Technically, a condominium is a collection of individual home units along with the land upon which they sit. Individual home ownership within a condominium is construed as ownership of only the air space confining the boundaries of the home The boundaries of that space are specified by a legal document known as a Declaration, filed of record with the local governing authority. Typically these boundaries will include the drywall surrounding a room, allowing the homeowner to make some interior modifications without impacting the common area. Anything outside this boundary is held in an undivided ownership interest by a corporation established at the time of the condominium’s creation. The corporation holds this property in trust on behalf of the homeowners as a group–-it may not have ownership itself.
It is also possible for condominiums to consist of single family dwellings: so-called “detached condominiums” where homeowners do not maintain the exteriors of the dwellings, yards, etc. or “site condominiums” where the owner has more control and possible ownership (as in a “whole lot” or “lot line” condominium) over the exterior appearance. These structures are preferred by some planned neighborhoods and gated communities.
A homeowners association (HOA), consisting of all the members, manages the condominium through a board of directors elected by the membership. The same concept exists under different names depending on the jurisdiction, such as “unit title”, “sectional title”, “common hold,” “strata council,” or “tenant-owner’s association”, “body corporate”, “Owners Corporation”, “condominium corporation” or “condominium association.” Another variation of this concept is the “time share” although not all time shares are condominiums, and not all time shares involve actual ownership of (i.e., deeded title to) real property. Condominiums may be found in both civil law and common law legal systems as it is purely a creation of statute.
A housing cooperative is a legal entity—usually a corporation—that owns real estate, consisting of one or more residential buildings. (This is one type of housing tenure.) Each shareholder in the legal entity is granted the right to occupy one housing unit, sometimes subject to an occupancy agreement, which is similar to a lease. The occupancy agreement specifies the co-op’s rules. Cooperative is also used to describe a non-share capital co-op model in which fee-paying members obtain the right to occupy a bedroom and share the communal resources of a house that is owned by a cooperative organization. Such is the case with student cooperatives in some college neighborhoods in the United States.
As a legal entity, a co-op can contract with other companies or hire individuals to provide it with services, such as a maintenance contractor or a building manager. It can also hire employees, such as a manager or a caretaker, to deal with specific things that volunteers may prefer not to do or may not be good at doing, such as electrical maintenance. However, as many housing cooperatives strive to run self-sufficiently, as much work as possible is completed by its members.
A shareholder in a co-op does not own real estate, but a share of the legal entity that does own real estate. Co-operative ownership is quite distinct from condominiums where people “own” individual units and have little say in who moves into the other units. Because of this, most jurisdictions have developed separate legislation, similar to laws that regulate companies, to regulate how co-ops are operated and the rights and obligations of shareholders.
Single Family Residence
A single-family detached home, or single-family home or detached house for short, also variously known as a single-detached dwelling, single-family dwelling, is a free-standing residential building. Most single-family homes are built on lots larger than the structure itself, adding an area surrounding the house, which is commonly called a yard in North American English Garages can also be found on most lots. In older homes, they are typically detached, standing as a separate building, either near a driveway or facing an alley in urban areas. Newer homes in North America favor attached garages, often facing the street, as most recent developments do not include alleys. Houses with an attached front entry garage that is closer to the street than any other part of the house is often derisively called a snout house.
Typically only members of a single family live in this type of house, yet in the wider sense it refers to a single party of people.
The counterparts to single-family homes are apartment complexes, condominiums, duplexes, semi-detached houses, or townhomes/terrace houses, where several families live in the same structure.
There are advantages and disadvantages to single-detached homes. Advantages are that the entire space around the building is private to the owner and family, in most cases (depending on federal, state/provincial and local laws) you can add on to the existing house if more room is needed and there are generally no property management fees such as the ones associated with condominiums and townhomes.
There are also many disadvantages to owning a single-family detached home. All maintenance and repair costs—interior, exterior and everything in between—are at the owner’s expense. There is often a lack of amenities such as pools and playgrounds (although some single-detached homes do have these features within the lot or nearby, their owners are commonly required to pay a homeowners fee as those in condos or townhomes). Landscaping and lawn upkeep costs are at the owner’s expense.
- Duplex or semi-detached- One building consisting of two separate “houses”, typically side by side, each with separate entrances and typically without common inside areas. Each of the two houses typically has separate owners.
- Townhouse – a house attached to any number of other townhouses each of which may have multiple floors, commonly side by side each with their own separate entrances. Each such house has its own owner.
- Apartment building – a building with multiple apartments. There can be multiple apartments on each floor and there are often multiple floors. Apartment building can range in many sizes, some with only a few apartments, other with hundreds of apartments on many floors, or any size in between. There are often inside hallways and inside entrances to each apartment, but outside entrances to each apartment are also possible. An apartment building can be owned by one party and each of the apartments rented to tenants or each of the apartments can be owned as a condominium by separate parties.
- Mixed use building – a building with space for both commercial, business, or office use, and space for residential use. Possible arrangements include the commercial/business use on the first or first couple floors and one or more apartments or residential spaces on the upper floors. Another possibility is to have the commercial/business area up front and the residential area in the back. Some or maybe all of the space may be used by the owner or some or all the business and residential units may be leased by the owner. Condominium ownership is also possible.
In real estate, a lot is a tract or parcel of land owned or meant to be owned by some owner(s). A lot is essentially considered a parcel of real property in some countries or immovable property (meaning practically the same thing) in other countries. Possible owner(s) of a lot can be one or more person(s) or another legal entity, such as a company/corporation, organization, government, or trust. A common form of ownership of a lot is called fee simple in some countries.
Sometimes, some may refer to a lot as a rather small area of land that is empty except for pavement or similar improvement. An example would be a parking lot. This article covers lots as parcels of land meant to be owned as units by an owner(s).
Like most other types of real estate, lots owned by private parties are subject to a periodic real estate tax payable by the owners to local governments such as a county or municipality. Real estate taxes are assessed based on the value of the real property. Sometimes there are also taxes when a lot is sold based on the sale price. Other fees by government are possible for improvements such as curbs and sidewalks or an impact fee for building a house on a vacant lot.
Manufactured housing (also known as prefabricated housing) is a type of housing unit that is largely assembled in factories and then transported to sites of use.
In the United States, the term manufactured housing specifically refers to a house built entirely in a protected environment under a federal code set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The term mobile home describes factory-built homes produced prior to the 1976 HUD Code enactment.
The original focus of this form of housing was its mobility. Units were initially marketed primarily to people whose lifestyle required mobility. However, beginning in the 1950s, these homes began to be marketed primarily as an inexpensive form of housing designed to be set up and left in a location for long periods of time, or even permanently installed with a masonry foundation. Previously, units had been eight feet or less in width, but in 1956, the 10-foot (3.0 m) wide home was introduced. This helped solidify the line between mobile and house/travel trailers, since the smaller units could be moved simply with an automobile, but the larger, wider units required the services of a professional trucking company. In the 1960s and ’70s, the homes became even longer and wider, making the mobility of the units more difficult. Today, when a factory-built home is moved to a location, it is usually kept there permanently. The mobility of the units has considerably decreased.