Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372


I wouldn't go so far as to say that builders should ONLY build homes with First Floor Masters as recommended by Charles McDonald in Charlottesville VA.  It's a trend for a larger and growing segment of the new homes market, but only a percentage.

My home has a first floor master and love it but I'm older than dirt.  I have no problem with steps since I'm very fit, but there's always the risk of falling and many older home buyers do want to avoid steps.

HOWEVER, young families also buy new construction.  With infants and toddlers, parents don't want a home that puts them on a different sleeping level from their young ones.  I've shown many homes, new and resales, to young families and the first floor master is rejected by the majority simply because they want to be near and accessible to babies during the night. 

Teens??  That's another matter.  A first floor master is the perfect solution for families with older children.  In fact, that floor plan, bedroom areas on separate levels, even in a finished basement is preferable, not only to parents but also to the teens.

KNOW WHERE THE FIRST FLOOR MASTER BEDROOM MODELS ARE OFFERED!   This is a good business practice.  Since this model is popular with many buyer and a growing percentage of buyers, it pays for agents to know which builders have a first floor plan selection.  Most do today. 

CAREFUL!  The first floor model is generally more costly per square foot than the two story model.  The foundation is larger and, therefore, more costly to build and the roof will often require a larger area, leading to higher cost.

LOT SELECTION may be limited for first floor master floor plans.  The first floor model will usually have a larger footprint and, in 1/4 acre or less lots, may not be feasible and the lots that will accommodate the first floor master will be limited and ofActive Adultsten have premiums.

THE FIRST FLOOR MASTER enjoyed a brief popularity back in the early 1990s (I remember) when most builders were offering two story homes with 3-4 bedrooms all on the upper level.  HOWEVER, builders that selected the first floor master as their only model home design,often found they were not selling.  If the builder didn't show a traditional floor plan as their model home found that young families were buying elsewhere.  Model homes are expensive investments for builders and it makes sense for them to show their MOST POPULAR MODEL, not a niche.  In the 1990s, the first floor model was a niche. 



AS THE POPULATION AGED, that trend has gone in the opposite direction.  We need more first floor models to satisfy the needs of older new home buyers who are not interested in the limited offerings of the Active Adult communities.  Many older home owners want a variety of ages in the communities in which they buy a new home.  Active Adult models are often too small. 

Its a good idea to satisfy the needs of the aging population, but let's not forget the needs of familities with babies.



Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker,, 800-711-7988. 


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Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker,, 800-711-7988.  HELP FOR HOME BUYERS IN LOUDOUN COUNTY VIRGINIA REAL ESTATE. 




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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Brian.  Thanks.  It's been my preferred floor plan for years. 

Sep 28, 2011 03:30 AM #4
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

The People's Choice Award winner at our BIA Parade of Homes this year had all four bedrooms up.  I wondered if that would hurt it in polling among the Parade of Homes attendees but it did not.  I know more than one couple approached the builder about designing a similiar home for them without as much formal living space on the first floor but with a first floor master. The couple who bought the "People's Choice Award" winning house were younger.  Four bedrooms up and a study and formal dining room in addition to lots of informal living space worked for them.  Different strokes for different folks. 

Sep 28, 2011 03:32 AM #5
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Maureen.  I agree completely and my thoughts are all based on the experience of showing a lot of homes to a lot of families for many years.  

A builder who puts his eggs in a first floor master model is going to experience slower sales, unless he has other model homes to tour.

Sep 28, 2011 03:43 AM #6
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Good morning Lenn,

Proves the point that one size (style) does not fit all!

Sep 28, 2011 03:57 AM #7
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Lisa.  HA!  That's for sure.  Fact is, where we live and that in which we live is so important, these details can't be ignored by smart agents, which we both are..

Sep 28, 2011 04:07 AM #8
Jeff Craig
Allen Tate Realtors - Greensboro, NC
Greensboro/Jamestown/Guilford: Realtor/CSP/CNRS

Lenn, in my area master up homes sit on the market forever,  Very few builders even offer them now.

Sep 28, 2011 04:08 AM #9
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

Lenn good post, yes a ground floor bedroom suite fits many buyers, even some with families as an in-law suite when grandma and grandpa come to visit or maybe even stay with the family, we see more homes having double masters one up and one down for exactly the reason you mention that families want to be close to the children.

