The multi level (sometimes called a bi-level) is a wonderful, deliberate house style that modern architects created to group similar living activities, such as sleeping or entertaining, separating the quiet activities from the more boisterous ones.
Legend has it that there were lots of unemployed Architects during the Great Depression and the Works Progress Administration hired loads of them to design a truly “American” style of home and this is what they came up with.
There are generally three or more levels in multi’s and looking at the front of a a typical specimen, it looks to have a line drawn down the middle with a one story home on one side attached to a two story home on the other. You always enter a multi on the entertaining level and once inside if you travel half-way into the depth of the home you will find a set of integrated up an down stairways (usually containing 6 stairs) that take you half a level up or down to the rest of the house. The lowest level(s) of these homes are devoted to a garage, mechanical, laundry and family rooms; the middle level, which is usually part of the one story section, supports quieter activities and usually contains the kitchen, living and dining rooms; and the topmost level(s), usually in the two story section, support the quietest activities and contain the bedrooms, offices or studies.
In Metrowest, multi level homes generally sell very well. Many have updated kitchens and baths and they are usually sited on mid-sized to larger parcels of land in mature, established neighborhoods. In my opinion there is no good looking/functional way to expand a multi, and I find that most people, when they need more space just sell and move-up to a different house style. Because of that, multi’s make good first houses for small families and are usually found in abundance in the entry-level price points for their respective towns/locations.