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Why are split-level homes harder to sell?



Split-level homes look beautiful. Especially if they are on top of a hill and surrounded by a beautiful flower garden, anyone who sees it will be drawn towards it. It also offers a lot of space to live in, and they are cheap. Despite all this, selling split-level homes is difficult. If you have a split-level home and are trying to sell it, you need to read this post to understand why are split-level homes harder to sell. Once you know the reasons, you can act upon them to sell your house faster. We are also sharing some tips to help your sell your split-level home more quickly. Keep reading!


What is a split-level house?

Ranch-style homes and split-level houses are often confused by folks. So to make things clear, let’s understand what we mean by split-level homes. It is easy to understand this if we compare it to ranch-style homes.


So, have you played with Legos? Imagine you stacked one red Lego piece on the other of the same size and shape but of yellow color. Now, this is what a ranch-style house looks like. Evenly stacked floors!


The image below is what we can call evenly stacked houses.

Let's continue playing with Legos for now. Now let's say you kept two Lego pieces next to each other and attached a small piece above on one side and a bigger piece on the other. This is what a split house should look like. Unevenly stacked!

Split-level homes are usually tri-level homes or they can go up to 6-7 floors as well, while ranch homes are a term generally used to refer to two-story houses.


The purpose of a split-level house is to give people more space to live without occupying a large area of land. It is typically divided into two zones. The lower portion has the garage, and the top part will have the main living space with bedrooms, kitchen, and dining room. The entrance will be at a lower level, and it also features an underground basement. Another peculiar feature of split-level homes is uneven windows and roofs protruding out.


Some of these features like an underground basement or uneven windows might be seen in ranch-style houses as well, however, the whole structure of the building remains evenly stacked.


Split-level homes are very common in the countryside. You’ll usually see these houses on a hill covered by beautiful trees. They also have a pretty big lawn. For families with a lot of members, a split-level home is the most ideal home design. Living in such a place is pure delight. Anyone would love to spend their lives here with their kids and other family members. Then why is it so hard to sell? Let’s find out.


Why is it difficult to sell split-level homes?

If you own a split-level house and want to sell it, you must have been told by someone that you are going to have a hard time selling this house. It is not impossible to sell a split-level house, but it is slightly difficult. After we take a look at the reasons that make selling split-level homes difficult, we shall also take a look at some things that will help you sell them faster.


Smaller market

Most families in current times are nuclear families. We don’t see families with more than 4-5 people anymore. However, there are some big families who’ll love your split-level home. Emphasis on “some”. Selling a house is more about marketing it to as many people among the target audience as possible. In the case of split-level homes, our market segment is very small. There are only “some” families who are big enough to consider buying a split-level house. A smaller market implies a slow sale.


It may not be good for investment purposes

Split houses are less expensive despite being able to house bigger families. It is because they have stacked multiple split levels which offer more living spaces, but the land area it needs is less. Moreover, these houses are located in areas where the demand may not be too high. Hence the price of split-level homes is lower.


If you are planning to live in this house for a long time, you might like the price range of split-level homes. However, from an investment point of view, split levels may not be the right choice for you. The ROI on these houses is less.

The floor plan makes the house appear smaller

In a ranch-style home where the floors are evenly stacked over each other, each floor covers the same square foot area. But in the case of a split-level house, one floor will look smaller than the other. Remember our lego structure of the split-level house? One piece is bigger than the other. This is why despite being able to have space for a lot of people the house looks smaller.


Experts suggest that while selling the house, you should remove additional furniture and paint the house in light colors to make your house look more spacious than it is. This means that home buyers are more likely to buy your house if it appears more spacious. The structure of a split-level house will make it look smaller than it actually is, and this can also be one of the reasons why home buyers are reluctant to buy split-level homes.


Less natural light

Everyone likes a house that receives good natural light. It feels pleasant, there is some sort of warmth to it. Split-level homes usually get less natural light despite having huge windows. It is because the light path might get blocked by the wall or a protruding roof of a floor. You know what the horse blinder does right? It blocks the light coming from the sides. It can happen to your room in a split-level house too. If one room is extended a little towards the outside, it will cast a shadow on the room that is next to it and slightly inward. The extended part of the house will act as a blinder, restricting any light from one side of the house. However, it isn’t like the whole house will be in the dark. Some areas that are protruding out will receive more light.


Too many stairs

One of the main complaints about split-level homes is that it has too many stairs. You’ll find some stairs leading to the front door. Then there are steps for every floor. And since split-level houses have staggered floors, it is not just one staircase that leads you to the next floor. There are many small stairs leading to different floors. The more stairs you have in the house, the more difficult it becomes to move around. Especially if you have old people or someone with knee problems who will have issues climbing stairs, mobility issues are bound to happen.