Sep 28, 2011 05:36 AM #10
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Lenn - A ground floor BR is terrific for many homeowners.  You never know when something might happen.  I'm not old, but last year I had a nasty injury and it was very helpful that my BR was on the ground floor.   However, having the master on the ground floor only works for some segments of the population.  Growing up I lived in a very old split level from the time I was about 5 (I think)  I was a half floor away from my parents. I kind of liked it - it was like having my own suite.

Sep 28, 2011 05:41 AM #11
Paul S. Henderson, REALTORĀ®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

As we get older we all appreciate the master bedroom on the main level however my clients as of late all seem to want all the bedrooms on the same floor, go figure... 

Sep 28, 2011 06:05 AM #12
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


More people (bloomers) prefer master bedrooms on the first so builders have to have floor plans for both master bedrooms on the first floor and second and the buyers in the market will tell you what they prefer.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Sep 28, 2011 08:09 AM #13
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Lenn - The baby boomers will drive the builders for master bedrooms on the first floor.

Sep 28, 2011 09:36 AM #14
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Jeff.  By "master up", do you mean on the main level or second level???

Nick and Trudy.  I've seen some of them too.

Ruthmarie.  That suits families with older children, but not infants.

Paul.  I haven't seen an increase in main level masters here either.  More builder offer them, but it's not a high demand.

Lou.  The buyers know what they want.

Conrad.  Builders here offer it, but still not a high demand product.

Sep 28, 2011 09:45 AM #15
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Interesting.  Yes, there is no "one size fits all."  I have to say, in this area of the country, most homes I visit have all the bedrooms on the same floor.  More often than not, they are on the 2nd floor, but there are also many 3 bedroom homes that are all on the main floor - sometimes on ground level and sometimes 6 steps up.  But, these homes tend to be smaler.

Part of thi may be geography as the property is expensive here, so people build more upwards. 

Sep 28, 2011 12:21 PM #16
Cathy Criado
Criado Realty - San Antonio, TX
Making Real Estate Profitable

Lenn, interesting point. I am preparing a vlog on a home where I will discuss that very thing. In general, it's only a few years where a person really needs to be on the same floor and in that case maybe should live in a smaller home if necessary.  It's so hard to sell all 4 bedrooms up. That being said, a LEED architect commented that it is more eco friendly to go all up.  It all depends on the immediate and long term needs of the buyer.

Sep 28, 2011 12:28 PM #17
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Master on Main is very popular here.  You've done a great post highlighting who it works well for.  We have a guest on main and four upstairs.  This worked well for us with babies and a growing family over 16 years.  Now that they are teenagers, my next home will have a master on main!

It's not for everyone, but a great option for some.

All the best, Michelle

Sep 28, 2011 01:04 PM #18
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Lenn, in Florida, Master on the main floor is more the norm. We call houses with bedrooms on the second floor "northern houses" (meaning anywhere north of Florida).  Your points about size of home in Active Adult communities and small lot size vs. larger footprint are excellent thoughts.


Sep 28, 2011 05:15 PM #19
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Lenn, nice analysis.  One "size" generally does not fit all!

Sep 28, 2011 11:25 PM #20
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

When I inspect homes with first-floor masters, the clients always seem to like them, even those with children.

At this point in my life, I think I would too!

Sep 28, 2011 11:27 PM #21
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
Re/max Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

First floor masters are a rarity in a 2 story home in my marketplace( Chicago area)  Folks seek them, but they are found more in the upper end homes and then still rarely.  Some folks gravitate to the active-adult communities and some end up staying put because first floor master just don't exist in certain price ranges. 

Sep 29, 2011 04:02 AM #22
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Debbie.  It was the cost of single family homes and high land costs for Ramblers that made the Colonial 2 story so popular with builders here.  It's rare to see a one story home in a builders portfolio. 

CAthy.  Indeed and the mail level master solves both problems.

Michelle.  Right you are.  Not for everyone, but when someone wants it, the builder needs to offer it.  I wouldn't think that a builder would build ONLY first floor masters though.

Frank and Sharon.  Thanks.  I preview all our new home builders regularly.  Some offer floor plans for everyone and some have limited portfolios for special needs.

Brian. That is quite correct.

Jay.  Most are going to like they home they're in.  That's just human nature.  When buying new though, I run into folks that want those bedrooms on the second level.

Linda.  That is the case here in the majority of cases.

Sep 29, 2011 05:54 AM #23
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