Types of homes
The following list of types of homes is provided to help buyers understand the basic structures and legal parameters for different types of dwellings. If you have more questions, try typing them into a search engine or Wikipedia for a more complete picture on what a given property is like.
This is a fully detached, single family home that sits on its own lot. Sometimes the lot is part of a strata or condo devepment, which is used by builders to fit more single family homes on a sub-divided parcel of land. Owners of a strata-titled lot contribute to the cost of maintenance for common areas like roads and arrange for private trash services. Most often, the single family detached is situated on a standard city or country lot. Owners may receive services through their municipal government. The advantage is that single family homes allow you to enjoy the property without permission from others.
This is commonly called a duplex and its predominate feature is an shared wall between the two living spaces. These are often less expensive that single family homes but they require a degree of cooperation with the co-owner. Duplexes can be side-by-side, up-and-down, or front-and-back. You may want to consider a “whole” duplex, which means you would own both sides and one could be a source of rental income. A half-duplex requires that the home-owner cooperate with the other owner for maintenance, noise issues, etc.
These are single family residences forming a row with common walls separating the units. They can be freehold or condominiums. They usually have a small yard or outdoor space that is for the exclusive use of the owners. Townhouse or patio home living is idea for anyone who wants to have a family-size residence but doesn’t want the hassle of maintenance. The strata council will make arrangements for gardening, repairs to the exterior, and resolve any problems that arise. There is a monthly fee for these services.
A modular home is also a factory-built, single-family home. It is typically shipped in one or several large sections, or modules, bolted together and placed on a permanent foundation at the building site. Increasingly, modular homes are indestinguishable from site-built homes and can be used in a strata lot community or even as in-fill homes in urban areas.
Manufactured Home or Mobile Home
A manufactured home is a single-family home built on a steel frame for transportation purposes. It may be single or double-wide and may have drywall or vinyl paneling. These are often referred to as “park model” homes and are usually placed on foundations. Mobile homes have a steel frame and can be moved from place to place. Both are found in mobile home parks and on private lots. Financing for these types of homes is a little different from a single family home so be sure to talk with your lender specifically if you are considering one.
Apartment or Condo
This is a self-contained living unit in a building with other units of a similar nature. It features kitchen, bathroom, and other rooms as designed. Owners share the entire complex as shareholders in a strata corporation and have exclusive access to their own unit, storage locker, and parking spot. The strata collects a ‘strata fee’ from all the owners to cover maintenance expenses like power, water, sewer, etc.
Forms of Ownership
A freehold property is owned outright; there is no co-owned space or shared common areas with other home owners. Freehold owners can alter their property to suit themselves and do not require permission where the changes are allowed under municipal law. Houses and duplexes are usually freehold ownership.
A condominium is freehold ownership of a single unit in a building or development and co-ownership of common areas and land the development is on. Condo owners manage the development through a condo council. Condos are usually high-rise apartments, townhouses, and factory-built home developments.