David Saks: The Split-Level House : Up, Down and Sideways

David Saks - Real Estate Broker - The Real Estate Mart of Tennessee, Inc. - 4040 North Watkins-Suite #4 - Memphis, Tennessee 38127 - Phone (901) 357-4663

The Split-Level House : Up, Down and Sideways


What in the heck is a split-level house ?

Well, these unique homes are basically constructed in such a manner so that they have several levels that are floundered in such a way so that each level is separated from the next level by a smal flight of stairs.

These homes can normally have three or four levels that are arranged in such a manner.


Usually the bathrooms and bedrooms end up in the top level of the split level house.

Just below the top of the home is a living room, the kitchen, the dining room and the main entrance to the house.

Then, just about as far as a slinky can crawl down another flight of stairs, is a place for everybody to party like a den, playroom or somekind of recreational area along with a garage or mother-in-law room on the lower third level.

This type of home was extremely popular about the time President Kennedy was fighting with Castro, maybe because the lower level gave the average American family a feeling of protection from a nuclear bomb, like a fallout shelter.

Do you see this type of architecture as convenient for today's new homebuyer or is it a thing of the past?

David Saks

Time&Temp Memphis

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Comment balloon 10 commentsDavid Saks • June 14 2008 09:30PM


NOT a hot seller here ... families don't like having the bedroom divided the newer style split levels have the mater on the main and extra bedrooms below, Not good for family's with younger children

Posted by Eric Reid (Renaissance Realty Group of Keller Williams Atlanta Partners) over 11 years ago

It is a thing of the past.  It is more difficult to sell a split level in this area than to sell a two story with all bedrooms upstairs.  Southern people don't like those steps and in split levels, you climb steps all the time.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago


Some of the newer style "disguised" split levels can still sell, but most are advertised as ranch style homes t encourage buyers.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 11 years ago

David:  I remember that my family had a split level house when I was in elementary school in Birmingham, AL, in the '60s.  In that house, all 3 bedrooms were on the top floor, the front entry foyer, kitchen, living room, and dining room were on the middle level, and there was a den and half bath with an exterior door to the garage and back yard on the bottom level.  I like it because the den was large, but you don't see many floor plans like that anymore.

Posted by Jan Evett, Broker Associate, 20 years+ in real estate (The Premier Property Group LLC) over 11 years ago

The stairs would prove to be an obstacle, if not a hazard, for infants, Eric. Great observation and thanks for your comment. Hope your having a fine weekend.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 11 years ago

Side splits seem to appeal more than the entry split-the ones you enter from front door and the main level has a living room and kitchen. However, the entry split foyer homes are built often here and sell. Instead of having a cavernous basement like a ranch home offers (without the walkout) you have the lovely daylight windows. These layouts are much more tolerable if there is a generous platform where you can enter and take your things off easily and not be cramped doing it.

Posted by Janet Van Nuys, Rapid City, SD over 11 years ago

Good thoughts, Barbara. That family room below sure is a neat thing for many, though three flights of stairs might prove to be a bit much, like you suggest.. Great to hear from you.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 11 years ago

Redefining style is a great concept when marketing the home today, Richard, and that's an excellent thing to consider. Sign of the times. It's great to hear from you and I hope your having a fine weekend.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 11 years ago

That big den sold the split level, Jan. The lower level was usually the entire length and width of the house, full of open space for family gatherings or those Saturday Nights for the kids slumber parties and Shock Theater marathons back in the 60's. Great to hear from you.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 11 years ago

The entry-split balances the order a little better for some buyers, Janet. Good thoughts about the difference. It's always great to hear from you.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 11 years ago

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