Types of Houses: 14 Property Types & Architectural Styles

Are you curious about all types of houses available to you? Learn about common property types and architectural styles.

Types of Houses: 14 Property Types & Architectural Styles Close
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Types of Houses: 14 Property Types & Architectural Styles

Posted by Gary Ashton on Monday, June 17th, 2024 at 3:32pm.

What Are the Types of Houses?

As you navigate the realm of housing options, understanding the diverse array of dwelling types available can be crucial in making an informed decision on your next living space. From the traditional charm of single-family homes to the modern convenience of townhomes and the communal aspects of condominiums, each offers a unique set of benefits. But what about the characteristics of cottage-style homes or the vast number of architectural styles found in residential construction? Stay tuned to unravel the intricacies of various house types and discover which best aligns with your lifestyle and preferences.

Home Styles Highlights

  • Single-family homes offer privacy and independence.
  • Condominiums allow ownership within a larger complex.
  • Ranch-style homes have a single-story layout.
  • Apartments are rental units in larger buildings.
  • Craftsman Bungalows emphasize quality craftsmanship.

Common Property Types

From single-family homes offering privacy to townhouses balancing community and solitude, each type has unique characteristics to consider. Condominiums and apartments also present distinct living arrangements worth understanding in your search for the perfect home, but you’ll need to understand homeowners’ associations and what comes with them. 

Let's explore the common property types that you might encounter in the housing market.

What Is a Single-Family Home?

Single-family homes are standalone residential structures designed to accommodate one family, offering privacy and independence. In the United States, they are the most common type of housing. In terms of real estate in Davidson County, TN, which centers around the Nashville area, approximately 60% of homes are single-family, and that percentage is low for the state.

These homes typically feature a private yard and driveway and no shared walls with neighboring properties, distinguishing them from multi-family or attached housing units.

Single-family homes are sought after for their sense of ownership and the freedom they provide for personalization. Their architecture can vary widely, from traditional styles like the Colonial Revival house to more modern designs.

What Is a Townhome?

Townhomes are multi-story attached dwellings that share walls with neighboring units, offering a unique blend of privacy and community living. These properties are part of a larger complex where each unit is individually owned, providing residents with a sense of ownership while still enjoying shared amenities like green spaces, pools, or community centers.

Townhomes have a compact footprint, making them ideal for those seeking a balance between a single-family home's privacy and a condo's convenience. Their design can range from traditional to modern, catering to different preferences and lifestyles. Whether you prefer a classic architectural style or a more contemporary look, townhomes offer various options to suit your taste.

What Is a Condo?

What is a Condo?

Condominiums, commonly called condos, are a popular type of housing where individuals own their units within a larger complex or building. Depending on the community, condo residents benefit from shared spaces like lobbies and hallways and amenities such as swimming pools or fitness centers.

Condo owners pay monthly fees managed by a homeowners association (HOA) to maintain these shared areas. This arrangement ensures the consistent upkeep of common spaces, but understanding HOAs is one of the most important things you should know before buying a condo.

One key advantage of living in a condo is its low-maintenance lifestyle. The HOA typically covers exterior maintenance and landscaping duties, freeing residents from these responsibilities.

Condos are particularly favored in urban areas for their convenience, shared amenities, and the potential for community living. So, if you value a hassle-free living experience with access to communal facilities and a sense of community, a condo might be the perfect housing choice for you.

What Is a Manufactured Home?

Manufactured homes, or mobile homes, are prefabricated structures built in a factory and then transported to a site for installation. They are constructed on a steel chassis, making them easier to move than traditional homes. Regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), manufactured homes adhere to safety and quality standards to ensure the well-being of residents.

They provide an affordable housing option with various sizes, layouts, and designs to suit different preferences and needs. While they may resemble modular or prefabricated homes, manufactured homes have distinct construction methods and regulatory oversight.

If you're looking for a cost-effective housing solution that meets stringent safety and quality criteria, a manufactured home could be a suitable choice for you.

What Is an Apartment?

Within the realm of common property types, an apartment refers to a rental unit situated within a larger building or complex. Apartments typically provide shared amenities such as a pool or fitness center. They can vary greatly in size and layout, from cozy studios to spacious multi-bedroom units with distinct living areas.

