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What is a Patio House?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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A patio house is an American term often used loosely in real estate to mean two homes that share one wall and the same roof as well as a common, landscaped yard. Patio homes first became popular in the United States in the 1970s. They're often located in suburban areas and are typically one story, although some patio houses are two-story homes. Usually, these twin homes have a large patio in the back, hence their name.

Cluster homes is a term sometimes used to describe a real estate development made up of patio houses. While some people may live in a patio house only seasonally, others reside in this type of home year round. Typically, American patio homeowners pay a monthly homeowners' association (HOA) fee for exterior maintenance and landscaping upkeep. Homeowners' associations are usually managed by real estate developers as a way of providing building and land care to buyers of their properties. Some patio home developments include amenities such as a swimming pool and tennis court.

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Townhomes differ from true patio homes in that they may have three or more separate houses under the same roof rather than only two. Whereas a patio home always has some type of private yard, a townhome, or townhouse, may not. Also, most townhouses are at least two stories, while the majority of patio homes are only one story. The concept of having a self-contained house with yard space and only sharing one wall is appealing to many home buyers who choose patio homes over condominiums. The one-story patio house is often ideal for seniors or people with mobility issues.

Since patio houses are in pairs that share the roof and one wall, they are often less expensive than regular, single homes. The interior space is also often smaller in patio homes. The layout in a patio house is usually basic, yet comfortable and organized. Oftentimes, the bedrooms are grouped together in one section of the house, while the entryway, living and dining rooms lead in to the kitchen. The patio tends to be located directly off the kitchen.

A great bonus in having a patio home is usually being able to enjoy at least a small yard and deck. Most patio house real estate developments allow the homeowners to add privacy fences as well as outdoor barbecues to their space. Patio houses may also be called carriage or garden homes.

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