Thursday, June 10, 2021

How to Know If a House is Right for You

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or are looking to invest in a new property, there are a lot of terms going around associated with house styles and structures. Understanding these terminologies can help you narrow down your search, and find the home you are looking for quicker.

Types of Houses – Structure


Single-family homes

The primary feature of a single-family home is that it is completely detached from its surrounding properties, unlike condos, apartments, and townhomes. Single-family homes are more popular in suburbs and smaller cities compared to the big cities. 

The majority of housing units in the U.S. are single-family homes. These are preferred by most homebuyers as they offer more privacy and security compared to other types of housing units. 


  • More security, privacy, and freedom


  • Costs more
  • Difficult to maintain 



If you like the amenities that come with an apartment but want to own one, then a Condo is a perfect housing option for you. With a condo, you are in charge of every repair and maintenance instead of relying on a building manager or a landlord. 

Condos are very suitable housing units for millennials who want a residence in big cities closer to their workplace but at an affordable cost. The senior citizens who want to own their residence but can’t keep up with all the maintenance that comes with single-family homes can also opt for condos. 


  • Lesser maintenance costs
  • Lesser upkeep required


  • Less privacy



A townhome is an individually-owned residence that shares at least one wall with the neighboring house. All the townhomes have their separate entrance from the street. 

Townhomes are more common in big cities where space is limited. 

These houses make use of the vertical space by having multiple stories in a house but save horizontal space by having shared walls. Sometimes amenities are also shared among a group of townhomes.


  • More affordable


  • Less privacy, and less freedom 


Tiny Homes

The idea of ‘tiny homes’ is in the market for some time now. But their popularity has recently boomed further after a huge spike in the average home prices. As the name suggests, tiny homes have smaller square feet of area ranging from 60 – 400 square feet.

These tiny homes are usually custom-built now. They are particularly popular among younger homebuyers who want more financial and physical freedom. These homes are typically mobile, meaning they can be moved anywhere.


  • More privacy and freedom
  • Can be moved anywhere
  • More affordable


  • Smaller space
  • Not suitable for a family



A Co-op is a very different kind of housing unit compared to others. It is also known as a housing co-operative. When you buy a co-op property, you are basically buying a share of the company that owns that co-op building and not the actual property you are living on. 

The number of shares you have purchased correlates to the space you are afforded in the co-op. Once you are accepted in the co-op and have bought the shares, you will get to vote on common spaces and you will also share costs for maintenance with other shareholders. 


  • More affordable
  • Great family neighborhood


  • Not available in every state

Different Styles of Homes



Classical homes are symmetrical buildings with 2 or more stories and a front door under the entryway portico. Classical homes were most famous in the 1700s and 1800s and were also knows as Colonial, Georgian, and Federal-style homes. 

These homes are mostly made of bricks but in the north, you will also find classical homes made with clapboards. One of the distinct features of classical homes is that they have a central chimney or 2 0r 4 chimneys on either side of the house. 


  • More durable
  • Higher ceilings, large windows
  • More privacy


  • Repairs can be expensive
  • High maintenance costs



Ranch-style homes first appeared in the 1930s, but they became more famous in the 1950s. Ranch home is a single-story home but it has a wider rectangular footprint. These homes feature large windows, sliding glass doors, attached garage door, larger backyard, and plenty of open space. 

Ranch homes come in a variety of iterations including California, storybook, split-book, and raised ranch. All of these iterations have different defining features, for example, California-style ranch homes are in a ‘U’ or ‘L’ shape. 


  • Suited for a family-living as everything is on one level
  • Consumes less energy to heat and cool
  • Large open spaces for outdoor activities


  • Requires more land to build a ranch style home
  • Less privacy because of its large front windows
  • More expensive


Farm House

As the name suggests, a farmhouse is a home on a farm. The features of a farmhouse are more inspired by its functions rather than following a traditional style. Its typical features include a front porch, tall ceilings, a rectangular layout, and a central lounge with a fireplace. 

Another distinct feature of a farmhouse is an open-air mudroom which is used by the residents to remove their dirty boots. The roof of the farmhouse is typically decorated with gables and dormers. 


