Types of Homes

The term real estate applies to large variety of dwellings. A dwelling is any structure serving as a residence. There are several types of homes, including single-family housing, multifamily housing, modular or prefabricated homes, manufactured or mobile homes, apartments, microhouses or minihouses, condos (condominiums), and cooperatives (Co-ops).

Single-family housing is a structure for housing one family or some other group of individuals. Usually it has a joint common room, but heating and plumbing systems and entrances are separated.

Multifamily housing includes detached houses, townhouses and row houses. A detached house has separate walls and is surrounded by the real estate’s land. A townhouse shares side walls (party walls) with other units, sometimes common areas as well, and has several floors. A row house also has party walls and usually a backyard as well. Row houses may be duplexes – which have two residential units with joint roof and a side -, triplexes and quadruplexes.

Modular or prefabricated homes are similar to single-family homes. The main difference is that they are much cheaper than the latter, since all units are assembled at a factory. Owners of modular homes are owners of the land as well and are treated like owners of conventional homes.

Like modular homes, manufactured or mobile homes are also built at a factory, and are installed on a mobile home park. The land is often rented or leased from the park owner. Due to that fact, mobile homes are even cheaper than modular homes.

Apartments have shared entrances and hallways and a single exterior. An apartment often occupies entire floor and is a part of an apartment building, usually seen in large cities. Apartments may be rented or sold separately, and in most cases they aren’t associated with land at all.

Condos or condominiums are similar to apartments: they have same structure and are usually rented. Also, individual dwellings are owned by individuals, like with apartments. Indeed, a form of condo ownership results from condominium conversion of apartments. Condos are cheaper than single-family houses and, in most cases, there is no maintenance, since outside contractors are in charge of that.

Cooperatives (Co-Ops) have architecture similar to that of condos, but are owned by corporations. Ownership is granted by purchasing corporation’s shares, whereby the owner acquires proprietary lease.