Confusion surrounding the difference between an apartment and a condo is common, but it all comes down to renting vs. owning; apartments are rented, while condos are typically owned. Popular in urban areas, apartments offer convenience, as they're often located near amenities and services, fostering a sense of community living among residents. Living in an apartment often comes with added benefits, such as maintenance services to take care of repairs and security measures to ensure the safety of residents.

Different types of apartments, including loft apartments, garden apartments, and penthouse apartments, cater to various preferences and lifestyles, each offering unique features and styles. Embracing apartment living can provide a blend of comfort, convenience, and a vibrant community atmosphere for those seeking a dynamic housing option.

Popular Home Architecture Styles

Let's explore popular home architecture styles like Antebellum, Victorian, Bungalow, Ranch, and Cape Cod. Each style brings its own unique charm and characteristics to the world of residential architecture.

From the ornate details of Victorian homes to the cozy simplicity of Cape Cod cottages, a style suits every taste and preference.


Before the Civil War, popular home architecture styles included grand and symmetrical Antebellum designs that showcased wealth and status in the Southern United States. Antebellum homes are known for their grandeur, often characterized by large columns, expansive porches, and symmetrical layouts.

While not particularly common, you’ll typically find that Antebellum homes are among certain southern communities’ homes with acreage. These architectural marvels were prevalent in the pre-Civil War era, offering a glimpse into the opulence of the time. Incorporating elements of the Greek Revival style, such as pediments and pilasters, Antebellum houses exude elegance and sophistication.

Plantation houses, reminiscent of those depicted in movies like 'Gone with the Wind,' are a prime example of Antebellum architecture. These homes stand as a testament to the historical architectural landscape of the Southern United States, reflecting the lifestyle and aesthetic preferences of the era.


What Do Victorian Homes Look Like?

With their elaborate detailing and ornate trim, Victorian homes are renowned for their distinctive architectural style. These houses boast asymmetrical shapes, steeply pitched roofs, and a plethora of decorative elements such as turrets, towers, and gingerbread trim. Popular in the mid to late 19th century, Victorian architecture can be spotted across the United States, showcasing influences from Gothic, Italianate, and Queen Anne styles.

Among the common types of Victorian homes are the Queen Anne, Second Empire, and Stick Style. Vibrant colors, irregular floor plans, and intricate spindlework characterize the Queen Anne style. Second Empire homes typically feature mansard roofs and dormer windows, adding a touch of grandeur. Stick-style houses exhibit decorative wooden trusses and exposed structural elements, emphasizing a rustic charm.

In essence, Victorian architecture represents a blend of various influences, resulting in homes that exude ornate beauty and unique character.


Bungalows offer a simpler and more functional design aesthetic with their one-story layout and emphasis on open spaces. Originating in California during the early 20th century, bungalows are characterized by their low-pitched roofs, wide verandas, and horizontal layouts. These homes became popular in the United States for their affordability and seamless integration with nature.

Craftsman bungalows, a subtype of bungalows, are well-known for their handcrafted details, use of natural materials, and strong connection to the outdoors. Reflecting the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, bungalows emphasize quality craftsmanship, simplicity, and the utilization of local resources.

The open floor plans and exposed rafters common in bungalows contribute to a sense of spaciousness and comfort, making them a beloved architectural style for many homeowners seeking a harmonious blend of form and function.

Cape Cod-Style

Cape Cod-style homes, with their simple rectangular shape and steeply pitched roofs, have a longstanding history dating back to the early 18th century in New England. These homes are characterized by cedar shingle siding, symmetrical facades, and a central front door flanked by multi-paned windows.

The design of Cape Cod–style homes emphasizes practicality and resilience. They are built to withstand the harsh weather conditions of New England. Inside, you'll find cozy spaces with compact layouts, often centered around a fireplace. The interior design typically features minimalistic yet functional elements, ensuring a comfortable living experience.

Despite evolving to cater to modern preferences, Cape Cod-style homes have retained their traditional charm and historical significance throughout the centuries. Whether it's the classic exterior or the thoughtfully designed interior layouts, Cape Cod homes continue to be a beloved architectural style for many.

