Let's Talk About Split-Level Homes

No matter which city in the Des Moines metro you’re house hunting in, you should have no problem finding a split-level house.

But what is a split-level house? Simply put, a split-level house is one with staggered levels and an entryway or front door that opens in the center of the two levels.Typically, this means that, upon entering through the front door, you’ll be greeted by a staircase that goes up to the bedroom level and another that will take you to the basement area. Another easy way to think about split-level homes is that there’s no one floor that covers the house’s entire footprint.

The basement area is almost always finished, so it can serve multiple purposes. For example, it will usually include at least one bedroom and a laundry room. Many split-level homeowners will also use the basement’s main space as a living room or their primary room for entertaining.

Many buyers confuse split-level houses and bi-level houses. A split-level house includes at least three different levels. It has the initial level you enter when you first walk in. This usually includes the kitchen and dining room, as well. Then, there are the two aforementioned levels, though there could be more. In a bi-level house, there are only two levels. That’s it.

Split-level houses come in all shapes, sizes, and, as we just mentioned, architectural styles. Not all split-level houses are three floors, either (commonly called a “tri-level”). There are also stacked split-level houses that can have as many as five or six floors.

A side-split house is where you can see all the levels from the curb. The house in The Brady Bunch is a famous example. From the front, you can see one level off to the right and two off to the left.

With a back-split house, you can you can see just one level from the curb. It’s only when viewing it from the side that you’re able to see that there are two more levels that split off the main floor.

Is a Split-Level House for You?

Split-level homes have been a popular option since the 1950s, though they aren’t being built as much anymore. Nonetheless, they remain popular for at least a couple of reasons:

First, split-levels make the most out of a smaller lot size. Instead of two floors and a basement, a split-level house could give you three floors and maybe even a crawlspace off the basement for extra storage. Again, each room feels distinct, too, which will give you more opportunities to divide up your house as you see fit. So, with multiple levels, you can often enjoy more square footage without having to pay for the kind of lot usually associated with that size in other homes.

Second, many owners of split-level homes report that they love how easy it is to navigate from one room to the next no matter what floor you’re on. That’s helpful when you’re bringing in groceries from the garage and want to move quickly into the kitchen or want to watch TV in your basement while still being near your front door in case someone rings the bell.

This is why many parents of young children love these homes. They still provide space and privacy, but you can move around without ever being far from your small kids – whether you’re on the ground floor or the upper floor.

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