Dwelling Differences: Knowing the Common Types of Houses

family home

You’ve probably heard the terms duplex, semi-detached, townhouses being thrown here and there when window shopping for houses. There are indeed different types of houses, each of them having their own features and architectural distinctions. So, before you decide to buy a house and land package in West Melbourne or whichever place you’ve decided to settle down, it’s best to know the different types of houses so that you can choose the best one for you and your family to settle down in:

Single Family Home

Also called a stand-alone house, single-detached dwelling, or freestanding residence is a building that is used as a single dwelling unit. These types of homes generally are built on a lot that’s larger than the home structure, and is surrounded by a yard, and has direct access to a street. A single-family home has its own plumbing and heating facilities and doesn’t share it or from other units. These usually have only one garage, one kitchen, and enough rooms to accommodate one family. A “semi-detached” house, on the other hand, shares a common wall with another home, but the owners are in charge of taking care of their own side just like a single-detached house and don’t generally don’t share heating, air conditioning, or plumbing systems.


A two-family or duplex unit is, as the name suggests, is comprised of two living units sharing the same wall either side by side or divided into two levels or floors. Duplexes are generally large houses and sometimes with two entrances and even two garage doors. The main distinction to other types of houses or residential structures is that it’s owned by a single person despite having two separate living spaces, and can accommodate two families as each living units have their own rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens, although it’s not uncommon for a single family to buy or rent out an entire duplex for themselves.

Triplex (and so on)

Similar to a duplex, this is a large housing unit that has more than one living units, each with their own kitchen, bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, and such. However, triplexes have three living units that are either attached side-by-side while sharing a common wall or roof or divided vertically into three floors or levels. These can be expanded to quadplexes or quads, having four living units, and so on. Generally, renting out a unit in duplexes and triplexes are relatively cheaper than renting a single-family house.


A townhouse, or row house, is similar to a single-family home in a way that it has one living space and sometimes has its own, garage, and/or parking space. However, townhouses share the same design with other houses in the area and often share the same wall with other units. In urban areas, some townhouses have smaller units above them which are rented out by a different family or individual. Generally, city townhouses are 2 to 3 floors tall, with each level being labelled as a “storey”.



Condos are found in apartment buildings or “condominium units” wherein you own a single unit but not the land nor the entire unit, or any common space that’s outside your unit. Condominiums often have fees to cover the maintenance of shared areas and features such as parking areas, elevators, and recreational facilities. Condos oftentimes have their own set of rules, and owners become part of a members association or condo corporation which helps decide on the rules.


Knowing the different types of houses can help you decide which best fits your preference as well as your space requirements. And even if you’re not planning on buying or renting a house yet, knowledge of these types of houses can still be useful in general to better describe or locate homes.

About Faye Gonzales 1658 Articles
Meet our chief explorer, Faye Gonzales. With over a decade of travel experience, Faye is not only a passionate globetrotter but also a loving mom who understands the unique needs of family travelers. Her insights into family-friendly destinations and travel tips make her a trusted guide for parents seeking memorable adventures with their children.