Ever get frustrated when you're trying to find a house, but the descriptive words are baffling? Below are a few commonly used real estate terms used to describe house types for sale. The descriptions are very general - meant only to give you an idea of what you might be able to expect.
Cape Cod Cottages: broad-framed houses that are one and a half stories high, with steep, pitched roofs. The simple design consists of a central fireplace, a central front door with windows on each side, and end gables.
Estate: the houses, outbuildings, farmland, and gardens of a very large property. Traditionally, profits from produce and rents were sufficient to support the central house and its household. Today, an estate often refers to large houses on at least several acres. Sometimes the term is stretched to include a large home on a large lot.
Greek Revival: refers to houses with low-pitched triangular gables, a symmetrical shape, heavy moldings along the tops of walls, wide plain decorative trim above doors, entry porches with columns, decorative pilasters, and narrow windows around front doors.
Mansion or manor house: in the US, these terms refer to a dwelling over 8,000 (740m2) square feet. In Europe, a traditional mansion includes a ballroom and tens of bedrooms. Modern mansions in North America usually have specially designed rooms such as greenhouses, libraries, infinity pools, and/or home theatres. As well, many mansions also have domotics (technology controlled systems for security, energy efficiency, and comfort). Today, the term estate is often used instead of mansion.
Mansion block: refers to a block of flats or apartments in Britain, Hong Kong, and Japan.
Rowhouse: also called townhouses, rowhouses usually consist of three or more houses, each of two or more stories that share common walls between them, similar to duplexes.
Shotgun house: detached houses built in a straight line where the living room is in the front, followed by bedrooms and bathroom, and the kitchen is at the back. The houses tend to be longer and very narrow.
Split houses: there are three kinds of split houses. Backsplit houses appear as bungalows from the front elevation. Frontsplit houses appear as a two story in front and as a single story in back. Sidesplit houses have both levels visible from the front view.
Tudor Revival: houses with steeply pitched roofs, half-timbering that is infilled with herringbone brickwork, tall mullioned windows, high chimneys, and upper floors that overhang pillared porches.
Victorian house: there is a lot of variation when it comes to Victorian houses. Two common Victorian styles include:
- Second Empire: homes which consist of a rectangular tower, a steep roof topped with an iron trim, sculpted details around windows, doors, and dormers, and paired columns.
- Queen Anne: houses that replaced the Second Empire houses and consist of an asymmetrical facade, dominant front-facing gables, overhanging eaves, a second story porch or balcony, differing wall textures, balustrades, horizontal bands of leaded windows, wrap-around front porch, arched brick, and terracotta panels.
Villa: often refers to vacation rental properties - high quality detached homes in warm destinations, particularly Florida and the Mediterranean. Sometimes villas are also called luxury bungalows.
I hope this list helps in your search for an ideal home. Best of luck!
Krista Kehoe, Calgary real estate agent & REALTOR®