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What Does Detached Mean in Real Estate?

by Trudy Brunot

Housing comes in many shapes and sizes. Real estate listings can describe a dwelling's architecture in terms of roofline such as mansard, or characteristics such as Queen Anne, which features a turret that distinguishes it from being simply Victorian. Descriptions also denote building style in terms of proximity to other structures. The term "detached" represents a common way to explain that a property stands alone.

Detached vs. Attached House

The real estate industry refers to single-family homes that sit on their own lot without sharing any walls with another home or building as detached residences. Attached housing, on the other hand, shares walls on both sides with another home. Based on U.S. Census Bureau statistics and a 2010 American Community Survey, 60 to 79 percent of American homeowners consistently opted for detached housing between 1949 and 2010. Detached housing provides distance between neighbors, a greater sense of privacy and more floor space than attached housing.

Semi-Attached House

A home can be semi-attached if it shares only one outside wall with another home. The two residences in a duplex are each semi-attached because they have a common wall on one side. Semi-detached homes generally give owners less living space than fully detached housing and may require a more diplomatic approach to neighbor relations. According to Duplex.net, a duplex viewed as one structure on a single lot can be referred to as a semi-detached building.

Detached Condominium

Another type of detached housing, the detached condo, combines a single-family detached home with the ownership format of a condominium. According to MSN Real Estate, detached condos offer owners a more homey feel to condo life and give municipalities an attractive alternative to traditional, high-density housing developments. Like condominium owners, detached condo owners pay association dues. Unlike owners of single-family detached homes, they may not own the land their dwelling sits on, just the building.

Detached Garage

The term "detached" also applies to garages associated with residences. A detached garage sits apart from the house, often adjacent to an alley behind it. Bankrate.com notes that detached garages may cost more to insure than a garage attached to the home, but do not sap residential heat or pose a fume hazard.

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