Are you interested in investing in flats, shop houses, and condos? Do you even know the difference between the three?

If you were looking to invest in multi-unit residential property in a country like Ireland, you might actually be considering an investment in a single family home that has been subdivided into multiple units they call “flats.” While in Southeast Asia, you might be in the market to pick up a series of units that they have designed to reside above commercial property, that they call, “shop houses.”

In the United States, the most common term for these various types of property’s seem to simply get generalized into a single category, “apartments.”

Unfortunately, since the term “apartment” can lend itself to so many property types depending on which North American market you are looking to invest in. For example, in New England there are blocks of six duplex-style, multi-level apartments that share a single wall and they call them, “six-packs.” But in Australia, that same terminology means a pre-1980’s building that has up to eight single story units all attached to one another.

You see, the need to have a deeper understanding of what it is that makes up a specific type of multi-unit or apartment building is crucial. Especially, if you plan on becoming a serious investor. Knowing what a specific property consists of on paper, can mean not being disappointed when you visit a property only to find that it isn’t the type of building you expected.

1. Studio Apartments

Regardless of the physical structure of the exterior building, a studio apartment is designed to be a single one room in which the bedroom, the kitchen, and any dining or living room space has been engineered to fit into one open space. The only separate room in the unit would be a bathroom. Some studios have an area that can be or has been sectioned or separated for sleeping.

2. Multi-Bedroom Apartments

The apartment units that fall into this category can range from a single, one bedroom apartment all the way up to a four bedroom apartment home. Aside from the bedrooms, these units come complete with separate living rooms, dining rooms, kitchen space, and one or more bathrooms. These multi-bedroom apartments are typically leased out to renters for a monthly fee, security deposit, and other miscellaneous terms.

These buildings can be built to be several stories high and can be made up of several buildings that are then considered an apartment complex.

3. Duplex or Triplex

A duplex is a composed of two separate single family dwellings that are either attached to one another via a single wall, or in some areas stacked one on top of the other.

A triplex follows the same principle only in sets of three.

4. Live and Work Style Apartment

Like the shop houses in Asia, a live and work style apartment are actually considered a mixed use building in which the property has been zoned to be both commercial and residential approved. For the most part, these apartment buildings have storage, office, or retail space on the ground level and the living space on the second floor.

5. Lofts

Known mainly for the fact that these units have higher than normal ceilings, loft apartments are usually built out of existing spaces and typically are found in either revamped commercial buildings or built into high-rise luxury suites. These open floor plans are usually made up of two levels, a main level that has no interior walls and another level that’s been designed to be the sleeping area.

6. Townhouse

A townhouse has been designed to be a single-family residences that can stand several stories tall and can be detached or connected in rows of four or more homes. Regardless, these properties have been built close enough together to maximize the use of the land in which they are built, while still offering the dwelling added features like private yards, garages, and interior amenities that would normally only be available in larger homes like fireplaces and basements.

7. Luxury Hi-Rise

This type of ultra-modern building is typically designed to stand at least twenty stories high and tend to offer its residence additional services that include on-site staff and concierge services as well as other on-site amenities like swimming pools,gyms, and valet services.



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