  • Plenty of space to raise your kids in the privacy
  • Allows residents to enjoy a lot of outdoor sports and activities
  • Provides the option to raise your own animals


  • Usually a bit far from the city
  • You may have to deal with some utility challenges 
  • A bit expensive to maintain a farmhouse



Cabin and Cottages have been around for a long time now but back then they were only called houses. They were very common in the largely-populated areas among people who couldn’t afford large classical villas. 

Nowadays, compact old-fashioned homes that are typically built away from the city, closer to mountains or beaches, are called cabins or cottages. Today, homebuyers buy these houses as vacation homes, but many still use them as the primary residence. They typically feature wood siding (sometimes also made of stone or brick siding), a cozy fireplace, a brick or gravel front walkway, and a beautiful bright exterior.


  • Costs less to buy
  • Allows cozy-living closer to nature
  • Easier to maintain


  • Unexpected maintenance issues
  • Less security
  • Smaller space



As the name suggests, Victorian houses are named after the “Queen Victoria”, emerged in the 1830s, but are still very popular. The Victorian home is one of the most popular styles of architecture, thanks to its ornate design that incorporates a variety of different elements like decorative trim and large windows. 

The Victorian-style originated in England and was later adopted across the Atlantic in the United States. This house has all of the necessary elements, from decorative wood fences to towers and bay windows. In addition, its brightly colored facade represents the colorful ornamentation characteristic of Victorian homes.

The features that characterize these homes include details such as overlapping gables and numerous decorative elements like front porches, turrets, and intricate trim work.


  • Excellent curb-appeal
  • Have thick walls which makes it almost sound-proof
  • Usually built in a row that provides a good community feel


  • Maintenance costs are high as victorian-houses have delicate woodwork and ornaments
  • The structure, wiring, and other amenities may not be up-to-date
  • Foundation may need to be re-done


Art Deco

Art Deco style homes tend to be 2-4 level units with bay windows, barrel-style roofs, wide overhangs, horizontal lines, and an overall vertical emphasis. You’re also likely to find flat roofs,  glass brick, neon, chrome, mirrors, smooth stucco walls with rounded corners, bold exterior, high-gloss finishes, and opaque glass panels.

Art Deco style homes are the crown of old cities. 


  • Stylish exterior and interior
  • Often located closer to downtown city
  • Easy to maintain and renovate


  • Less open spaces
  • Lesser privacy


Modern / Contemporary 

For those looking for a simple, straightforward approach to design, look no further than Contemporary homes. Inspired by the surrounding landscape and architectural traditions, these elegant homes reflect the best of Modern and Contemporary architecture. Designed for a variety of climates, these homes blend in with their surroundings and take advantage of natural light with large, plate glass windows.

Loftier than ranch-style houses with their prominent gables, houses built in the contemporary style have a lean and elongated look that can be somewhat deceiving. Rather than appearing massive and bulky, many styles use sleek lines and angles to give their design a cohesive appearance. 


  • Space is used efficiently, the overall design is sleek and modern
  • Tend to be more energy efficient
  • These houses encourage open plan living


  • More expensive
  • Costs more to maintain and upgrade
  • Less privacy because of its large front windows



Mediterranean-style houses look like they’re in an artist’s painting, with their thick stucco walls, ceramic tiles, and red-tiled roofs. They feature arched windows and doors and balconies with simple metal railings. Outdoor spaces are just as important as indoor areas when it comes to Mediterranean-style living, so you’ll find sunrooms, patios, and courtyards outside, too.

They also boast some spectacular architectural elements, including arches, balconies, and intricate metalwork. Mediterranean-style homes are suited to climates with mild winters and hot summers. This style is popular in California and Florida, where the climate is best suited for them.


  • Designed to maintain a moderate temperature inside the house
  • Stay breezy in summers
  • Easier to upgrade


  • Difficult to maintain and upgrade
  • Seems old-school

Looking to purchase your dream home? Affiliated Mortgage has a team of highly qualified realtors and mortgage brokers, who can help you purchase your dream home at the best available rates. Contact us now to get started!

Contact us at (605) 718-9820 or schedule a call and let our mortgage experts help you with your home loan.


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