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Ranch vs. Multi-level Homes: What’s Best?

When thinking about your next home, what do you envision? A wide-open, single-level, ranch floor plan with plenty of room to move? Maybe a sophisticated, multi-level home design where everyone has their own personal space? Both home types have incredible appeal for very different reasons. It all comes down to what suits your lifestyle. To help make a decision, there are a few key questions to ask yourself about your family’s needs now and a few years down the road. For example:


  • Will your family grow in the next 5-10 years?
  • Will older parents or grandparents need to move in at some point?
  • What’s more important – wide open space, or more rooms?


At Heartland Builders, we offer new homes in Grand Rapids, MI expertly designed in both styles and ready to build on your land. Let’s take a look at the benefits of each so you can decide what’s best for you!


Benefits of Ranch Homes


Open Concept Floor Plans

Ranch homes are built on a single-level and typically designed so that one living space flows right into another. Your gourmet kitchen may flow into the dining room, which is open to the living room and the patio beyond. If you have kids who love to run freely, they can definitely get their energy out in a ranch-style home. These homes require fewer load-bearing walls, so rooms can be more spacious with no obstructions, giving you the benefit of moving more easily through your home.


No Stairs 

When you have a baby in arms or mobility concerns, stairs can present quite the challenge. These are important considerations if you have older relatives who visit often or may one day live with you. And once the baby starts walking – watch out! Every part of the house is fair game for climbing, rolling, reaching, and pushing. At least without stairs and a second level to think about, you can direct your worries to that lamp cord she just put in her mouth. 🙂


Peace and Quiet

Although multi-level homes today are made with excellent noise barriers between floors, they aren’t fully soundproof. If you enjoy a perfectly quiet night’s sleep without the sound of footsteps or a bath running overhead, single-level living might be best for you.


Easier to Maintain

Have you seen those insanely tall ladders with homeowners teetering at the top just to clean the gutters? With a single-level home, that won’t be you. A regular sized ladder will do the job just fine. It’s also easier to pressure wash, make repairs, or clear away those pesky wasps’ nests. And on the inside, sweeping, mopping and vacuuming all happen on one even level – there’s no need to haul equipment up and down the stairs.


Less Expensive to Heat

With a single-level home, you save on energy costs in the cold months because heat is trapped closer to ALL the rooms in the house, and there is less duct work. 


Benefits of Multi-Level Homes


More Square Footage

This is perhaps the most popular reason for wanting a multi-level home design. If you own a smaller piece of land, or you don’t want to clear too many trees, a multi-level home may give you more interior square footage. If you have a large family, “more space” is likely at the top of your priority list. A multi-level home can give it to you in the form of additional bedrooms, bathrooms, and bonus rooms with much-needed separation from the main living areas.


More Privacy

In traditional multi-level homes, the bedrooms occupy the top level, while the common living spaces remain below. That’s a built-in privacy guarantee. Guests in the living room can’t “accidentally” wander into your bedroom while they’re looking for the bathroom. Plus, your bedroom isn’t street-level, so passersby outside have a harder time seeing in. 



For the design-minded, a staircase leading up to the second floor is something akin to a blank canvas. Holidays, graduation parties, birthdays, family photos – there are so many ways to dress up a staircase for life’s special occasions. And when it’s personalized by you, stairs can really become the wow factor of your home.


Sense of Accomplishment

Although any new home gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment, multi-level homes have an air of grandeur that’s hard to resist. There’s something so satisfying about pulling around the corner to see your home rising in the distance and thinking, “I’ve done well!” 

If you are searching for the perfect new single-level or multi-level home in the Grand Rapids area, Heartland Builders would love to help! Our process makes choosing and building a new home easy, fun, and fast(er than you think). We have a wide selection of floor plans that you can build as is or customize to your liking. Contact us at 515-468-2549 for more information or to schedule your personal tour. We can’t wait to get started!