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What's your story?

by David M. Brown on Jun 26, 2017

"The pros and cons of buying a single-story or two-story home are determined by the buyer, by what he or she needs," said Steve Snoddy, vice president of sales for Scottsdale-based AV Homes, which builds single-and-two story homes and develops family and 55-and-over communities in Florida, Arizona and the Carolinas. 

Demographic and more

“There are many deciding factors —such as small children, multi-generation considerations and desires for more yard space for children and pets — which lead folks to two stories,” said Ernest Deo Haycraft, salesman for the Mulberry neighborhood in Mesa, part of the Americana collection by Mesa-based Blandford Homes. With 38 years building Southeast Valley homes, the company offers single- and two-level homes, sometimes, as with Mulberry, in the same  community.

At the same time, older buyers, including empty-nesters, generally prefer single-level living. “In our Arizona communities, we exclusively offer one-story homes,” said Steven Berry, senior vice president of architecture and design for Sun Lakes-based Robson Resort Communities, which has been building 55-plus communities in Arizona and Texas for five decades.

“Single-level living is highly desired with our buyer demographic. We’ve maximized home designs to take advantage of outdoor living space, natural light and courtyard environments,” he said. Single-story homes are generally more energy-efficient to heat and cool, especially in Arizona, reducing utility bills, Snoddy said. However, today’s energy-efficient products, including high- SEER air-conditioning, higher insulative “R” values, 2-by-6-foot construction, dual-pane low-E windows and radiant barriers are making one- or two-story home of similar square-footage about the same heat and cool, Haycraft said. 

Single-story homes eliminate stairs for those who may not want to walk up and down each day, said Snoddy, adding that for this reason AV builds its 55-plus communities only in this configuration. At the same time, a single-story will generally take up more lot space, mini- mizing the usable yard space, he added.

In contrast, a two-story home allows more square-footage on a parcel at a more affordable price per square-foot. And, “Two-story homes allow more flexibility with space as there generally are more bedrooms, play areas or lofts to give a family options to use the space optimally for their family,” Snoddy said. “And if a young family has the foresight to and financial ability to buy a larger two-story home, it can grow into the additional space as they have more children.”

What’s more: “Parents can feel more secure with the children’s bedrooms upstairs and many two-stories have lofts which offer a separate area for children,” Haycraft noted. So, too, because the footprint of a two-story home with similar square-footage as a single-story is smaller, a similarly sized backyard is larger, providing greater landscaping opportunities, Snoddy said. 

Robson Communities builds two-story homes at Robson Ranch Texas because of growing interest from that retirement market. The second floors feature a variety of configurations and options such as a game room, powder room, bedroom guest suite and a deck. “These options give the buyers a chance to tailor their homes to their families, guests and lifestyle needs in addition to capturing distant views as well,” Berry said. 

One by one, two by two
Robson discreetly fits the one- and two- stories into the community. “The regional Texas architecture, with steep roof pitches, really works well to nestle the two-story spaces into the roof massing and minimize what would be an awkward transition from a one-story home next to a two-story home along the streets of the community,” he said.

This siting sensitivity is an important consideration for today’s new-home buyers who may want the privacy of a community or area with only single-story homes. AV Homes, for example, offers three family communities with just single- stories or specific areas where buyers can build just those, Snoddy said. “This gives the buyer confidence that he or she will not have a two-story home built behind them,” he said.

When homes are mixed in communities, Blandford Homes builds one-stories behind one-stories and twos behind twos. “You’ll typically not see a single-story tucked between two two-story homes,” Haycraft said. “We usually have strict well-considered guidelines outlining what can go next to what.”

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