What Are the Different Types of Houses?

Residential | December 13, 2021  | By: John Esh

Whether you’re in the market to buy a house or dreaming about the day you can, you’ll quickly realize you have plenty of architectural choices. When you begin your hunt, your real estate agent may ask you to describe what kind of house you’re looking for. They may throw out terms like colonial, cottage, single-family, multi-level, ranch-style or other house lingo that confuses you.

Every home is unique, but houses in different locations or various sizes may still share the same classification. For example, ranch-style homes might be single-family or multifamily.

When buying a house, you can quickly get lost in the jargon and identification of home styles, interior specifications and exterior architecture.

Whichever way you lean, you’ll be thankful to know the various terms for different types of homes. It’ll help make your house-hunting all the more engaging and ensure you get the home you want.

Popular Types of Houses

When classifying a house, two critical components come into play — building type and architectural style. From there, we can group classifications to create an assortment of combinations.

Understanding these terms will guide you in your homebuying experience. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of house types and styles.

Building Type

Building type refers to the house’s structure and the ways it accommodates the people living inside. Structure may reflect the house’s size and relation to other homes in the area. Several residents or families may occupy a single building.

Here is a list of some of the different building types.

Single-Family Homes

Single-family homes are the traditional houses you see in suburban areas and neighborhoods from coast to coast. Most of these usually have a front yard, back yard, driveway and garage, all on the same property. The homeowner owns the entire lot the house resides on.

These types of houses are for single families, usually consisting of roughly four individuals.

Multifamily Homes

As the name implies, multifamily homes allow more than one family to live in the building. Some multifamily homes are duplexes that share a single building with separate driveways, entrances and amenities. Each family lives in their half of the duplex. Another example of a multifamily home is a split-level house with a furnished basement.


Aside from freestanding homes, apartments are among the most common housing styles. Usually, apartments are connected, with only a wall or floor separating you and your neighbors.

Typically, people who live in apartments don’t own their dwellings. Instead, they pay a landlord or building owner a monthly rent in exchange for residency.


You can think of townhouses like two single-family homes squashed together. Each unit usually has three levels. The bottom floor or entrance leads to the garage. The second story might have a living room, kitchen, bathroom and other smaller rooms. The third story is home to all the bedrooms.

This housing style has either a narrow strip of yard between homes, or two residences separated by a single wall. In some cases, you might find one larger building made up of three or four separate townhomes.


Condos are like apartments you can own. Your living arrangement is similar, with neighbors connected by single walls, but you buy the space and can alter it as you see fit.

While condos may be part of an HOA that provides shared services such as landscaping or maintenance, they do not have landlords or building superintendents. Instead, you and the other residents of the building or complex own your homes.


Co-ops are a bit more complicated than the other housing styles on this list. You live in a building that resembles apartments or condos, but the difference is that you don’t own or rent the space you occupy. Instead, you and the other tenants buy a share of the corporation that owns the building as a whole.

A co-op board sets the rules and regulations for residents to follow, but they also provide building maintenance.

Architectural Style

For most of us, a home’s appearance is the aspect we think about first when describing where we want to live. Architecture refers to the house’s overall aesthetic, design and floor plan. For example, you may want a house with a specific roof shape, building materials and other characteristics.

Given how quickly design preferences change through the years, there are nearly limitless possibilities for architectural styles and variations. You may find a Victorian-style home with hints of a colonial style. Once you own a house, you are free to customize and alter it however you prefer. If you have the time and money, you can mix and match styles to your heart’s content!

Let’s look at some of the different options available to you.


Colonial homes closely resemble the architectural style used by the first non-Indigenous settlers in America. Sometimes, they also have Cape Cod-style features like gabled roofs, dormer windows, shutters and centralized chimneys. These brick houses typically have two stories, plus a basement and an attic. Most will have windows at equal placements on the first and second floors, and the roof’s angle will usually be symmetrical.

These homes can house a single family that requires multiple rooms to comfortably accommodate the number of people. For example, the upper floor might have three or four bedrooms.


