Residential Property: Types of Homes

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may be compensated if you click a link. There is absolutely no cost to you for clicking links. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, please see my privacy page.

There are many types of homes to consider when buying a place to live. It all depends on your budget, where you live, what kind of housing stock is available and, frankly, what the real estate market looks like when you start searching for a residential property.

Speaking of which, given the current real estate market, purchasing a home will look different for everybody. Simple factors such as affordability, location and family size play a big role in this decision.

]The median price for an existing home was $375,300 in March, up 15% from last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. At the same time the Federal Reserve keeps raising interest rates.

For example, we bought a new home in Maine in 2020. Our interest rate was about 3%. Two years later we decided to invest in a beach cottage. By that time we were looking at 6% mortgage rates–and that was considered a bargain.

Despite overall home sales being on the decline, new home buyers are still looking for a residential property to live in. They were responsible for 30% of home sales in March.

Residential Property: Types of Homes

From co-ops to condos and even single-family homes, there are many residential property options for buyers to consider.

Real estate platform ZeroDown compiled a list of six types of homes, using information from industry groups, government agencies, and real estate news outlets. Those six types of homes are:

  • Condominium
  • Co-op or cooperative
  • Mobile home
  • Multi-family home
  • Single-family home
  • Townhouse

Hopefully, among this list of home types you’ll find something that makes sense for your future property purchase.

You may find this house hunting checklist helpful during your search.

Type of residential property: Mobile home

A mobile home, also referred to as a manufactured home or “trailer,” is built in a factory and fixed to a permanent chassis with wheels. These homes can be installed in either temporary or permanent locations.

Most of the manufactured homes I know, though, are pretty permanent. Once they’re dropped on a foundation or slab, they aren’t going anywhere.

For some families with a small budget, a mobile home can be a good option. Just make sure you research the covenants attached to it.

For example, in some communities, you may own the mobile home but you don’t own the land it sits on. This is not ideal.

Types of Homes: Co-op

Co-op is short cooperative housing. It is an option in which buyers do not own their units outright.

Instead, every resident is a shareholder in the individual co-op.

Since they operate on an at-cost basis, they are more affordable than an apartment. This is especially true in expensive metropolitan areas like New York City. Co-ops tend to be priced much lower than condominium homes.

On the one hand, given the structure of co-ops, you’ll often have to put down significantly more on your home purchase than a traditional home. For example, when buying a house, it is standard to get a mortgage for 80% of the purchase price. Therefore, you’ve “put down” 20%.

On the other hand, some co-ops require 90% down. Yes, this leaves you with a much smaller mortgage, but you have to have pretty deep pockets to come up with 90% of a home purchase.

Type of residential property: Condominium

A condominium, or condo, is a larger sized complex consisting of multiple singular units. Every unit is individually owned.

These are not to be confused with an apartment that one would rent. However, it is possible to rent your condo to someone, assuming the homeowner’s association or bylaws allow for that.

When considering whether a condo is a good fit, it’s important to note that anything beyond the condo is shared community space. This includes stairwells, sidewalks and any exterior area.

This shared community space thing is both a blessing and a curse.

For example, because owners typically make monthly payments for general upkeep of the property, this means that someone else is responsible for mowing the lawn in summer and shoveling the sidewalks in the winter. That’s definitely a blessing.

However, there is also the curse. For instance, if you own dogs and want to put up a fence for them, you may not have the right to do that. Also, you are responsible for maintenance and repairs inside your four walls.

Type of residential property: Multi-family home

Not to be confused with single-family homes, multif-amily homes are buildings with more than one living space on the property. A common example of a multi-family home would be an apartment complex, due to the fact that it houses multiple residents at once.

These properties are commonly scouted out by investors intending to rent out individual units for families. Although these properties are generally a larger investment than your typical home, they allow for substantial monetary gain. This allows for easier financing and perhaps a much quicker return on investment.

Type of homes: Single-family house

A single-family house is one of the most common options for homeownership. As the name implies, single-family homes are properties designated for a single family and commonly include a larger portion of land than townhomes.

There are no shared spaces or common areas between owners, as the property is privately owned. However, it is possible to buy a single-family house in a planned community with a homeowner’s association. So, there could be rules and regulations you need to follow, such as what color you can paint your home.

Also, a single-family home in a planned community brings with it other benefits of an HOA you might have with a condo or townhome. And that would be it is the HOA’s responsibility to maintain common areas.

Types of homes: Townhouse

Somewhat similar to the condominium is a townhouse. They are also individually owned, but are instead multilevel and typically offer a private yard as well.

Also, you can think of a townhome as a way to describe a condominium–the layout, it being multi-level, etc. However, not all condos are townhouses. Make sense?

Buyers will obtain ownership of the land in which the townhome is situated, even if it’s smaller than the average backyard. Townhouse communities typically have homeowner associations, or HOAs, that can require monthly payments to maintain a beautified surrounding environment.

Also, like condos, this HOA will take care of regular maintenance outside of the building–plowing roads, mowing lawns, etc. However, everything inside the unit you own is your responsibility.

This story originally appeared on ZeroDown and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio and has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

Leave a Comment