If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed by the sheer number of possibilities. Some neighborhoods may have homes that all look alike, but if you’re open to different neighborhoods, or even different cities, you’ll quickly become acquainted with the dozens of different architectural styles that are available.
How should you go about choosing a style of home that suits you best?
Learn and Explore Existing Styles
The best thing you can do is learn more about each style and how those styles manifest in different homes. As you might imagine, some houses fall neatly into architectural categories, while others are harder to place, offering a kind of hybrid between multiple styles. You might also find that some styles that look good on paper don’t feel the same in person. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to visit many of these home styles before setting your heart on one.
There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of styles out there, but these are some of the most common:
- New homes. New homes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often offering a modern or post-modern appeal. They’ve been built recently, with the latest architectural standards, and usually offer sleek exteriors.
- Colonial. Colonial homes come with a variety of subsets, including Dutch colonial, German colonial, and colonial revival styles. However they all have a similar appearance, typically standing at two stories with rows of front-facing windows.
- Victorian. Victorian homes are more stylistically distinctive, often having pointed spires and a sense of grandeur about them. The prototypical Victorian house was built in the 1800s, but modern buildings often mimic this architecture.
- Neoclassical. Neoclassical home tend to mimic the styles of ancient Greek architecture, prominently featuring pillars and peaks that call classical architecture to mind.
- Ranch. American ranch-style homes are typically flat and close to the ground, with a wide, open layout designed for a casual living style.
Home style availability will vary greatly depending on your country and neighborhood. If you’re open to multiple areas, be sure to visit and tour homes in many of them.
Determine Your Priorities
There are many good reasons to choose a particular architectural style, but when you make your decision, you should know where your priorities lie (and how they manifest). For example, you might consider:
- Mobility. Some homes offer more convenient mobility than others. For example, if you live with arthritis or a physical disability, you might strongly prefer a house that’s only one story.
- Aesthetics. One of the most important factors is aesthetics; how does this home look to you, subjectively, when you see it from the outside and the inside? There isn’t a right answer here, nor are there many objective factors you can point to in order to make your decision. Instead, this one is purely personal preference.
- Space. You’ll also need to consider how much space the home offers. Some architectural styles offer high ceilings and lots of interior room, while others are more compact by design. The amount of space in your home will dictate how much you can store, how you arrange your furniture, and even how you get around. It’s not a factor to take lightly.
- Upkeep. Some styles of home will have greater demand for upkeep than others. For example, older homes tend to suffer more wear and tear than newer homes, and will demand more time and money to keep them in good shape. Some homes also have complex interiors or exteriors, made from materials that make them hard to clean, inspect, or repair.
- Neighborhood considerations. The style of your home may look better or worse depending on the neighborhood. For example, if every home in the area looks the same, it could rob your home of character. If it’s too different, it may stick out like a sore thumb.
- Resale value. You’ll also want to consider the home’s potential resale value. Some styles of home have a higher likelihood of preserving their resale value over time.
The Bottom Line: Do Your Research and Trust Your Instincts
There isn’t one style that’s inherently better than the others. Each has strengths, weaknesses, and a unique subjective appeal. All you can do is research the architectural styles available to you and land on the decision most likely to serve your needs and make you happy. Put time and thought into the decision, but try not to overthink it.