Usually away from the city

Most people who are willing to buy a house and settle in one place, are looking for a house that is in close proximity to the city. There are many advantages of living near or in the city. There are many job opportunities, schools, healthcare centers, malls, restaurants, etc. Living near the city implies that all facilities are within a few minutes of driving distance. Split-level homes tend to be situated away from the city. Although staying in the countryside is more peaceful, it is not the most preferred choice for people who are living a fast-paced life. This further reduces your market size.


Lesser opportunities for remodeling

Most sellers remodel the house to attract more buyers but remodeling a split-level home is rather difficult. Moreover, new house owners like to change the way their new house looks after buying it.


Changing the location of a certain room in the house is a bit too much. It will become too difficult considering the staggered floor plan of split-level homes. You can try things like breaking a wall to increase the space of one room, but messing with the whole floor plan of the entire house in an attempt to create a better floor plan will turn out to be really expensive.

The design is not preferred in the recent times


Split-level homes were a trend in the 1950s and 1960s. People preferred houses that had a lot of rooms but didn’t require a few hundred square feet of land to construct them. However, in the last few decades, the preference for such houses has reduced. People think of such designs as outdated and hence do not consider buying them.


Tips on selling a split-level home successfully

There is no doubt that selling a split-level home is a bit difficult compared to ranch-style or apartment-style homes. But it is not completely impossible. You can still sell it. Let us help you with some tips on how you can sell your split-level house successfully.

Make your house visually appealing

You can start with making your house visually appealing. When people scroll through a listing website, they should immediately stop to look at your house. This will assure that you don’t lose a potential buyer. But how do you do that?


First, get a professional photographer. You need good-quality photos on the listing. Try to get pictures with good lighting. Your real estate agent should be able to manage a professional photographer for you.


The next thing you need to do is staging. There is nothing wrong with staging your house. There are staging experts who will arrange the furniture in your house in a way that anyone would like to live in that space immediately. There are a lot of things to keep in mind here like the colors, placement, and mood of that room.


Clean your house. Remove unwanted and old furniture. Your house should look clean and spacious.


Allow natural light to enter the house

You can do simple remodeling projects like having more windows. Split-level homes usually have big windows but if there is a wall that is blocking the way of light into a room, you can install a big window on that wall to allow sunlight to enter your room.


Why are we stressing so much about natural light? Well, people love the natural light in the house. It feels great and also helps you save money on electricity bills.


Focus on landscaping

Most split-level homes have a big lawn. Make use of it. You can plant a nice flower garden to make enhance your curb appeal. If there is anything that needs fixing, do it as soon as possible. Fix your main gate and fence and if the exterior paint is worn out, apply a fresh coat of paint. Before a home tour, clean your yard space and lawn. Your curb appeal can also help you increase the price of your house.


Modernize it wherever possible

As I mentioned before, split-level homes were popular in old times. Many people will just refrain from buying a split-level home because it appears very old school. Well, you cannot change the structure of your house but you can certainly make it up to modern standards. Start with changing the color of your house. Use some trendy colors. Install modern systems in the kitchen and bathroom. You can even install metal roofs instead of asphalt shingles. Take a look at your house, if you see opportunities to modernize the house, make the changes immediately.


Give your buyers a bargain

You can also try selling your house at a lesser price. Not too less that you will get no profit. Not setting the right price is one of the most common mistakes people make while selling a house. So set a price lesser than the market price but still profitable for you. People looking for houses with a smaller budget might get attracted to your property. If you are finding it too difficult to sell your house, this method shall work for you.

Sell it to a home buying company

Remodeling, repair, listing, all this takes a lot of time. If you are in urgent need of some monetary funds and selling your split-level home is the only option left with you, you can try selling your house to an investor or a home buying company. These investors buy houses as-is and are always looking for cheap homes that they can buy and resell for a better price. So if nothings working and you need to sell your house as soon as possible then finding an investor would be a more feasible option for you.


Bottom line

Selling a house is nothing but marketing it properly. Think from the buyer’s perspective. Why would they like to buy your house? What are the pluses of your house? Highlight them while listing your property. There are many advantages of living in a split house like more rooms at a lesser price. If you are able to convey these advantages effectively to your target audience, you should be able to sell your house. Moreover, now that you know why it is difficult to sell split-level houses, you can try to fix those things to attract buyers. Well, if nothing works you always have a chance with an investor.


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