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Why Are Split Level Houses Hard To Sell?

September 19 2018
by Leisl Bailey

why are split level houses hard to sell

Are split-level houses hard to sell? Typically. But they do not have to be.

In this article, we will cover the common misconceptions about split level homes and why you shouldn’t worry about yours being stagnant on the market for too long.

Here are the top five reasons that split-level houses are hard to sell – and what you can do to sell yours anyway (for a great price!)

What Is a Split Level Home?

Before we can truly understand what could make a split level home hard to sell, we need to understand what they are.

Split level homes first came into popularity in the 1950s and 60s. During this time, the split-level style appealed to many American buyers for a few reasons.

The first was that split-level homes were a fresh new design. The second (and more popular reason) was that split-level homes were more prominent than the bungalow-style homes that dominated most neighborhoods, but you can build them for cheap on a small lot, unlike most ranch-style homes.

You can characterize split level homes in two ways.

In a true split level home, the front door and entryway have the same elevation as one part of a home (like the family room or the kitchen) and the rest of the home stacks atop itself, a half-story up or down from that level.

Similar to a split level home, a split entry home has a front door in the middle of the home halfway between the upper floor and the lower floor. When you walk in, stairs immediately lead up and down from the entryway.

What Are The Common Problems with Selling a Split Level Home?

Here are the most common problems people see when they wonder “Are split-level houses hard to sell?” We’ve also got their solutions.

The Problem: There Are Too Many Stairs

The main argument against living in a split level home is that you are always on the stairs. Potential clients might see this as a hassle because they don’t always want to be climbing up or down.

The Solution: There aren’t really Too Many. You just have to frame it in a new way.

In a typical two-story home, you would have a full set of stairs (about 13 or 14 steps) in between the main level and the second one. If there is a basement, then there would be another full set of steps leading down into it.

In a split level home, these steps split up into smaller, easier-to-walk-increments. Instead of walking 14 steps from the kitchen to the guest bedroom, you only walk 7, get to stop off in the living room on the way, then walk another 7.

Everything is just closer and more accessible in a split-level.

The Problem: The Floor Plan Seems Choppy

One of the reasons that split level homes are typically thought of as hard to sell is because potential buyers might see the floorplan as choppy because most of the main living areas (like the kitchen, family room, and living room) are separate from each other by stairs.

The Solution: Frame It as Private Instead

To avoid this problem when you sell your home, you just have to work with your Realtor to frame the home as private instead.

Think of it this way: the entertaining areas are separate so different groups of people can enjoy different things at the same time. Throwing a Superbowl party? Some guests can watch the game while others just socialize. The kids can watch a movie while their parents enjoy a nice dinner. The possibilities are endless.

The Problem: It’s Too Old!

Many buyers might think that traditional split-level homes are products of their time. They hear split level and immediately think “Brady Bunch.” And while Mid-Century modern furniture is coming back into style, linoleum floors and wood-paneled hallways are not.

The Solution: Updates Are Easy

This is why it’s handy to have high-quality photos taken of your property when trying to sell it. If you have made any updates to the inside of your home, like installing marble flooring to replace the linoleum, be sure to highlight them in your listing.

One of the things driving potential buyers away could simply be their preconceived notions of what a split-level house looks like. Work with your agent to highlight all the updates you have made throughout the home, and you should be golden.

The Problem: Split Levels Have Little to No Curb Appeal

The three main issues with how split levels look are their monolithic rooflines, their big garage doors, and front doors that seem to be hard to find because of plain siding. When considering if split-level houses are hard to sell, their lack of appealing aesthetics could be an issue.

The Solution: It is Easy to Remodel a Split Level

Don’t like your split level’s roofline? Consider adding a few dormers to break it up visually.

You could also consider adding a few façade treatments. For example, on a horizontal- focused home like a split level, re-siding some areas with vertical board-and-batten siding adds some visual excitement.

To make the front door easier to find, it’s also a good idea to add a portico, canopy, or enclosed foyer. Making a home’s entrance easy to spot can really help it to stand out on the market.

The Problem: Split Levels Are Too Dark Inside

This is usually due to a design “flaw” of many of the original developers. For some reason, many split-level homes do not have windows on either end, causing the rooms on these sides to feel too dark.

The Solution: Add Some Windows!

Adding windows can be an investment, but lighting up your split-level can increase its potential sale value. If you install windows on both sides of each corner, not only can you let the sunshine in, but you can also add space to the home, as windows make rooms feel larger.

Ready to partner with an expert to sell your home? Why not choose Clever. Our professional agents only charge a flat fee, leaving you with more money and less stress.

Call us today at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.