Elevated or Ground-Level, Which is Better?

Good question! We get that all the time. Some buyers already know which type of property they want, other’s have questions about which is better, elevated or ground level?

Really, the answer depends on your buying situation, health and lifestyle.

Questions To Ask Yourself

Are you buying this as a retirement home that you’ll live in full-time until you can no longer live without assistance? Well, maybe a ground level property would be better for you, as you’ll have no stairs to compete with as you get older.

Do you need a little extra space for storing your beach toys, bikes, golf cart and other collections of “things” you just cannot part with in life? Well, maybe an elevated home will provide a little extra space for this.

There are pluses and minuses to both types of homes on island. We should note that any home that would be built on Sanibel today, would have to be built above base flood elevation. No ground-level home would be approved unless the land in which it’s built is already above base flood elevation.

This has been a regulation of Sanibel’s since the city incorporated in 1974. If you do the math, that means that most ground-level homes you find on the island are older homes, some of which have been fabulously remodelled, others are still in near-original condition.

Before I get too far off on a tangent, here are the pros and cons of elevated vs. ground-level homes that we often explain to potential homebuyers looking on Sanibel.

Ground Level Homes


  • Easy access in and around the home (great for elderly or impaired)
  • Living space opens right out to pool deck and backyard (great for entertaining)


  • Insurance can be very expensive or even hard to obtain
  • The threat of flooding is heightened
  • Not built to current City of Sanibel codes and regulations

Elevated Homes


  • Less trouble with obtaining insurance
  • Built to City of Sanibel codes and regulations
  • Better protection against flood


  • Stairs to climb for elderly or impaired
  • More susceptible to wind damage

Now it’s important to note that some of the cons can be counterbalanced with solutions such as installing an elevator or assuming an insurance policy from a previous homeowner. And also, some pros might come with stipulations such as having “non-conforming” space in a bottom level of an elevated home.

So Which Is Right For You?

Again, each family’s lifestyle and buying situation is different and will determine which type of property is better suited for their needs. We’re happy to help you determine the right home style for your family.

In fact, we find it’s best to walk through at least one or two of each type of properties if you are unsure which is better for you. This way you can feel out the space and make note of additional pros and cons that come to mind as you walk throughout each home.

We hope this helps get you thinking about one of the first considerations when buying a single family home on Sanibel and Captiva. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Susan McCallion About Susan McCallion

Meet "Your Favorite Redhead." Susan was exposed to real estate while young with her parent's 8 Re/MAX offices in Connecticut! In 2008, Susan and Jim became permanent Sanibel residents, starting McCallion & McCallion to bring a fresh approach to real estate.