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What’s a Single Family Home?

A single family home is a free-standing dwelling that offers fee simple ownership.  Let’s take a closer look at the common characteristics of this property type with the widest range of financing options.

alt="Mother and young son gardening in the front yard of their fee simple single family home"


Fee Simple Ownership

In most cases, single family homes offer fee simple ownership. Fee simple is the highest form of ownership and grants title to the property, the land, and any improvements to the land in perpetuity.   A fee simple owner has the right to possess, use, and dispose of the land as he or she wishes.  Fee simple owners can lease their property, sell it, trade it, and pass it to others upon death.  Of course, there are limitations.  Encumbrances can still be placed on the property if the owner fails to pay their mortgage, property taxes, or expenses for improvements through a mechanic’s lien.  The homeowner will also need to abide by any zoning or HOA restrictions in place.  It is common for homeowner’s associations to require approval from their architectural review board for renovations that could interfere with the uniformity of the community.


Characteristics of a Single Family Home

  • One Owner: A single-family home is built as the residence for one family, person, or household, whose owner has an undivided interest in the property.
  • Stand-Alone / Detached Property:  Unlike a townhouse or condo, the home doesn’t share common walls or a roof with any other dwelling.
  • Land: Built on its own parcel of land.  The lot is reserved for the private use of the owner.  Utility easements are an exception. These easements exist so that electricity, gas, sewer, water, internet, and cable companies can access equipment on your property to ensure that your utility service is not interrupted.
  • Utilities: Only one set of utilities can service a single-family home.
  • Entrance and Exit:  Has private and direct access to a street or thoroughfare.
  • Single Kitchen: A single-family home generally has one kitchen (adding a kitchen to an in-law suite or pool house can violate zoning classifications).
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