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Depending on what part of the country you are searching for a new home, you will see common styles and designs among most of the houses. According to real estate research by Zillow, architectural home styles vary by region and even by city or state. From California beach houses to New England Dutch colonials, the architectural style and popularity are a narrative of a region’s history, culture and natural terrain. Take a look at these distinctive and most popular American home styles and where to find them across the country.

Ranch House

The ranch/bungalow-style home is king in the midwest and southwest. According to MSN Real Estate, ranch-style homes in the U.S. became popular with the suburban sprawl after World War II. Garages and carports were large selling points for suburban commuters and families with multiple cars. These homes were designed for families and integrated an indoor/outdoor lifestyle with patios and glass doors. These homes are usually a single level with a long profile and lower roof with minimal ornamentation.

Photo by Ed Uthman via Wikimedia Commons

Homebuyer’s tip: Ranch-style homes are simple and plain and typically not at the top of a homebuyer’s list of dream houses. However, as most of these homes are approaching 50 years or more, real estate agents are singing their praises as something to covet and preserve. The simplicity and plain exterior of these homes make them much more affordable and, according to the Wall Street Journal, these homes are easier to renovate and customize. The maintenance and energy costs of ranch homes are lower, and older residents appreciate the one-level layout.


Italianate homes were first seen on the East Coast in the 1850s, but became widely popular in Chicago in the 1870s, according to CityofChicago.org. The style of these homes puts strong emphasis on ornamentation. They are boxy in design with ornamental eaves, brackets, doorways and porches. The windows are also intricately decorated and are generally tall, narrow and arched. According to HGTV, these homes were loosely based on Italian villas, but became so popular in the U.S. in the mid to late 1800s that it was also known as “American style.”

Photo by Sardaka via Wikimedia Commons

Homebuyer’s tip: These homes are generally durable and can last for generations, but their uniquely tall, rounded windows may require specialized, custom window repair or replacement. If you are searching for a Chicago home, home-exterior specialists such as Champion Windows can install replacement windows that are designed to withstand weather and other natural elements.

Victorian Queen Anne

Victorian homes, specifically Queen Anne homes, are some of the most distinctive and elegant styles of American architecture. This was the most popular home style in the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Like Italianate homes, Queen Anne structures have ornate trim and detailed woodwork and excessive turrets, towers and gables. Victorian homes can be found all over the U.S., but San Francisco is most well known for having endless rows of intricate and ornate Victorian architecture.

Photo by Fletcher6 via Wikimedia Commons

Homebuyer’s tip: According to San Francisco Gate’s home guide, Victorian homes require much more love and care than most houses. Creaky floors, frequent leaks and drafts and constant maintenance are part of dedicating yourself to a Victorian Queen Anne home. SF Gate recommends finding an inspector who specializes in historical homes. The Historic Building Inspectors Association can help you find professionals who specialize in home inspections for historic homes and have the proper certifications and requirements.


Historical colonial states, such as Delaware, Virginia and Massachusetts have a wide variety of colonial and colonial revival homes. Colonial homes are made from brick or wood and have high, peaked roofs and generally have a distinct central chimney. Everything about the design is symmetrical and barn-like. There are often pillars and a gabled roof. According to MSN Real Estate, this home style was American colonists’ way of moving away from the Victorian English style to create an authentic American style.

Photo by Shakespeare via Wikimedia Commons

Homebuyer’s tip: If you are planning to expand your new home, Colonial styles may be the right fit. The symmetrical and boxy style make them easy to add on. The floor plans are generally flexible and easy to customize.

Cape Cod

East Coast states, such as Maine and New Hampshire, are where you will find impressive Cape Cod homes. Cape Cod houses were made popular in the 1930s, with their distinctive multi-paned windows, wood siding and steep-sloped roofs. These homes are typically 1 or 1.5 stories with a detached garage. Cape Cod homes are not ornate or decorated and rarely have an overhanging eave. According to Realtor.com, this simple style was designed for the wind and sand of coastal regions, but has become so popular that the style is replicated throughout the country.

Photo by Wiki Historian N OH via Wikimedia Commons

Homebuyer’s tip: Although Cape Cod houses can be found all over the country, HGTV Front Door explains that it is hard to duplicate the authentic look of the traditional coastal homes. The salty air helps oxidize the shingles to give them the distinctive grey look associated with this style. If you are contemplating a Cape Cod home not by the ocean, pre-stained shingles can imitate the traditional look.


Ford Mustang Turns 50!

April 16, 2014

The Ford Mustang turns 50 this month. While the first Mustang rolled off the Ford assembly line in March 1964, it wasn’t introduced to the public until April 17, 1964, at the New York World’s Fair. Named after a World War II fighter plane, it was the first of a new type of car called […]

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10 things estate sales won’t tell you

March 25, 2014

The liquidation business is driven by the four d’s: downsizing, death, divorce and debt. With about 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day, boomers account for many of the downsizers. But plenty of other people can find themselves in need of help dumping property — whether they are struggling to fit recently inherited antiques into a […]

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Kudos for Mark at Four Sales!

March 21, 2014

Dear Daniel, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve encountered Mark from Four Sales on a few occasions at your sales and he is by far the most professional manager I’ve encountered at any estate sale.   He clearly articulates to the buyers how the sale is going to run, where certain items are, […]

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New Ivory Rules – Take Heed!

March 4, 2014

Obama Administration Treats Antique Collectors and Dealers as Criminals: New Ivory Rules Also Put Elephants at Increased Risk. The Obama administration is preparing to treat virtually every antique collector, dealer, and auctioneer in America — and anyone else who happens to own a piece of ivory — as a criminal. In the name of saving […]

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Four Sales Gets Down and Dirty!!

February 26, 2014

Four Sales is a well known estate sale company in the DC metro area. I have attended probably 50 of their sales. At this high end sale, the grounds were very wet due to recent snowfall. It began to rain and someone got stuck in the mud in the parking area. I was blocked in […]

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5 Essentials for Renting Out Inherited Property

February 11, 2014

You weren’t expecting to have extra property to rent out, but through unforeseen circumstances you ended up with an extra house you don’t need to live in. Instead of letting it languish unoccupied, turn your unexpected boon into a long-term income stream to help you with your own bills. The slow recovery of the housing […]

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The Book Corner

January 29, 2014

Mark, I wanted to take a minute this frosty morning to say thank you for letting me buy some books and receive other unsold books from Four Sales estate sale events! This is my book corner of the thrift shop. You can see a few holes in the shelves that need filling up. I also […]

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Helpful At An Estate Sale in Maryland

January 26, 2014

Today, I purchased a Shepard’s Rod to put hanging baskets in my yard.  Howard did an excellent job of assisting me dig the Shepard’s Rod  out of the ground and help me fit/place the Shepard’s Rod into my car.  I probably would not have purchased the Shepard’s Rod without Howard’s assistance.  A tree root had […]

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Most Outrageous Toy Cars

December 21, 2013

Not really a child’s gift at these price points! Prices range from $600 to 7.5 million dollars. See http://t.autos.msn.com/features/most-outrageous-toy-cars-1?icid=autos_4979#image=10

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