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Find Out Which Type of Home Is Right for You

Updated on October 17, 2018
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Linda is a seasoned writer and bedroom authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.


If you're an average American you will live in a house for seven years before moving on to the next one. You better be satisfied with your choice or you might find yourself packing up every few years as your situation changes. Before you start the house-hunting process become familiar with the various home types available to you. This way you'll be happy with your dream home for many years to come.

When looking for the perfect home type consider a number of different issues. Do you want to maintain a yard and pool? Is this your first house? Do you like renovation projects? Are you longing for quiet and privacy? Is you family expanding? Do you have a limited budget? Are you an empty nester? Each one of these questions will play into the type of house you ultimately choose.

Fortunately, builders have taken these questions into consideration and have designed a variety of different homes types to suit almost everyone. Just be aware of the differences and how they meet your needs for now and in the future.


A single-family home is one that is not attached to another structure and is constructed on a separate lot. They are available in single level, two- and three-story versions. They range from brand new construction to historic structures and come in a wide variety of architectural styles.

You can choose a single family home of any size from a modest starter home to a sprawling estate. The larger versions feature multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, expansive living areas and spacious yards which are perfect for growing families.

On the other end of the spectrum these homes consist of a single-level with one or two bedrooms and a small, low maintenance yard. Many of these types are available in age-restricted communities specifically designed for seniors.

Single-family homes range from large two-story to modest single story construction.
Single-family homes range from large two-story to modest single story construction. | Source


Semi-detached duplex or tri-plex configurations are more difficult to find but do exist in most regions of the US. The term duplex refers to a pair of connected houses that are basically mirror images of one another. While extremely popular in British Commonwealth countries duplexes have gained favor here in the States.

Duplexes occupy a single lot that can be divided by a fence or wall and share one common interior wall. They can be single level or two-story. Duplexes make great starter homes or a budget-friendly option for empty nesters on a fixed income.

Semi-detached homes are commonly referred to as duplexes.
Semi-detached homes are commonly referred to as duplexes. | Source


Condominiums (or condos) are individually owned attached units. They are configured much like apartment complexes or high rise structures. Condos offer common amenities like green spaces, a pool, spa and fitness center. A typical condo building and its residents are governed by Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) set forth by the Homeowners’ Association (HOA).

The association collects monthly fees from owners to cover maintenance and improvements for the entire property. The association also has rules and regulations which residents must agree to follow. HOAs are also typical in other types of housing developments such as gated developments.

Condos are particularly attractive as vacation homes, for young professionals, seniors or anyone craving a low-maintenance lifestyle. However, if you’re not crazy about being physically close to your neighbors you probably won’t enjoy condo life.

Condos can be high rise buildings, industrial lofts or converted apartment complexes.
Condos can be high rise buildings, industrial lofts or converted apartment complexes. | Source


Townhouses are something like a cross between condos and duplexes. They are typically multi-story units attached to multiple units on either side. In many cases they resemble row houses. The good news means occupants don't have to contend with upstairs or downstairs neighbors. They're a good mix of privacy and low maintenance.

Townhouse owners might have a small yard, an attached garage and a community pool. HOA dues can cover the cost of exterior maintenance such as common landscaping, paint and roof repairs, which can vary from one community to another. Townhouses also have CC&Rs in order to maintain and enhance property values among the community.

A row of cheerful townhomes.
A row of cheerful townhomes. | Source

Manufactured or Modular

A manufactured home, or mobile home, is assembled off-site in a factory. They are transported by truck to a home site on wheels. Once at the location the wheels are removed and the home is secured in place on a pad or block foundation.

Manufactured homes come in various sizes and styles. Some consist of two separate components (double-wide) that are joined on site. Manufactured homes are much less expensive than traditional homes and are extremely popular among retirees. In most cases, the homeowner does not own the land. The mobile home park charges a monthly lot rent to occupy the space.

Modular homes are constructed in sections in a factory. The large components, or modules are transported to the home site and assembled on the foundation. Many of today's modular homes are made of eco-friendly, sustainable materials and adhere to strict energy efficiency standards.

Labor and material costs for modular homes are much less than traditional construction but cost more than manufactured homes. Although once final assembly is completed the house is considered a permanent residence and cannot be moved to another location unlike mobile homes.

A typical housing development for manufactured homes.
A typical housing development for manufactured homes. | Source
Modular home sections being assembled on-site.
Modular home sections being assembled on-site. | Source


A relative newcomer on the home scene, tiny homes are perfect for those wishing to downsize and simplify their lives. Most tiny homes have a footprint of 500 square feet or less. They are great for seniors living on a fixed income or young first-time homebuyers who don't want to be saddled with a mortgage.

You can find pre-made tiny homes or builders that will follow your specifications. Prices range from $10,000 and up depending on size and features. Choose an off-grid model to reduce your carbon footprint. Solar panels, water collection tanks and composting toilets will avoid costly utility bills. Tiny homes can be built on-site or on a trailer to transport your home wherever you decide to live.

Tiny homes come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Tiny homes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. | Source

Weigh In!

Which type of home do you live in?

See results

© 2012 Linda Chechar


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