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century modern homes, characterized by clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic, emerged in the mid-20th century as a popular architectural style influenced by post-war optimism and a focus on functionality and simplicity. These homes are designed with open floor plans and large windows that seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing natural light to flood the interiors.

Incorporating natural materials such as wood and stone, Mid-Century Modern homes often feature elements of Scandinavian design, emphasizing a connection to nature. Architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, and Charles Eames played significant roles in popularizing this style, which is known for its geometric shapes and asymmetrical forms.

Mid-Century Modern homes and Contemporary homes are often grouped together for the design aesthetics they incorporate. The minimalist aesthetic of Mid-Century Modern homes prioritizes clean, uncluttered spaces that exude a sense of calm and harmony. If you appreciate the blend of functionality, simplicity, and a harmonious relationship with nature, a Mid-Century Modern home might be your perfect architectural style.

Ranch Style

What Do Split-Level Homes Look Like?

Originating in California in the 1930s, ranch-style homes are characterized by their single-story construction, long and horizontal profile, and low-sloping roofs. These homes often boast an open-concept floor plan accentuated by large windows that flood the interiors with natural light.

The design of ranch-style homes aims to create a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. This is typically achieved through sliding doors that lead to a patio or backyard, blending the boundaries between inside and outside living areas.

The architectural style can be an umbrella term for other styles, including bungalow, and a broad price range—from affordable to expensive. Ranch-style homes in Brentwood, TN, for example, can be priced from the $500s to more than $2.5 million! The popularity of ranch-style homes spread rapidly across the United States due to their simple yet functional design, which caters to a wide range of preferences and lifestyles.


Split-level homes, characterized by staggered levels and distinct living spaces, offer a unique architectural style that sets them apart from traditional house designs. With their asymmetrical design and practical layout, split-level homes provide homeowners separate areas for various activities.

The short staircases in these homes lead to additional living areas, such as family rooms or recreation spaces, often found on a lower level, partially below the ground. This layout is particularly popular in regions like the Midwest, Northeast, and West, where families appreciate the separation between living spaces.

One of the defining features of split-level homes is their unique exterior appearance, showcasing varying roof lines and entryways that add to their charm. By maximizing space utilization and offering practical living arrangements, split-level homes cater to modern families seeking both functionality and style.

Cottage Style

Cottage-style homes are renowned for their quaint charm and inviting atmosphere. With their modest and cozy architecture, these English-inspired dwellings often feature small windows and a compact layout, creating a sense of intimacy and warmth.

Cottage-style homes exude a timeless appeal with their overgrown ivy-clad walls and charming hedges. The simplicity of cottage architecture enhances the cozy atmosphere, making it a popular choice for those seeking a comfortable and welcoming living space.

Whether in rural countryside or suburban neighborhoods, cottage-style homes offer a unique blend of old-world charm and modern comfort. Evoking a sense of simplicity and warmth for many homeowners, these homes provide a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

If you appreciate the beauty of a snug and inviting abode, a cottage-style home might be the perfect sanctuary for you.


Contemporary architecture showcases clean lines, open spaces, and the use of modern materials like glass and steel. Modern homes with contemporary architecture are often built with sustainable construction principles and feature minimalist designs and open floor plans.

Popular in urban areas, these houses boast innovative designs that integrate indoor and outdoor spaces seamlessly. One of the key aspects of contemporary architecture is the emphasis on natural light, achieved through large windows and strategic placement of openings. These homes prioritize energy efficiency and often incorporate smart home technology to enhance sustainability.

In addition to the focus on eco-friendly features, contemporary homes also embrace a minimalist aesthetic, emphasizing simplicity and functionality. The open floor plan layout common in these houses creates a sense of spaciousness and flow.

The Wide World of Residential Architecture

Understanding the various types of houses and architectural styles can help you make an informed decision when searching for your next home. Whether you prefer the privacy of a single-family home or the convenience of a townhouse, there are options to suit every lifestyle.

Consider your needs and preferences carefully to find the perfect home that meets both your aesthetic and functional requirements.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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