Home classifications

You might be searching for your first home right now, or maybe a new investment property. But did you check the types of homes you were considering to buy? You have probably noticed, there is a lot of terminology that describe house styles and structures. If you knew this terminology, it can help you find the home you’re looking for much faster. Also, it can help you prepare for any issues, that are common with certain structures, when it’s time for a home inspection. And knowing the terminology helps understand the benefits associated with certain home types.

First we need to understand the difference between two home classifications: types of homes or type of structure and the style of the home. The type of structure, refers to the building itself, like a single-family home or a condo. Meanwhile, the style is about the architectural features & design, like ranch, Mediterranean and contemporary.

So let’s learn about the most popular home types and home styles.

Types of homes


A condominium is technically an apartment that you own. You still share common spaces, amenities, and other resources, and pay condo fees, which cover maintenance costs, amenities, the upkeep of common spaces, gym facilities and/or pool but with all the perks comes the downside of less privacy & freedom. Condos are actually a great option, if you’re retired & want something less upkeep.

Condotel (Condo-hotel)

A residential development that allows individual unit owners to rent to to short-term guests as if it were a hotel property. These properties will have a check-in desk, and many other amenities found in a traditional hotel.


A townhome is an individually owned dwelling that has its own entrance from the street and shares at least one wall with another unit. They typically make use of vertical space with multiple stories but save horizontal space by sitting side by side with other homes. Although they are often more affordable than single-family homes, they offer less privacy and less freedom to change the exterior. Sometimes, there are shared amenities among a collection of townhouses.

Single family homes

Single-family homes are also called detached simply because they’re completely detached from other housing units. On average, single-family homes usually cost more to maintain and own, but are private, and there are more options for personalization, barring any HOA requirements.


A duplex is a free-standing structure divided into two, connected, single-family units. And is considered a multi-family home. The units can be side-by-side or stacked on top of each other. Another distinct feature for duplex buildings, is they have two separate entrances for each unit.

Manufactured homes (Mobile Homes)

Manufactured homes & mobile homes are regulated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The only difference between the two types of homes is the date they were built. According to HUD, a factory-built home prior to June 15, 1976 is a mobile home & one built after is a manufactured home. Usually, built in a factory & taken to the property where they are set up on a metal frame or a crawlspace or basement. Sometimes have tie downs in place of a permanent foundation.

Modular homes

Modular Homes

Often delivered in 2 or more pieces. Typically built on crawl spaces. Usually, look like traditional “stick-built” homes in both size and features.

Home styles

Plantation Style

Key features include classical Greek columns and an expansive front porch and balcony. If you like symmetry, tradition, and a classic Southern look, this style is for you.

Charleston Single House

An iconic look that’s perfect for narrow lots. Traditionally features narrow rooms that span the length of the house and boast impressive covered front porches.

Lowcountry Cottage Style

Typically, these homes are raised for the tidal region. They feature a simple rectangular structure with plenty of shaded, outdoor living on wrap-around porches. Key design elements include an open floor plan with a large entryway and parlor, a side-gabled or hip roof, and French doors.

Craftsman Beach Cottage

Features a large, shady front porch with tapered columns. These homes also have a low-pitched, gabled roof. It can be a wonderful beach design, smaller home, or foundation of something larger.

Coastal Style Beach Home

The contemporary coastal South Carolina beach house, is not a traditional style itself. However, they frequently borrow elements from some of those listed earlier. Coastal style beach homes are always raised. While rectangular structures are common, there are unlimited architectural choices for those looking to add something unique and original.

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