Shopping for a home is an exciting experience but there are many things to consider, starting with the fundamental question: which housing style is right for you?
You might be thinking, "I want to own my own home," which translates in your mind to a single- or double- story house. However, your finances, where you live, affordability, and practicality may factor in and cause you to consider other options. So let’s explore some of them.
Single-Family Housing. When many people think of owning their own house, the single-family residence first comes to mind. This type of home is the most independent. The walls are typically not joined together with any other homes. The heating and plumbing systems are separate. And, while the house may be in a planned community that has covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) regarding what you can do to your home on the outside, there is generally the most freedom with this type of home. Some of these homes have additional fees (Mello-Roos fee) to pay for schools in the area.
These residences are usually detached houses and have land surrounding them unless they are a zero-lot-line house. Then the house sits on or very close to the property line. These houses are packed into areas and may offer extra space inside but at the compromise for little land outside.
Row houses are often situated this way. However, while the single-family home can have a little different look, the row houses are generally identical and lined up side-by-side, thus the term: row houses. Sometimes there is a small backyard area behind the row house. The row houses also usually share a wall or two with the other houses. This also makes them more affordable than the detached, single-family house.
The Duplex. This type of house shares a roof and one wall but the other side is separate from other homes. You can also choose from triplexes and quadruplexes. Some buyers decide to go for this style of housing because they can live in one of the units and rent out the others to help pay for their mortgage. This allows them to save to and, later, if they choose, to purchase another home and rent out all of the units.
Townhouse. This style of house shares a wall and common areas such as parking lots, and walkways.
Condominiums. These units often look a lot like apartments. In fact, some apartments have been part of a condominium conversion. The individual unit is owned by a homeowner. Often the homeowner purchases the unit and rents it out. Homeowners have an ownership interest in the common elements which can include halls, stairways, elevators, parking lots, open areas, and other amenities.
As with townhouses and even single-family homes that are in planned communities, there is a fee for the care of the common areas.
The Microhouse. They may be small as the name states but they can be plenty big, especially for those who are living alone or traveling frequently and simply want an easy-to-care-for home.
These micro or mini houses can be just a few hundred square feet to a thousand. Often they are vertically built and they have more living space by the use of lofts and smaller- than-usual furniture and appliances. Some have unique features such as a deck on the roof.
So whether you’re shopping for a single-family, detached home or a minihouse, having a basic understanding about what you can expect with each housing style is an optimal way to begin your search. Then let your experienced real estate agent guide you to the suitable options that can best meet your specific needs.