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The Ultimate Debate

The Ultimate Debate

Drake Homes builds a wide variety of different home styles throughout the Des Moines area, so we thought it would be interesting to write about the endless debate between the two most common, ranch and two story homes.

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder and you may be limited by the type of lot you have, but as an experienced home builder in tune with the housing market, here are a few observations we found interesting on each side of the debate. Let the battle begin between The Ranch Squad and Team Two Story...FIGHT!


A Ranch-style home is a single story home that often feature open layouts, higher ceilings, and a larger overall footprint. If you’re a fan of ranch homes, you probably enjoy the accessibility of having everything on the main level, with more available space in the lower level. Limited stairways and increased accessibility throughout a ranch home is the biggest selling point for many ranch home owners as well.

Overall, ranch homes seem to be preferred by single people, young families, and empty nesters.  The open floor plans really cater to people who want a more connected living experience, while the expanded lower level provides more usable space to really build out more bedrooms, entertainment areas, and more.


Two Story homes are multilevel and feature more individualized space with increased livable square footage overall. Even with the taller elevation, a two story has less foundation, less roof, and less of an overall footprint often resulting in the cost per square foot of two story homes less than ranch homes.

Another financial benefit to a two story is that the basement can act as a nice option for scalability. Compared to a ranch, the lower level may not need to be finished in order to give the home owner adequate space and therefore, can be a cost-saving strategy when building a new home, but an option for future expansion.

Depending on the type of lot a home is built upon, the two story home can offer more options in the backyard. With the home potentially taking less room on the lot, many home owners enjoy the ability to build larger, even multilevel decks and outdoor entertainment areas with a two story home.

Perhaps the biggest draw of a two story home is that many, if not all of the bedrooms are upstairs.  This provides a more defined separation between bedrooms and general living spaces. Many growing families choose the two story layout because it hides the controlled chaos by having everyone’s rooms upstairs and out of the sight of visitors. Overall, two story homes provide much more separation between living areas and for this reason, the two story home will always be popular.

Do you prefer ranch or two story homes?
Two Story

OtherPlayers2There are many other types of homes being built in Iowa. Although ranch and two story homes make up the majority of homes throughout Des Moines, 1 1/2 story, split level, multi-family, and many others in between can be found in this region.  Curious what other types of houses are being built around the world? Here is a list of house types we found interesting.

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