We know that it takes people to make a house into a home. But what qualifies a home as a mansion? Or what, for instance, separates a duplex from a twin home? There are so many different types of residential houses that distinguishing them can become a challenge. Here, we cover the definitions of common types of homes so that whether you’re looking to buy or simply like learning, you can be well-informed!
Single-family homes refer to houses that are, not surprisingly, built for one family to live in. These are also standalone houses that have no shared walls with other residences.
Multifamily homes, on the other hand, refer to any residential building with more than one “residence.” Structures that contain multiple living spaces with separate entrances and privacy are multifamily homes and can include both apartment buildings and duplex homes.
Speaking of a multifamily duplex, you might be wondering what, if anything, separates this type of residence from what is known as a “twin home.” There is a distinction, and the difference comes down to homeownership.
Both of these types of residences are two private homes with a shared wall. But while a duplex is considered one property, a twin home is seen as two separate properties on two separate lots. While they share one wall, twin home owners may do as they like to their side of the building. Duplex homeowners, however, must cooperate on property decisions.
The other types of connected houses include townhouses and row homes. With these type of residences, the homes share at least one wall with another. The distinction between the two types lies in how the homes are arranged. While row homes specifically refer to attached houses that line up along a street, townhomes can be arranged in either clusters or lines that aren’t necessarily parallel to the road. The famous Painted Ladies of San Francisco are an example of row houses.
“Stick-built” houses refer to your traditional construction homes and are built on site. But there are other ways to build a home, including modular and manufactured homes which are different in and of themselves.
Modular homes are built off-site (in a factory) and are placed on a permanent foundation. This category also includes prefabricated homes, where multiple sections (called “modules”) are pre-constructed in a factory and then completed on site. Manufactured homes are built whole in a factory on a non-removeable steel chassis. These are what used to be referred to as mobile homes or trailers.
Kit homes are another type of home you can learn more about here.
What makes a home a mansion? Mansions are very large houses, but what qualifies as one differs based on both personal opinion and location. Generally, they range between 5,000 and 8,000 square feet. For example, it would take a lot less square footage for a home in Manhattan to qualify as a mansion compared to one in a different area of New York.
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.