Ranch homes tend to get a bad rap. The fact that they're just one story means they may be less conducive to privacy, and sometimes, they can feel more cramped than two-story homes. But last year, The National Association of Home Builders found that 65% of buyers actually want a one-story home.
Whether you're buying a new property to flip, rent out, or live in yourself with the eventual goal of selling it for top dollar, it could pay to put your money into a ranch home. But if you're going to do that, here are some things to look out for.
1. An open floor plan
Having all of your rooms on a single story could be a negative thing -- unless, of course, that space appears open and airy. If you're going to buy a ranch home, it pays to choose one that features an open floor plan (or, if you're flipping a ranch, it pays to incorporate an open floor plan into your renovation and design). Having an open floor plan gives a roomier impression, and it could also help you attract buyers.
2. A decent amount of square footage
You'll sometimes lose out on square footage when you buy a single-story home -- but you don't have to. If you're setting your sights on a ranch home, aim to find one that offers more living space than the typical single-story property. This is especially important because it's not always so easy to build an addition onto a ranch, since you could run into outdoor space constraints.
3. A larger amount of land
If you put a ranch home or a two-story home with comparable square footage on the same plot of land, you'll be left with a much smaller backyard with the ranch home than with the two-story home. That's a good thing, in theory, if you don't like mowing the lawn or maintaining a larger yard. But a lot of buyers want a larger backyard, and so if you're buying a ranch to flip or invest in, a smaller lot could impact that home's resale value. That's why it pays to focus on ranch homes that are located on larger lots. More outdoor space gives buyers more flexibility, which could ultimately add to your bottom line.
4. A quiet neighborhood
With a ranch home, all of the bedrooms are on the ground floor, which could prove problematic on a busy street with lots of foot and vehicle traffic and noise. If you're going to invest in a ranch home, aim for a quiet street in a low-key neighborhood. A ranch home on a cul-de-sac, for example, could be a much easier sell than a ranch home on a through street that sees a lot of cars.
Clearly, buyers have their sights set on ranch homes despite the drawbacks of single-floor living. If you're going to buy or flip a ranch home, be strategic about the property you choose so you'll wind up happy with your investment.