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Styling and Profiling: A Buyers Handbook to Housing Styles

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From New England’s Cape Cod to San Francisco’s Victorian, housing styles from coast to coast can be found right on your block. While you don’t need to be an architect to shop for a home, it doesn’t hurt to know the main categories of styles found in the various neighborhoods and streets you’re searching.

Knowing and understanding the style you prefer is a helpful tool in your search for the perfect home. For example, if you want to avoid stairs in your next home, you should look at Ranch-style properties rather than a Colonial. Be up front with your Realtor about your expectations so he or she can find the most appropriate match.

When shopping the housing scene, recognize these home styles:

Colonial. These two-story, rectangular-shaped homes are sometimes referred to as a saltbox in reference to the old wooden, wall-hung saltboxes from the 1700s.

Ranch. Uniquely American, Ranch homes are identifiable by their long footprint and single level stature.

Split-Level. Made popular after World War II because of the spaciousness, Split-Level homes have a lower living area just below ground level, followed by the kitchen, living and dining rooms resting atop and a third upper level for bedrooms.

Tudor. Modeled after the English country cottage, Tudor styling features a combination of light-colored stucco and distinctive dark-wood timbering.

Victorian. This term references several styles of homes built around the industrial era from 1840 and 1900. These homes are usually two or three-stories and feature porches, peaked roofs and decorative trim.

Bungalow. In the early 1900s, builders started designing homes that were compact, economical, and informal. The Bungalow style was typically small with a single story or a tight second story built into a sloping roof.

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