anywhere in the home.
  • Exiting the home during an emergency is simpler.



  • Single-story homes typically cost more per square foot to build.
    • A larger roof and foundation are necessary for ranch-style homes.
    • A ranch home requires a bigger lot than a multistory with the same square footage.
  • A ranch home doesn’t have as much natural privacy as a multistory home.
  • First-story bedrooms are more easily accessed by burglars.
  • Single-story homes are typically quieter than their multistory counterparts.



For those who don’t mind stairs, a multistory home may be an advantageous option. They require less roofing and foundation, and they can provide more privacy between different areas of the home.



  • Multistory homes are typically less expensive to build than a single-story homes with comparable square footage.
  • Multiple stories allow for more separation between community and private areas.
  • You can build more square footage on the same sized lot with a multistory home. Building up instead of out allows for more yard space or bigger garage.



  • Multistory homes are usually more expensive to heat and cool.
  • Most family members will have to use the stairs.
  • A multistory home can be more difficult to exit in case of an emergency.
  • Exterior maintenance becomes more challenging than with a single story.
  • There are more chances for accident or injury in a multistory home.



If you’re able to spend a little bit more on land, roofing, and foundation, then a ranch can provide a home where everyone can age in place. If you’d like a little more privacy, you’re working with limited lot space, or you want to get the most living space out of your budget, a multistory building may be the optimal choice. A building expert can help you determine the option that is best for you.


If you’re ready to get started on your custom home, contact Homes by Brill. As one of Des Moines’ leading home builders, we’re well versed in the art of creating dream homes. We’ll walk you through each step of the home building process from start to finish. Schedule a consultation with our team today! 


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Topics: Design