What Is a Patio Home?

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Small patio with shared wall.
Small patio with shared wall. (Image: paulprescott72/iStock/Getty Images)

Despite it's name, a patio home is not a broad term for any type of residence with its own patio. Similar to a condo or townhouse, a patio home is one of a grouping of similar structures, typically part of a homeowner's association. There is no set, specific definition for the shape or design of a patio home, so the details and terminology may vary from one real-estate agent or region to the next.

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A patio home -- also called a garden home -- shares similarities with townhouse or condominium groupings. While a townhouse is typically two stories tall with at least one wall shared with a neighboring unit, a patio home may be a single-story structure. It may share a wall with a neighboring patio home or may be completely freestanding. Like condominiums and town homes, patio homes are part of a community of nearly identical structures with some shared common outdoor areas. Lawn maintenance and some exterior home maintenance concerns are covered by paying monthly homeowners' association fees. Some patio homes have their own patios or outdoor living spaces, as well as a feeling of a private yard. Patio homes are often very close together when individual structures are detached from one another entirely.

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