What Type of Home Do You Live in? We List The Most Common Property Types

Do you know the style of the home you live in? We list the MOST common, and the LEAST common house styles in the US.

authorWritten by Manuel MartinezSep 24, 2015
Luxury Home In Expensive Subdivision

Unless you are an architect, chances are you don’t know all the different structure descriptions for properties. For instance, did you know what a Gambrel house was… without Googling it? RealtyTrac thought it may be interesting to show off these different types of housing structures, so now you don’t have to just talk about the weather at your next company get together.

We sliced and diced data from our national property database of more than 25 million single family homes that have a structural description. The most common structures in the U.S. are as follows:

Ranch Style

Ranch style homes epitomize the essence of post-war American suburbia, offering a blend of simplicity, functionality, and accessibility. Characterized by their single-story design, these homes sprawl horizontally across the lot, emphasizing a connection with the outdoors. Ranch homes feature open floor plans, large windows, and an integration of indoor and outdoor living spaces, often including patios or sliding glass doors that lead to a backyard.

The architectural design is straightforward, with minimal decorative elements, focusing on practicality and ease of living. This style gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, appealing to families seeking affordable, yet comfortable, living spaces. Today, Ranch style homes remain popular for their versatility, adapting to modern renovations while retaining their classic charm.


Conventional homes, often referred to as traditional American homes, present a familiar and comforting aesthetic that has evolved over centuries of architectural history. These homes do not adhere strictly to one specific style but instead incorporate elements from various architectural trends that have been popular throughout American history.

The design of conventional homes prioritizes functionality and practicality, with a layout that caters to the needs of the average American family. Features such as symmetrical facades, moderate rooflines, and modest decoration are common, creating a timeless appeal. The interior spaces are typically divided into distinct rooms, with a clear separation between living, dining, and sleeping areas.

Conventional homes reflect the cultural heritage and practical sensibilities of American residential architecture, offering a blend of comfort, tradition, and adaptability.

Split Level

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Split Level homes, a variation of the Ranch style that emerged in the mid-20th century, are designed to accommodate the needs of growing families while adapting to varied or sloping terrain. These homes feature a floor plan that is divided into several levels, connected by short flights of stairs.

The layout typically separates living, sleeping, and recreational spaces, allowing for greater privacy and flexibility in use. The main level often contains the living room, dining room, and kitchen, with bedrooms located on a higher level and a family room or garage on the lower level. This design maximizes space efficiency and provides a clear division of functional areas.

Split Level homes are distinctive for their ability to blend into their surroundings, making them a popular choice in neighborhoods with challenging topographies. Their unique layout and practical design continue to appeal to homeowners seeking a balance between traditional and contemporary living spaces.


Photo by I Do Nothing But Love on Unsplash

Colonial-style homes are steeped in the history of the United States, drawing inspiration from the early American settlements of the 17th and 18th centuries. These homes are distinguished by their symmetrical facades, central front doors flanked by windows on either side, and decorative crown above the door.

The interior layout of Colonial homes is equally symmetrical, with a central hallway that divides the living spaces on the first floor and bedrooms above. Traditional features include brick or wood facades, multi-pane windows, and one or more chimneys. The design reflects the practicality and formality of early American life, with a focus on durability and classical beauty.

Colonial homes embody the architectural heritage of America, offering a sense of timeless elegance and historical significance.


Traditional homes are a celebration of America’s rich architectural legacy, incorporating elements from a variety of styles such as Colonial, Victorian, and Craftsman. This category is characterized by its diversity, with homes reflecting the regional preferences and historical influences of their area.

The defining features of traditional homes include pitched roofs, brick or wood siding, and classic detailing that pays homage to the past. Interiors are designed for comfort and functionality, with formal living and dining rooms complemented by cozy family spaces.

Traditional homes are beloved for their warmth and character, offering a sense of continuity and connection to America’s architectural traditions. Their enduring popularity lies in their ability to provide a comforting and familiar backdrop to family life, blending historical charm with the demands of modern living.

The Least Common Home Styles

Now, you may have heard of those above styles, but now comes the conversation starter: some of the least-common structures in the U.S. –but still could be down the street from you — are:


Photo by Abby Rurenko on Unsplash

Cottage-style homes are synonymous with coziness and charm, often envisioned as small, quaint structures nestled in lush gardens or rural settings. This architectural style draws heavily from the picturesque English countryside, where traditional cottages are built with local materials, featuring thick stone or brick walls, thatched roofs, and small, leaded windows. Here in the United States, the cottage style has been adapted to include a variety of sizes, often incorporating wood siding, gabled roofs, and porches that invite relaxation and connection with the outdoors.

