Real estate investors new to the business are often surprised and somewhat confused by the variations and breadth of real estate property types and classifications. They differ by source and with whom is doing the classification. Even seasoned investors may see an array of classifications that may confuse at first glimpse.
For real estate investors, realtors, and brokers, the three major types of real estate properties are vacant land, residential, and commercial properties. With vacant land, location, size, and pricing can make an investor a most lucrative investment. Land can be residential or commercial, as empty land can be and often is zoned for commercial use.
There are so many residential property types out there that even a listing of them is a veritable real estate glossary.
The most common one, of course, is the single family home. A free standing, unattached dwelling on a lot larger than the dwelling structure. Then there are the sundry variations. The zero lot home, the patio home, the villa, the cottage or bungalow, the cabin, and carriage and courtyard homes, to name several. there are town homes, also referred to as town houses, and condominiums, which are individually owned units of real estate in a building or on land that is owned in common by the unit owners collectively.
More extreme residential products include housing cooperatives and separately, time shares, which are also referred to as interval ownership or fractional private residence club ownership. Some investors are unaware that multi-family housing of four units, units are often referred to as doors, or less are deemed residential not commercial and include duplexes, consisting of two units per building, triplexes, consisting of three units per building, and lastly, quadriplexes, also referred to as quads or fourplexes, consisting of four units per building. Customarily, duplexes and triplexes are built side by side whereas quads are generally constructed back to back.
Real estate investment types are often referred to as either income or non-income producing properties and as such, are generally categorized as office, retail, industrial, and multi-family. As such, industrial and multi-family are generally deemed the most stable to invest in and office properties deemed the flagship investment of this group.