Rambler or Ranch Homes in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

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

Rambler or Ranch Homes in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

New Rambler Sold in Manassas Virginia in 2013.  The builder did a significant amount of customizing.

These buyers knew exactly what they wanted to buy.  A RAMBLER (Ranch) home anywhere in the Northern Virginia area including Loudoun County, Prince William county, Stafford County, Spottsylvania County.  We looked at everything and they were very impressed with the 1 acre lot size and PUBLIC WATER AND SEWER in this community just a couple of miles south of the town of Manassas.  Final price, about $650,000.  Customized features include a 3 car garage, screened porch in the back and finished basement.  My buyers knew what they wanted and the builder accomodated them. 

We agents are indeed fortunate to serve home buyers who are fully qualified and know what they want.

HISTORY OF THE ONE LEVEL HOME IN MD AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA.  The market for Rambler or Rancher homes is controlled by several factors.

LOT SIZE:  The footprint of the foundation for the one level home is necessarily larger than the two story home. 

ZONING:  There will be few Ramblers, Ranchers in urban communities of 1/6, 1/5 acre lot sizes.  Moving farther out from the towns and cities with small lots, to accomodate the footprint, county required set-backs and garage turnaround areas for the popular side-loan garages is going to require lot sizes of 1/3 to 1/2 acres at a minimum. 

LOT COSTS:  Everything begins with the land.  Developers and Builders want to maximize the return on their investment for new construction.  This usually requires that the lots be subdivided into lots that may not accomodate the foot print of Rancher, Ramblers homes.

OLDER COMMUNITIES:  In Maryland and Northern Virginia suburban communities, Ramblers will be found in older communities when land costs were less than today and lots were subdivided for 1/2 acre to 1 acre lots.  Looking at the 40-60 year old Rambler, Rancher homes today, we can easily see that they simply couldn't be built today on the urban 1/5 - 1/6 lots to an acre.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION:  A prospective home buyer client who is only considering one level homes may not understand that, of their home search is limited to the Ranch, Rambler homes, lot sizes and zoning may limit their selections to certain areas.  When a home buyer says that they want a one level home no more than 5 years old with a garage, they just may be paying a premium for their home. 

ONE MORE THING:  Building a second level on a home is far less expensive than having everything on one level. 

AGENTS WHO KNOW THEIR MARKET AREAS will benifit by knowing the market for Ramblers, Ranchers.

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988, serving home buyers in Maryland and Northern Virginia.


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

George.  Actually, I don't expect consumers to understand these things until they are looking.

I waste NO TIME explaining why that rambler they want is going to be priced higher than the colonial down the street.

The matter of Ramblers is serious.  Many older, or handicapped folks need a one level home.  Then the problem comes in when the laundry is in the basement.

Oh well.


Jan 18, 2014 07:53 AM #4
Jack O'Neal
Conway Real Estate - Gilbert, AZ

Nice post Lenn!  The house in the pic is beautiful! Zoning and lot sizes are important points that many buyers don't understand when they are trying to find their dream house.  Bigger lots=bigger price tag!

Jan 18, 2014 09:46 AM #5
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

One level homes are very popular.  In my neck of the woods, it can be difficult to find in some towns.

Jan 18, 2014 10:45 AM #6
Lee Bothast
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - South Pasadena, CA
2nd Generation Pasadena Area Realtor

Interesting perspectives from different areas of the country! Thanks for posting. In our area, using the word "ranch" in ones marketing language will cut the buyer pool down significantly. Glad to know that such language bias is not an issue everywhere!

Jan 18, 2014 12:18 PM #7
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Those homes seem very Zen. :) Love and light, Laura
Jan 18, 2014 01:17 PM #8
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Lenn-Until I started ActiveRain I thought a Rambler was a make of long ago discontinued auto. But now I know it's the same as ranch down here in the southwest.  So now when I run into people relocating from the NE I can make the translation. 

Jan 18, 2014 01:43 PM #9
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Buyers..especially first timers "assume" ranch homes are less expensive...for some reason...taller looks more expensive...as you point out, it is not.

