What is a “Ranch Style” House? (And Why They’re Popular)

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Feb 15, 2023

If you’re currently in the market to buy a house, you’ve probably noticed just how many options there are to choose from.

These days, no matter where you live, you’re likely to find listings for mid century moderns, carriage houses, bungalows, contemporary homes, mediterranean villas, and much more.

However, despite its long history in this country, one of the most popular listings you’re most likely to see is still one that says, “ranch house for sale”.

What is a Ranch House?

Interestingly, history seems to be repeating itself as ranch houses are back in vogue, in large part, as a reaction to McMansions and other two-story floor plans that have become ubiquitous throughout the country.

If you’re in the market for a new home and are curious about the benefits of a ranch house, here are five traits that distinguish them from other types of properties.

1. Most Are One Story

Ranch houses have come a long way since the 40s and 50s when one of their most appealing qualities was how easy it was to mass produce them.

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to drive through an entire neighborhood of ranch houses that all look completely different.

Still, the design of most ranch houses is one story, though they may occasionally border on a split-level look with one floor being a step or two up from the rest.

View Ranch Homes For Sale

2. Horizontal Design

Similarly, ranch houses are designed horizontally. Again, most are one story, so this makes perfect sense.

It’s also another reminder of its roots. The haciendas that first grabbed May’s eye were one story too.

3. Emphasis on Outdoor Living

One of the biggest problems with the aforementioned McMansions and other houses of similar design is that they overcrowd their own lots. People who purchase them quickly realize just how little is left for an actual yard.

That’s why ranch houses are so beloved again in these regions.

You can see properties that satisfy all your needs and still have a yard worth spending time in. Have an open mind as you view these properties as well. You don’t necessarily have to go for a property that’s been updated with “the latest and greatest.

Many are designed in a U- or L-shape with wrap-around patios, pools, or other outdoor areas. It gives the feeling that these spaces are just as much a part of the home as any other room, even though they’re outside.

Their single-story designs also lend themselves to emphasizing the outdoors. Many ranch homes include more than one door to the backyard.

For example, the kitchen or living room may have a sliding glass door that makes it easy to bring food to the patio, allowing guests to easily walk in and out of the house when you’re entertaining.

4. Low-Pitched Roofs

Ranch houses have low-pitched roofs. Some may even be completely flat. While they may sometimes include stylish overhanging eaves, you won’t find any gables that rise high above the rest of the home.

This style inspired mid century designs for decades to come as low-pitched roofs are far easier to care for than versions with sharper angles.

In fact, when you combine them with a one-story design, most homeowners have no problem simply climbing a ladder when their roof needs the odd shingle, or a gutter is coming loose.

5. Attached Garages

Ranch houses rose to popularity around the same time that the automobile was becoming commonplace throughout the United States. Even though most people who owned them lived in the suburbs, many still had to drive into the city for work every day.

So, though their roots are close to a century old, the typical ranch-house designs have always featured an attached garage.

History of Ranch Style Homes

Although ranch houses have recently become more popular, their origins go all the way back to the 1930’s west coast architects who pioneered these houses were inspired by ranches along the southwestern border and Mexican adobe haciendas.

Nowadays, people who own ranch houses love their conservative, straightforward designs. However, back in the 30s, they represented a radical departure from ornate houses that often featured porticoes, dormer windows, tall gables, steep roofs, and wrap around porches.

Nonetheless, following World War II, ranches houses went up for sale all over the country. They were perfect for new suburbs and subdivisions as they were relatively affordable to build and easy to construct. For a booming population that was quickly outgrowing urban hubs, they were the perfect solution.

Eventually, the popularity of ranch houses began to fade in the 1970s. Growing property costs made one-story homes impractical while the decade’s energy crisis made them expensive to heat.

Why People Love Ranch Houses

Ranch houses remain popular for a number of reasons.

First, they tend to be relatively affordable thanks to their single-story, horizontal design. This really appeals to first-time homebuyers and young parents who want to watch their budgets.

Second, people who live in warmer states love how these homes prioritize the outdoors. Again, this is great for parents of young children who love getting outside to play throughout the day. Older people are also very fond of ranch houses because they can easily get around them without having to go up and down stairs multiple times a day.

Third, though ranch houses reflect a time of rapid growth in our country’s history, they’re beloved for their “laid back” design. They tend to have open floor plans with one room leading directly into another and, again, multiple ways to get outside. So, while plenty of ranch houses could be considered luxury real estate, they still encourage a more relaxed, enjoyable approach to life.

Start Looking for a Ranch House for Sale

Ranch houses have a lot to offer and whether you’re about to start a family or enter retirement, there’s a version that will suit your lifestyle perfectly.

At SimpleShowing, you can use our platform to find a ranch house for sale and a real estate agent to help you buy it. Best of all, by doing so, you’ll qualify for our Buyer Refund Program and could earn back as much as $15,000 upon closing.

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