Four front doors to different houses

Types of home structures and architecture styles

In today’s competitive housing market, once you’ve found a home to buy, you need to move quickly to make an offer. Available homes are going fast, with more than 70% of all homes selling in less than a month. By doing research ahead of time, you’ll be more prepared to get a jump on the competition. Before contacting a real estate professional, identify your priorities to determine your must-have home features, what type of home you prefer, as well as your ideal type of home architecture.

What’s your favorite home style?

Do you dream of a spacious open kitchen for entertaining? Are you looking for a cozy cottage with a fireplace? Write down all of your must-haves and what you can live without. Next, decide on the type of home structure you prefer, then choose your ideal architectural style. Taking these steps ahead of time, then discussing your preferences with your realtor will narrow down your options and help your homebuying journey go smoothly.

Different types of homes

When considering becoming a new homeowner, determining what type of home to buy is one of the first decisions you’ll make. These are five of the main property types to choose from when purchasing a home.

  • Condominium

    A condominium is defined by ownership rather than a style of building. A condo is a private residence owned by an individual homeowner with joint ownership of common areas. Lower prices and less maintenance can be big appeals of owning a condo.

  • Manufactured or CrossMod™

    Manufactured homes are pre-built and assembled onsite. Modern manufactured home trends are much different than those of the past, with many customizable options and add-ons available. CrossMod™ represents the blending, or crossover, of features built onsite and the innovative, efficient modern methods used in factory home construction. They can be made much more efficiently, which lowers the cost of construction and helps improve affordability for new homebuyers.

  • Single-family detached

    The most popular type of home structure, single-family detached homes are stand-alone residences, typically built on a lot larger than the home. They do not share walls.

  • Townhome

    Townhomes are considered attached homes because they share at least one wall with a neighboring property. They have their own entrances and are at least two floors. Townhome owners usually own the home structure and the land where the property sits.

  • Multi-family 2-4+ units

    Duplex, triplex or fourplex are single buildings that accommodate more than one family living in legally separated units. Each unit has its own entrance, kitchen and bathroom. These homes can be great options for multi-generational families. Owners of these homes often live in one unit and rent out the others.

Common types of home architecture

If you’ve decided you would like to purchase a single-family detached home, you have several types of home architecture from which to choose. You can also customize many manufactured homes and CrossMods™ to suit your favorite architecture style.

Are you partial to a single-story ranch-style home with a large yard? Or have you always wanted to live in a Spanish-style home with a red tile roof and a courtyard? You may find it helpful to identify your favorite types of home architecture before discussing your new home requirements with your realtor.

  • 1. Cape Cod

    Known for unpainted shingle siding and steep gabled roofs, this charming style is reminiscent of early American settlers’ homes on Cape Cod. Classic Capes are rectangular and often one to one and a half stories with a fireplace in the home’s center.

  • 2. Colonial

    One of the oldest styles in the United States, colonial-style homes are simple and rectangular. Each region of the country has its take on colonial architecture, from French colonial in New Orleans to Spanish colonial in Los Angeles. Classic colonial exteriors may include the brick or wood plank siding, a front door in the center of the home, pillars and a plain window grid. On the inside, you can expect a centrally-located staircase with big open rooms on the first floor and a second story with bedrooms.

  • 3. Contemporary

    Because contemporary-style evolves with the architecture of the time and focuses on current trends, it can be hard to define. Often, these homes emphasize clean, simple lines and are built with natural, sustainable or eco-friendly components. This popular style’s interior includes open floor plans and lots of windows to let in natural light.

  • 4. Cottage

    Cozy is the word that first comes to mind when describing cottage-style homes. Most cottage-style homes are single-story and typically designed simply with brick, stone or shingle siding, a porch and bay windows. Rather than defined by specific architecture, the term “cottage” often refers to any home that’s a smaller size and is located in a rural area.

  • 5. Craftsman

    The American craftsman type of home architecture has been popular since the mid-1800s. This quaint design is characterized by low-pitched rooflines, covered front porches with an entryway lined with columns, overhanging eaves and wide dormers. Interior features are inviting and comfortable with a prominent fireplace, built-ins, warm woodwork, and a connection to the outdoors with large double-hung windows.

  • 6. Modern farmhouse

    According to, the modern farmhouse is the most favored home style in the United States. This type of home architecture is a blend of modern and traditional, with horizontal siding, metal roofs, dark shutters and wraparound front porch. Interior elements include vaulted ceilings, an open kitchen which is the heart of the home and lots of natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows. Don’t let the name fool you; modern farmhouses can be found in cities as well as the country.

  • 7. Spanish

    Often found in warmer climates, popular elements of this style inspired by Spanish missions include terracotta tile roofs, white stucco or earth tone exteriors, balconies and plenty of arches and curves. Interiors include exposed wooden beams and open floor layouts often centered on an enclosed courtyard or patio.

  • 8. Midcentury modern

    Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, midcentury modern architecture was most popular during the middle of the 20th century. This style emphasizes clean lines, flat roofs and a minimalist appearance. These one-story structures connect the indoors to the outdoors with large covered patios, enclosed courtyards and walls of sliding glass doors. Open layouts with sunken living rooms and main floor master suites are common to midcentury modern interiors.

  • 9. Ranch

    These popular single-story homes are the most common in the listings of homes for sale on Trulia. They are usually constructed in an L or a U shape with low-pitched roofs, attached garages and open-floor concepts with common areas like the living room, dining room and kitchen combined to create a large communal space.

  • 10. Victorian

    Victorian-style architecture is distinct from other home styles with steeply pitched roofs, ornate gables, wood or stone siding, round towers or turrets and decorative woodwork painted in vibrant colors. These homes are two to three stories with spacious interior floor plans, high ceilings, and various window sizes and styles, including stained glass and bay windows.

Make your home hunting easier with a mortgage pre-approval

Now that you’re familiar with different types of homes and home architecture styles, there are two more essential steps to take before checking out open houses with your realtor. By taking the time to review your finances and determine your budget, your homebuying experience will go more smoothly. First, use Guild’s pre-qualification calculator to get a preview of your financial preparedness. Then, apply for pre-approval for a home loan by submitting a mortgage loan application. Mortgage pre-approval is a conditional written commitment from your mortgage lender with the maximum loan amount you’re pre-approved to borrow.

Pre-approval provides clarity on the home you may be able to afford, as well as how much you may need for a down payment. Pre-approval also helps focus your search on homes within your means. Most sellers give preference to offers backed with pre-approval letters, giving your bid an advantage in a bidding war.

The above information is for educational purposes only. Guild Mortgage offers home financing only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.

By |Published On: July 14th, 2021|Categories: Lifestyle|Tags: , , |

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About the Author: Guild Mortgage

Founded in 1960 when the modern U.S. mortgage industry was just forming, Guild Mortgage Company is a nationally recognized independent mortgage lender providing residential mortgage products and local in-house origination and servicing. Guild’s collaborative culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion enable it to deliver a personalized experience for each customer. With more than 4,000 employees and over 250 retail branches, Guild has relationships with credit unions, community banks, and other financial institutions and services loans in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Guild’s highly trained loan professionals are experienced in government-sponsored programs such as FHA, VA, USDA, down payment assistance programs and other specialized loan programs. Guild Mortgage Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guild Holdings Company, whose shares of Class A common stock trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GHLD.