If you’re looking to buy a home, your browsing can turn up a wide range of listings: houses, condos, townhouses and more. In your search for a place that fits your budget, you might come across a type of property known as a patio home.
What is a patio home?
While you might think a “patio home” is simply an obvious description for a home with a patio, that’s not the case. Oddly enough, a patio home doesn’t have to have a patio, patio homes are sometimes called garden or cluster homes.
Patio homes are typically part of a community of other patio homes. While they vary in appearance and size, the majority are limited by height, rarely exceeding one-and-a-half stories.
Patio home vs. condo vs. townhouse
A patio home does have one commonality with a condominium and a townhouse: All of these are considered “attached residences,” meaning they share walls with other units.
Condos often do not own the land directly under the property and can share multiple walls, similar to an apartment. A townhome does own the land under the property and often has multiple levels with units sharing the side walls.
Like a townhouse, a patio includes the land underneath the property. The difference between these two is what’s above the ground.
The main difference between a townhome and patio home is that patio homes are on a single level, some patio homes extend another half story. The main living space doesn’t have stairs. A patio home can have a similar layout of a ranch home with smaller square footage.
How much does a patio home cost?
Like all real estate, the price of a patio home depends on size and location. A three-bedroom patio home on a golf course in The Woodlands, Texas has a different price tag than a similar property in Humble, Texas, for instance.
Regardless of where you might be considering buying a patio home, know that the list price might look more appealing than a standalone property that isn’t part of a community. There’s a catch, though: You’ll pay HOA fees.
While a patio home may cost less than a similar single-family ranch home, buyers need to factor in the association fees. Smaller communities may just cover the grounds maintenance. However, larger communities may have pools, tennis courts, clubhouses and other amenities that require substantial fees
Who are patio homes best for?
The patio home style is an ideal fit for homeowners who don’t want to deal with stairs.
Those who may have mobility issues or very young children may require a home with no steps that could be a tripping hazard. They’re very popular for those who are downsizing, and many 55-plus communities have patio homes.
In addition to the absence of stairs, there is also an absence of maintenance in many patio home communities. Many patio homeowners associations handle landscaping duties, which negates the need for a lawn mower or garden tools.
How to finance a patio home
The process of finding a mortgage lender to help you buy a patio home is similar to the process of getting a loan for a condo, townhouse or single-family property — you can expect the lender to verify your creditworthiness and order an appraisal of the property.
Keep in mind that the lender will make sure you can not only afford to repay the mortgage, but also pay the HOA fees. You can use our mortgage calculator to get an idea of how much you can afford to spend.
How to find a patio home
Patio homes aren’t as widely available as other types of properties, but they are cropping up in more developments across the country. As you start your home search, consider working with our local real estate agents who can help point you to patio homes in your area.
Find other housing types:
- Condominium – Condos appeal to those looking for a lower-maintenance living, home with a sense of security, opportunities to be social with neighbors, among other factors
- Townhouse – Townhouses are a particularly good option for first-time homebuyers or other budget-minded home buyers who want more space than typically afforded in a condo
- Single Family Home – Single-family homes are best for families who prefer a huge yard and plenty of room to spread out. Others still prefer a low-maintenance condo or townhome that includes benefits like landscaping, snow removal and exterior maintenance.
- Multi Family Home – Multi-family homes are best for those who are interested in getting into real estate investing and are comfortable with the added responsibility and time commitment that comes with being a landlord.
- Patio Home – Typically capped at one-and-a-half stories and part of a larger association, patio homes are best for homeowners who don’t want to deal with stairs or maintenance.
- Waterfront Home – Waterfront means the area of water which is immediately capable of use from the land, together with the area of land adjacent to the water, which is necessary to allow use of the above area of water