A beginner’s guide to housing types in the USA

Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned property developer, property investments are a big decision. There’s no doubt it’s become harder to get on the property ladder. As market prices have gradually risen, investing in property has become one of the safest ways of protecting your financial assets, but it’s also become harder to get a foot on the ladder in the first place. Fortunately, there are a range of options to suit many people's budget and circumstances, from renting to shares and buying property outright.

But how do you know which option is best for you? It’s essential to ensure you fully research each of your options before even thinking about viewing a property. That way you won’t be swayed to go for a place you fall head over heels for, when it might not be right for your circumstances. Have a read of our essential guide on the different types of property on the US market to get you started.


What is it?: An apartment is usually a part of a larger building that you rent and it can vary in size.

Data shows that there is currently less privately owned properties available than there was a decade ago. This means that there’s a shortage which could drive up house prices. Waiting for a while on the rental marketing until the property market improves could save you some cash. They’re also a good option for if you’re not sure what neighborhood you want to live in yet as renting allows you to try a few out without making any ties. You’re also not usually responsible for repair bills if something goes wrong and this is something you would report to the landlord.

Cons: Renting can often be more expensive than mortgage payments and you won’t get any of the money back that you’re paying. It is also difficult to save up for a mortgage deposit once you begin renting.

Condo (or Condimonium)

What is it?: A condo is a small part you can own of a larger building. They’re similar to apartments, only you buy the place and then pay towards the upkeep of the overall property. Some areas of the property will be shared with other residents.

Condos are easy to maintain as you usually pay into a central pot that goes towards the hiring of gardeners, repair men, exterminators and more. There’s usually a management board made up of a selection of the residents that live in the building and they’re responsible for allocating the funds and overseeing upkeep of the property.

When living in a condo, you also have the option to protect yourself, your condo and your belongings by purchasing condo insurance coverage. This policy not only covers any damaging to the condo unit and personal property, it also covers the individual with personal liability, something that can make individuals feel at ease knowing they can be covered when living in this type of accommodation.

Condos are also great if you want to make an investment for the future as property values are likely to rise. What’s more, many condos have a strict letting process, meaning you’ll always know you have good neighbors.

Cons: Condo life isn’t always so great for families as they have strict rules on what you can and can’t do, it is more recommended for adults and couples.

Town Houses

What is it?: A town house is a house that shares a wall with a neighboring property on one side. They can either be fully owned, part owned or rented.

Town houses usually come with more space than a condo or an apartment and often have their own private backyard and street access. They’re also a good investment as property prices are likely to rise, giving you a profit.

Cons: Sharing a wall with your neighbor means you have to be considerate of how much noise you make. You may also be restricted with some renovations and may have to seek approval first.

These three types of property are some of the most popular personal purchases, yet each one comes with its own specific criteria and ownership laws. While this knowledge is a great start, be sure to do some more thorough research to understand what types of insurance you would need and how much to budget for.

Good luck with your property search!
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