What is a Patio Home?

By PropertyClub Team
May 5th 2021
If you’re currently on the market for a new home, you may have recently found yourself wondering what is a “patio home?” 

In the United States, a patio home refers to a single-family home that shares at least one wall with one other house. “But what about the patio?” Well, despite its admittedly deceiving name, patio homes do not require a patio to be classified as such. In fact, many patio homes do not have a patio or porch at all. If you are feeling confused by this, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Entering house hunting territory means that you will encounter some unfamiliar terms. 

Hopefully, we can clarify a few of them for you. Let’s take a moment to define patio homes. Then, we’ll discuss a few other similar types of dwellings.

hash-markSo, what is a patio home exactly? 

Since patio homes share at least one wall with other homes, they are often found in patio home communities. The size of the community itself can vary considerably. If you do own a patio home, you may also be required to pay an association fee. This fee will provide you with some benefits, however, such as exterior and landscape maintenance. In larger communities, you may also have access to shared amenities like a pool, a fitness area, or even a community center where you can hold small gatherings (did anyone say bingo?). Patio homes can be found across the United States but are currently most concentrated in the Northeastern region. You can commonly find these communities near golf courses or other quiet, suburban areas. 

If you are thinking to yourself, “this sounds a heck of a whole lot like a townhome,” you are not too far off. There are indeed a lot of similarities between a townhome and a patio home. Overall, they are pretty similar in terms of architecture. The main difference between the two is size. Townhomes most commonly have two floors, whereas a patio home does not rise higher than one or, sometimes, one-and-half stories. If a patio home comes with a “half story,” this is usually a loft or a bedroom, and it likely would not have a bathroom on that floor—which would be more typical of a regular-sized layout. 

hash-markPatio homes vs condos

With a bit of luck, we have answered your main question regarding: “what is a patio home?” Now that we’ve discussed some of the basics, let’s compare patio homes and condos. Condos can be found in all shapes and sizes. They can either be part of a single building or as a community of buildings. Condos can be either one or two floors. What patio homes and condos have in common is that they both share at least one wall with another unit. The main distinction is that after you buy a condo, you own just the interior of the building, whereas, with a patio home or a townhome, you own and are responsible for the interior and the exterior property structures. In other words, if you own a patio home, you also own the lot that it sits on (patio, fence, lawn, walkway, etc.) In condos, the outside areas are actually owned and maintained by a homeowner’s association (HOA). As mentioned above, patio homes are sometimes governed by an HOA as well, but not exclusively. On the other hand, condos are almost always supervised by an external association or condo board. Although having an HOA can have some benefits, it also means giving up a degree of control over the aesthetic features of the exterior—unfortunately, that boldly colored dream home might just have to wait. 

hash-markWhat are garden homes?

Interestingly, a garden home is the same thing as a patio home, and the two terms can be used interchangeably. To clear up any confusion, there are few other names that these smaller, single-family homes often go by. Some examples can include cluster homes, garden villas, courtyard homes, or club homes. Because there are several different associated terms, they are frequently confused. If you are searching for a home and are unsure of its exact classification, check with the owner or realtor, and they should be able to clarify any questions. 

hash-markWho are patio homes good for?

Because of their smaller size and low maintenance, patio homes are popular among first-time homebuyers, small families, or retirees. What is a patio home’s major advantage, you ask? It’s a wonderful option for any individual looking to buy a home and not break the bank. Because of its modest size and smaller lots, patio homes tend to be a lot more affordable than more traditional, single-family homes. 

hash-markAre there any disadvantages? 

Not needing to take care of a large yard can be a major advantage for some individuals. Yard care can be very costly and labor-intensive. For some, a small yard can be a disadvantage. There will be limited green space in a patio home. If having a larger plot is important to you, you may need to consider a single-family home instead. 

Since a patio home does require you to share a wall with your neighbor as well as some of the external structures, privacy and noise may be of concern for some people. These issues will vary greatly from place to place. Before you buy a patio home, it may be beneficial to do a little bit of research on the neighborhood. For example, you could ask your prospective neighbors about noise in the area. This will give you a better idea of what you may be buying into. The quality of insulation and windows are another factor that can influence noise levels. Simply changing out the windows on your new home can make a world of difference. 

I hope that this article gave you a better idea of whether a patio home is right for you and your family. Plus, next time someone asks you, “what is a patio home?” you’ll know exactly what to say!