Ranch-style homes are common single-story houses with an open floor plan. These houses traditionally have a horizontal layout, with bathrooms and bedrooms along one end of the house and the kitchen, dining room, living room and utility room on the opposite. Most times, you can easily walk in a line from the front door to the backyard.

Ranch styles usually have sliding doors, generously sized windows and an attached garage.

With the single-story characteristic, companies have taken to finding different ways to incorporate the design. You can still find the traditionally single-line style, but some architects make ranch styles into “L” or “U” shapes.


The Victorian architectural style gained popularity in European countries, and gradually made its way to America. These homes are two or three stories tall, with distinctly ornate characteristics. They have more pointed roofs, bay windows, intricate archways and large open patios and porches. These homes tend to be more asymmetrical.


Mediterranean homes embrace the aesthetic and appreciation of villa-style homes found along the Mediterranean Sea, typically in Italy, Greece and Spain. These homes are more popular in warmer climates, as the lighter colors complement the environment. Usually, these homes have a stucco exterior and tile roofing that contrast well with the wood and metal building material.


Inspired by medieval homes, Tudor-style homes embrace the picturesque and quaint storybook home aesthetic. You can easily spot their distinctive appearance, characterized by contrasting wood paneling. They can have several stories, pitched roofs and a mixture of brick and wood exterior. The windows are tall, close together and contain multiple panels.


As the name implies, farmhouses resemble a traditional, practical home meant to accommodate a farming family. The interior styles bear similarities to their barn counterparts and the environment around them. Most of these homes have striking similarities, but each house adapts to the area around them.

Most farmhouses will be in more rural areas with some acreage of land available. They have larger porches, higher ceilings, are multi-storied and embrace a square or rectangular design. Some farmhouses have a barn-shaped roof and often have exposed brick, rustic and semi-symmetrical designs.


Split-level houses have multiple floors. However, unlike traditional multistory homes, there are no long flights of stairs separating each floor. Instead, the house has three floors separated by smaller staircases.

Greek Revival

Greek revival homes take the characteristics and simplicity of ancient Greek temples and transform them into a house. These homes embody the symmetry, proportions and elegance you would expect from a classic era of art and philosophy.

You’ll notice immediately that these homes have square or round columns adorning the front exterior. Inside, they usually have large, open rooms with tall windows. The color scheme will be mostly neutral to mimic the pure and clean aesthetic of Greek temples.

Choosing a Roof to Match Your House

Your house’s architectural style directly impacts the type of roof you get. Choosing a roof to match your home is not as complicated as you might think. Consider your home’s existing aesthetic and color scheme. If you are happy with it, there’s no need to deviate. If your roof already has tiles, panels or shingles, stick with them when patching or reroofing your house.

Alternatively, you can choose to experiment with color. You can find different-colored tiles or panels to give your home more personality and have it stand out among the homes around you. Paired with the color of your exterior, you can make some exciting and eye-catching combinations.

When repairing your roof, you have a couple of choices to make. You can either replace individual shingles or you can get the entire roof stripped off and redone. From there, you can decide the material and color you want.

However, your house’s style and roof shape will impact your material choices. Some options you can choose from are:

  • Asphalt
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Tile and cement
  • Slate

Heavier materials may not always be ideal for all roofs, especially homes with roofs pitched at steeper angles. Once you’ve decided on a material, it’s critical to select a color that best complements your home’s style and exterior. Not every material has the same color options, so pick the material first.

Get the Roof You Want With Joyland Roofing

Your home is a reflection of you and your personality. Don’t let the buying process intimidate you. The different variations of home styles can be overwhelming, but taking the time to better understand some essential differences of each can help you find a house that speaks to you.

Once you purchase your house, you are at liberty to design and alter it as you see fit. You can remove walls, alter layouts, repaint and change the entire look and feel. From the roof to the baseboards, the possibilities are endless.

Located in Lancaster County, PA, Joyland Roofing is your seamless solution to be one step closer to having the house of your dreams. Providing high-quality roofs for the past 30 years, Joyland Roofing promises to give you the roof you want. Through the use of aerial imaging and professional assessment, we can tell you everything you need to know about choosing a new roof.

Call us at 717-459-3499 or contact us online to schedule your free estimate today.

    Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor License (HIC) # PA124258