Jan 18, 2014 06:35 PM #10
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Sally and David.  Fact is, they cost more per square feet to build and cost more for the home buyer.

Wayne.  Thanks.  We have folks from all over and I'm used to different terms.

Laura.  I don't know what that means.

Lee.  Here, I use both terms since they are interchangeable and appeal to different folks from different areas.

Joan.  I suspect you're in an area of traditional styled 2 story homes, Colonials or Capes.

Jack.  Look how helpful we can be when we explain the different terms to consumers.

Jan 18, 2014 08:45 PM #11
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

Most homes here are one story although ore two story ones are being built for the reasons you identify.

Jan 18, 2014 08:49 PM #12
Lynn Ashley-Rohovit
Suwanee, GA
Suwanee, Johns Creek, Rivermoore Park Realtor

Great Post.  I represent a Builder in North Atlanta and we have definitely identified a niche for the active adult here in Atlanta.  Many people want to "downsize" but do not want to give up the amenities in the home.  In fact many times they want to upgrade interior finishes.  There is a very limited supply of "ranches", the Atlanta version of the "rambler" because of the return on investment for the Developer.  In turn it is hard for Builders to find developed homesites to accomodate this product.  

Jan 18, 2014 09:43 PM #13
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Gary.  That's consistent with Florida real estate.  Miles and miles of one level homes.  Of course, it makes perfect sense in hurricane areas.  I'm sure that builders would LOVE to go up and build on smaller lots.  Actually, following hurricane Andrew, the building codes have made those ramblers safer. 

#13.  I understand the builders' conundrum.  Smaller lot sizes often take a zoning change or "exceptions" to current zoning.  Sooner or later, they'll bend to consumer wishes or the consumer will continue to buy resales. 

Jan 18, 2014 10:02 PM #14
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Lenn, I think set-backs are the biggest problem in my area. The lots are getting smaller and just won't accommodate a ranch style home.

Jan 18, 2014 10:10 PM #15
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Michael.  Indeed.  That's a fact in all areas with a degree of density. 

Counties enforce those set-backs.  Further, rezoning would be required to change them and that might mean going to Zs or something else. 

Rezoning is VERY costly.

Jan 18, 2014 10:16 PM #16
Rafi Footerman
Mid Jersey Inspections - Edison, NJ
Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More!

That's interesting.  I read Rambler and thought of the car my grandma drove.  In this area, it's never used for a house.  THis reinforces the need to know your area and understand the out of town buyers.

Jan 18, 2014 10:58 PM #17
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Rafi.  You bet.  Smart advice.

Jan 18, 2014 11:24 PM #18
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

The area and product is well known and looked over by this posting hostess

Jan 18, 2014 11:27 PM #19
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

We live in a 1960's ranch style neighborhood in Oklahoma City. The lots are typically 150x150 and 90% of the homes are single story. The structural walls are typically outside so there is an easier time opening them up and raising the ceilings. The fronts are varied, there are tons of trees that have grown tall, and the neighborhood is flying with wealthy and older two story home owners moving in, younger people that are bored with Dallas style everything looks the same neighborhoods, and those who love to remodel who are buying out of estates from original owners. Ther people here are cohesive and friendly because as a group there is love for the style, and also for an era many thought was over. 

Jan 18, 2014 11:29 PM #20
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Richie.  Indeed.  Thanks for noticing.

Joe.  IMO, the Rambler will never be out of style.  How many Americans have knee replacement????

Jan 18, 2014 11:35 PM #21
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Lenn, single story homes are very popular in my market as well and usually cost more per square foot than a two-story. Thanks for the education on Rambler homes in Maryland and North Virginia. Congratulations on the sale! Looks like a gorgeous home.

Jan 19, 2014 04:38 AM #22
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Pamela.  Ramblers are always going to cost more per square feet.  The cost of the foundation and roof add quite a lot.  Then there's the lot.

Jan 19, 2014 05:05 AM #23
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