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What types of housing are available?

Housing comes in several different forms, each with its own legal requirements, ownership arrangements, advantages and disadvantages. You can choose from:

  • Single family housing - one house on one lot.

  • Duplexes - a duplex is two separate dwellings under one roof. Two different family units live in the building, but one person owns it.

  • Split-lot duplexes - a duplex with two separate dwellings under one roof, but a different person can own each living unit.

  • Condominiums - you own your own living unit and an interest in the surrounding property. You pay a fee for maintenance of the property to a condominium owners association. Before buying a condo, be sure to:
    • Check out rules about resale and renting of the condo.
    • Check the budget of the homeowners association.
    • Find out who pays for future repairs. Are they in the maintenance budget or will you be billed?
    • Understand the insurance policy of the association.

  • Cooperatives - the mortgage is with the cooperative itself and you "buy in" to it. You pay your share of assessments, operating costs, and property taxes to the cooperative. You can still deduct your portion of taxes and interest.

  • Mobile homes - you own the home, which can be moved from location to location, either to land you own or to a rental lot in a mobile home community. Their low price can be very tempting, but mobile homes have a history of depreciating in value. Because of that, they are not taxed as real property, but are taxed as personal property, like a car or truck.




Brenda Procter, M.S., Consumer and Family Economics, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia










If you'd like to learn more about this and other personal finance topics, the University of Missouri offers 'Personal & Family Finance,' a correspondence course, through the Center for Distance and Independent Study (800-609-3727). Information about this course is available at





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Last update: Tuesday, July 22, 2008




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