House-hunting can quickly descend into chaos if you aren’t clued in about the types of houses you’re after. This guide introduces you to the most common kinds of property you’re likely to find, helping you start as you mean to go on.
There is great variation between the properties of different countries. In the United Kingdom, there are lots of house types to explore. You will probably have heard of many of the types, but you may not be able to give an accurate definition of each one. If you have questions, you’ll find the answers below.
Semi-detached houses are laid out in pairs. Two houses stand side-by-side and share a wall, while all other walls are separate from other neighbouring houses. Often, the two houses are symmetrical in appearance and design. A semi-detached house is usually more affordable than a detached one, offering a moderate amount of privacy. Often, there is also space to extend at the rear.
A detached house is a solitary presence on a piece of land, which offers good privacy to its inhabitants. They often sit on large areas of land, and the house is likely to be fairly large. They are still a part of the surrounding neighbourhood, without sharing any walls with adjacent houses. Detached houses are very desirable and, since they are highly sought after, they usually carry a heftier price tag than their semi-detached counterparts. That extra privacy comes at a premium.
These are quite iconic in some parts of the UK. Terraced houses are usually in rows where the structure of each house is roughly identical. Each of the houses in these rows is a terraced house, sharing a wall with a neighbour on both sides. Consequently, all the rooms in a terraced house will be connected to a room in your next-door neighbour’s house. These types of houses usually offer good value for your money, but you’ll need to keep noise levels low to avoid disturbing the people next door.
End of terrace properties
This type of house is pretty much summed up but the name. It’s a house on the end of a series of terraced houses. A terraced house will share a wall with the neighbour on one side, while the wall on the opposite side is independent. In this way, they are very similar to their semi-detached cousins, but we class them separately since they’re connected to a row of terraced houses.
It’s easy to mistake a bungalow for a cottage, and vice-versa. It’s an understandable mistake, but the two property types are very distinct from one another. For a start, a bungalow is smaller in height, usually consisting of a single floor. They’re a great option for buyers who need a spacious property but don’t want stairs. Sometimes they are semi-detached, but detached bungalows are more common.
You might think that, since they are completely contained in a single floor, a bungalow is less expensive than another house type. In reality, they are often more expensive. This is because they take up more land in order to contain the same amount of floor space as a house that has 2 floors.
A cottage is a traditional type of house in the UK. They often have thick walls, low ceilings, small windows, structural beams and pillars and even thatched rooves. They stand approximately 1½ storeys in height, usually comprised of 2 floors. The first floor tends to be smaller in size compared to the ground floor.
It’s not uncommon for a cottage to be terraced, but the more desirable ones are usually detached. They are modest in size, but have lots of character and are steeped in tradition. This means they often come at a premium. Cottages are most often located in rural or semi-rural regions.
This type of property isn’t a house per se, but flats are actually among the UK’s most common forms of residential property. In most cases, a flat will occupy one storey of a building that has 2 or more floors. It may occupy an entire floor, or just a part of it, depending on the building. There are flats that occupy 2 storeys, but these are far less common.
There is great variation in price when it comes to flats. The price is usually determined by factors like size, layout and location – a luxurious flat in a desirable area will cost as much as some houses. A smaller flat in a cheaper location, on the other hand, are usually far more affordable than the majority of other property types. This makes them a popular choice for many buyers.
Are mortgages affected by property types?
You are probably aware that there are various types of mortgage, including:
The type you need will not be dictated by the house type you are buying. The main factors that will impact on what type of mortgage involves your individual circumstances, including your plans for the property you intend to buy. Will it be a residential property, or will it be used for commercial purposes? Is it a second home, or perhaps a buy-to-let investment?
If you want to learn more about different mortgage types and which is the best option for you, contact Think Plutus and tell us about your circumstances.
What about insurance?
Building insurance is necessary for everyone. Whether you live in a humble flat or an 8-bedroom mansion, if you’re using a mortgage to buy a home, you need building insurance. It is a compulsory requirement for every lender.
The details of your insurance policy will depend largely on your needs and the property type you purchase, as well as what you can actually afford. A cottage with a thatched roof, for example, usually requires a specific insurance policy because there is a greater risk of fire. The same is true of houses with timber frames. Meanwhile, a detached house might have an identical insurance package to a terraced one, but the actual price will be scaled appropriately. You might also want to consider contents insurance, though this isn’t compulsory.
Whether you are buying your first home or looking to buy a second property, understanding the types of houses available is important. For expert help getting the right mortgage for the property you want, contact Think Plutus and speak to one of our specialist mortgage advisers.