While a building inspection can tell you about a home's structural integrity, your personal preference will decide whether a ranch home is the best choice for you.

Despite what the name implies, these properties aren't all located on a horse farm. However, they do have a unique style and are often found in suburban areas. The defining trait of these properties is they are one level. Additionally, many ranch homes have an attached carport or garage, as well as sliding glass doors and elongated, asymmetrical floor plans. Their layout is an amalgamation of Prairie-style and Spanish Colonial homes. 

The design started to pop up in the 1930s as automobiles became more common. They were mostly in the West and began appearing in suburbs across the U.S. in the 1950s.

Ranch homes are still a popular housing option and come with unique considerations for home buyers. Here are some benefits of these properties:

  • There's a lot of space. Ranch houses have a large rooms that flow into each other.
  • The homes are full of natural light. Due to the big picture windows and sliding doors, there are many avenues for light to enter the space.
  • They are perfect for aging homeowners. Given that everything's on one floor, there aren't stairs unless there's a basement. This presents a key advantage for older individuals who have trouble with their mobility.
  • Exterior maintenance is simpler. When it's time to clean the gutters in autumn, ranch homeowners don't need a big ladder for the task. The job can be done with a step ladder, a benefit that is also useful for painting the home's exterior, hanging holiday lights and retrieving a lost Frisbee.
  • They can be more affordable. Ranch-style properties are often less expensive because they are only one floor. This advantage makes these homes viable options for first-time home buyers.

Of course, no home type is without its obstacles. There are challenges heating a ranch house. Owners of these properties typically cite troubles keeping their homes uniformly warm in the winter. While one room is at an adequate temperature, another may be noticeably colder. Additionally, it may be harder for members of your family to gain some privacy given the more open layout.

However, the style is evolving in ways that make ranch homes more energy-efficient and suitable for contemporary buyers.