8 Most Common Types of Houses

by SimpleFinance on April 25, 2012

Shopping for houses means looking through countless of listings on the Internet, in the classifieds, or in MLM listings. Many times these lists don’t come with pictures, so you have to simply imagine how the house looks like through the written description alone.

Most descriptions come with key words such as, a spacious bungalow, a cozy villa, or a practical row house. If you are not familiar with these terms, you might just be thinking about a different type of house entirely.

In order to eliminate the confusion, below are the eight most common types of houses. Before you buy your house check out some things your broker won’t tell you or how to buy a foreclosure!

  1. Bungalow – A bungalow is classically defined as a one-story house, cottage, or cabin. Traditionally, bungalow style houses are associated with small square footage. Though you can also find larger, generally newer bungalows. Bungalows generally do not have basements, and they were originally designed to provide affordable housing to the working class.
  1. Single Detached – A single detached is actually any house that stands on its own, and its four walls are not attached to another house. It is structurally separated from the neighboring houses and is surrounded by open land. Basically, a bungalow, cottage, or even mansion can be termed as a single detached house, as long as it is not connected to any other property through the same wall or tenement.
  1. Duplex – The term itself refers to a two-fold apartment or condominium where there are separate entrances for the dwelling units. Usually a duplex comes in the form of a two story house where a common wall separates the two areas. A duplex can then be extended to make three units or more, and then it would be termed as a “three-plex, four-plex, five-plex” and so on. This is also referred to as a semi-detached home.
  1. Row House – Row houses are modern type of homes that are located in the same area and have the same architectural design and appearance. They are situated side by side, and the units share a common wall. These houses are usually priced less than single detached households in closed subdivisions.
  1. Colonial House – This type of house features designs that are related to the United States colonial period. Several types of colonial houses exist such as the French colonial, Spanish colonial, Dutch Colonial, Georgian and German Colonial. Houses that are built in the colonial style takes their designs from houses, government offices, and churches that were built sometime during the 16th to the 19th century.
  1. Farm House – No particular design is associated with the style “farm house,” but it is a term that describes the main house that is situated on farm land. These houses are more practical than aesthetic, but they are often well equipped in terms of insulation and food storage.
  1. Villa – A villa was once used to refer to as the upper class country homes of ancient Romans. Today, the term villa has evolved to refer to a beautiful, tasteful, upper class country home. The term villa can refer to the houses of the elite, and properties with the description of villas are usually larger homes with landscaped gardens and perhaps a view of the sea or the countryside.
  1. Mansion – A mansion is the word used to describe a very large house. In the US, real estate brokers define mansions as houses with an area of 8,000 square feet or 740 square meters or more. Traditionally, mansions are characterized by having a large ballroom and numerous bedrooms. Today, however, there is no particular requirement as to what makes a mansion, aside from the fact that it should be a large and well endowed home.

These are only some of the most common types of houses that can usually be found in real estate listings. Some of the many other types of houses include end of terrace, colonial houses, chattel houses, deck houses, log cabins, gambrels, and more.

However, many of these terms are not as popular or as common as they once were (like castles for example). Whatever the purpose may be, learning about different types of houses gives us insight into different architectural viewpoints. It also helps us decide which type of house would be most suitable for our personal use.

Which type of house would you like the best?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

valleycat1 May 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

I was expecting something more in the line of deciphering the real estate ad-speak – fixer-upper, great rental/investment/for the first time buyer, turn-key, cute, quaint, darling, what the difference between “new” and “newer” is (which in my experience has been that ‘newer’ actually means ‘new-ish’ or ‘replaced within the last 5 years). And in some areas manufactured homes are quite prevalent.


Wendie Steppler September 5, 2012 at 10:03 am

Hi valleycat1,
Realtors will use the term fixer-upper for properties which would usually require some amount of renos.
Rental/investment/1st time buyer homes are properties that are generally on the smaller side, (and therefore lower price range) and often sought out by small families, or buyers wishing to rent them out (ie to students)to supplement their income.
Turn-key usually means that the home is in acceptable condition, and all you need to do is open the door, and move in.
Cute/quaint/darling are all subjective terms. (One person’s ‘cute’ may not be the next person’s idea of cute).
As far as new and newer goes, this is also a little subjective, but the general rule is that ‘new’ means never used. Therefore, a ‘newer’ roof, windows etc. can be less than a year old. (A new home is one that has never been lived in).

Wendie Steppler


Olayiwola O. Samuel August 23, 2012 at 8:28 am

A Duplex is okay for now.


virat September 23, 2012 at 9:46 am

Mansion,row house


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