Shelter is one of the basic needs essential for the survival and it played a big role in evolution of man. Housing has moved a long way from thatched roofs and caves to a billion dollar industry. Owning a house is now more of a financial stability than physical protection from weather. To cater to the needs of different sections of the society, different types of houses have been developed.
The word Mansion has its roots in Latin words “Mansio” which means to dwell, stay. It out-rightly represents grandeur and luxury with all the amenities one can think of. There is no technical specification regarding number of bedrooms, covered space etc. for a building to qualify as a mansion. It is associated with wealth and social status one commands in the society.
The word Bungalow is derived from word “Bengali” indicating a house in Bengal province of India. It is an independent house with only one floor. All the rooms are on the same floor and it may or may not have a basement. It is a characteristic of suburban dwellings due to the availability of space. The bungalows have adopted local architecture and thus bungalows may be Indian, American or European style.
Both mansion and bungalow are independent houses but we shall discuss this category as it represents one class of houses with specific characteristics. The independent or detached houses are not sharing any of their walls with the neighboring property. They mostly have multiple stories and may also have basements. They are preferred property by the families as these houses provide enough privacy. It is evident from the fact that around 60 % of the houses in America are independent houses. Hard to be found in downtown, they are mostly constructed in suburbs for obvious reasons.
One and a Half Storey
This is a pragmatic design for a house which uses some space above the ground floor for bedroom or study area. The second storey does not cover all of the ground floor. It gives additional space on the same piece of land without adding much to the construction costs and hence is one of the popular options to buy.
It is definitely most popular category among the home buyers. It allows one enough leeway to the designers. One can have very large living room or living and office space on the ground floor and all the sleeping area can be moved up to the next floor. It gives maximum utilization of the land available and hence is one of the most cost effective property type.
Semi detached are independent to an extent that they have their own entrance, exit and open spaces and they come with land ownership. They share at least one wall with the neighboring building. So the privacy is somewhat less than independent houses depending on the style of construction.
Duplex / Triplex
Duplex refers to two residential units in same building with different entries. They may be one on top of the other or side by side. Similarly, triplex refers to three units in the same property with independent entries. Most people buy this property to either rent out one of the units or to keep ageing parents close by.
Split Level Houses
Another innovation in real estate sector, this design has floors split and at different levels. It suits best for semi hilly areas where large tract of level land is not available or when the house owners want to use various structures like garage to have extra levels on without compromising on the size of the yard. They may be split at the front, side or at the back
These homes are also called row houses as such houses are built, as the name suggests, in a row by same builder. It has residential units on both the sides of house. It gives sense of both independence and community living. It is a good option for those who want independent home in the midst of city life but have tight budget.
The name is synchronous with vacation and stay close to nature. Generally, the cottages are not very big in size, having sufficient accommodation to accommodate a small family for few days. Nowadays some super rich are referring to their remotely located luxury properties as vacation cottages. Some luxury cottages are available for rent on per day basis for families or individuals who need a break from excruciating city life.
Apartments are individual units which are a part of a building. The building is owned by one entity and units are generally available for rent. They are mostly located near the city and have common facilities like gym, parking, laundry room and few luxury apartments may also have swimming pools, spas, jogging tracks etc. They are essentially single family homes and most of the outer walls are shared with adjoining units.
Condos are units in one building but unlike apartments, they are available for ownership. One unit can be bought and furnished as per one’s taste, so the maintenance of unit is also responsibility of the owner. There are some charges associated with the common amenities which are mostly maintained by HOA (Home Owners’ Association). They are also single family accommodations. Mostly located close to transport facilities and in or around downtown, they are dearer to rent as compared to Apartments.
Floating houses have a very thin clientele. As the name suggest, they are designed and constructed to stay afloat. They generally are not very huge rather use every inch of the space available very efficiently and judiciously. It’s not considered to be a very good investment to purchase due to their ever depreciating value but are cheaper to purchase as no land ownership is involved. They come with their own issues like disturbance in bad weather, dangers of drowning, distance from transport facilities etc. Due to these issues, they are available for rent at very cheap rates.
They are manufactured and mounted on wheels so as to give them the option of mobility in case of relocation. They don’t come with land ownership and are thus cheaper to own. They have their own set of issues like maintenance or service required in case it needs to be moved after a long time. Caravans are another types of houses which are essentially a house accommodated in a vehicle particularly a big van. They have not lost their popularity despite changes in economic spectrum of the nations. A cheap option to own as well as rent, they seem to continue for quite a while.
Latest innovation in housing construction, they are strong, easy to maintain and quick to construct. The covered area can be substantially increased by small increment in cost. Usually a 5-6 container home is sufficient for a family. With increasing popularity, container houses are not only available as basic houses but we also find them in form of luxury houses.