Inside, cottages prioritize comfort and warmth, with an emphasis on casual, inviting spaces that foster a sense of simplicity and tranquility. Fireplaces, built-in bookshelves, and wood beams are common interior features that enhance the cottage’s cozy atmosphere. While modern cottages may incorporate more contemporary amenities and open floor plans, they retain the timeless appeal of a retreat into simplicity and natural beauty.

The popularity of cottage-style homes speaks to a widespread desire for a more relaxed, unpretentious way of living, offering a peaceful escape from the fast pace of modern life.

Log Homes

Photo by Gennady Nikiforov on Unsplash

Log homes are one of the oldest and most iconic forms of American architecture, deeply rooted in the nation’s history and landscape. Constructed from solid logs, these homes are celebrated for their rustic beauty, durability, and sustainability. The log home’s aesthetic is closely tied to the American frontier spirit, embodying self-reliance, simplicity, and a close connection to nature.

Modern log homes have evolved from simple, utilitarian structures to sophisticated dwellings that incorporate the latest in energy efficiency and design, while still honoring the traditional craftsmanship and natural materials that define this style.

Interiors of log homes are warm and inviting, with exposed wood dominating the design, from massive beams overhead to polished floors. Large stone fireplaces, open floor plans, and panoramic windows that offer views of the surrounding landscape are common features, blending comfort with a profound sense of place.

Despite their traditional connotations, log homes can be found in a variety of settings, from secluded woodlands to suburban neighborhoods, appealing to those who seek a unique home with strong character and a sense of history.


Photo by Noita Digital on Unsplash

A Gambrel or Gambrel roof is one of the lesser-known style homes. This type of home is usually symmetrical with two-sided roofs that have two slopes on each side. Reminiscent of barns in the American countryside, the Gambrel style represents a unique architectural style that maximizes the use of space under its distinctive roof.

Originating from Europe, the Gambrel style found its way to America with Dutch settlers, becoming a hallmark of colonial architecture. This roof style, characterized by two slopes on each side—the upper slope being shallower and the lower slope steeper—allows for a spacious second floor or attic, making it a practical choice for residential buildings. The symmetrical façade often features a central entrance and windows that align horizontally and vertically, presenting a balanced and harmonious exterior.

Historically, this style was favored for its economical use of materials while providing ample interior space, making it an ideal design for both rural and urban homes. Despite its practical advantages, the Gambrel style remains less common compared to others, offering a unique charm and historic appeal that can capture the imagination of those who appreciate traditional American architecture.


Credit: https://memory.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/me/me0000/me0083/photos/087567pv.jpg

A Halloween favorite, Garrison is an architectural style with a second story overhang in the front, rectangular side-gables mass, narrow eaves and typically with lapped wood siding. With its distinctive second-story overhang, The Garrison style is a testament to the architectural creativity and defensive considerations of early American settlers. This feature not only provided extra space in the upper floors but also offered protection and a strategic advantage during conflicts, as it made it more difficult for attackers to approach the walls directly.

Originating in the 17th century, the Garrison house is deeply rooted in English colonial architecture, embodying a blend of practicality and aesthetic appeal. The narrow eaves and rectangular silhouette contribute to its straightforward, functional appearance, while the lapped wood siding adds a touch of rustic charm. Inside, Garrison homes are known for their warm and inviting interiors, with large fireplaces often serving as the focal point of family gatherings.

Despite its historical significance and distinctive look, the Garrison style is relatively rare in modern architecture, making these homes unique landmarks that offer a glimpse into America’s colonial past.


Photo by Greg Willson on Unsplash

Tudor Architecture is a modern-day re-invention that resembles houses build in the 1500s, during the Tudor Dynasty in England. They tend to mimic medieval cottages with prominent cross gables, steeply pitched roofs, tall narrow windows with small window panes. This style is characterized by its steeply pitched gable roofs, decorative half-timbering, and tall, narrow windows, creating a picturesque, fairy-tale appearance. The use of brick, stone, or stucco as exterior materials, combined with elaborate chimneys and ornate doorways, enhances its distinctive aesthetic.

Inside, Tudor homes often feature high ceilings with exposed wooden beams, leaded glass windows, and large stone fireplaces, embodying a cozy yet grand atmosphere. The modern Tudor revival, which peaked in popularity in the early 20th century, appeals to homeowners seeking a connection to historical architecture, craftsmanship, and the charm of an English country house. However, the elaborate details and specialized materials can make Tudor homes more expensive to build and maintain, contributing to their rarity and higher market value.

Despite this, the timeless allure of Tudor architecture continues to captivate those who value elegance, tradition, and a touch of whimsy in their homes.

Interestingly enough, the structures that are the least common, tend to have the most value. For instance, a Tudor style home like the one listed below, has an estimated value of around $600,000, whereas a Ranch style home goes around $200,000.

These are just a snippet of all the architectural design homes out there, feel free to email or contact us at the number below for detailed information or to find out where you can find these style homes!

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