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What is a Complex House?

A complex house is a group of homes built together as a single development. Check out the different types of complex houses and where you can find them.

Night blue sky, gray brick with black wrought iron gates, gray with white trim town houses

When I was looking for a new home, I was amazed by all the different options available. Not only are there different types of houses, but each community is different, too. However, there is no shortage of places to live on the market, and the more you understand about different housing complex options, the easier it may be for you to find the best house or properties for your family. 

As a general rule, a complex house is a group of homes built together as a single development. A complex house may also be referred to as a housing complex or housing development. They are designed to control traffic flow and provide recreational space. 

Types of Housing Complexes

The defining characteristic of a housing complex is that the buildings are attached to another building. The unit in which you live in a small piece of a bigger whole. Depending on the different types of housing, the small piece may be larger than you think.

1. Townhouse

Bright blue sky, street of colorful townhouses, three levels

A townhouse is a balance between a condo and a single family home. Townhouses have multiple floors, and one or two shared walls. They often have a small outdoor space or yard. Some may have a rooftop deck. Typically, townhouses are larger than condos but smaller than single family homes. A townhouse offers more privacy than other types of housing complexes. They usually have a maintenance program or Homeowner’s Association (HOA) to handle the outside maintenance. Townhouses may or may not offer amenities like a gym or pool.

2. Condominium

Bright blue wky with fliffy white clouds, white with black trim condo building with balconys

A condominium, often called a condo, is a unit within a larger building that is part of a community of buildings. Condos share walls, possibly a ceiling and floor with other units. There is typically little to no maintenance required of the outside as there is a HOA to handle those items. However, the condo owners must pay dues for those maintenance issues. These dues go towards larger items like the roof. Therefore, there is less individual responsibility when owning a condo. Condos are most popular in high density areas where there is a community of stores and restaurants. They often have shared areas like a gym, pools, and lounge areas.

3. Co-op

Cloudy sky, tall gray and red Co-Op building

A Co-op, or cooperative, is different from most other housing complex options. In a townhouse or condo, you have the deed or title to the space inside the building. When you live in a co-op, everyone living in the building owns the entire building. You own it with other people. There is typically an interview process before anyone can become a part of the community due to the shared responsibility. The community handles the maintenance, which allows for HOA dues to be lower. However, the majority must agree on the decisions that are made.

4. Multi-Family Home

Sunny day, tall green trees, thick stone pillar multi family home, cream with blue door

A multi-family is not as common as some of the other types of housing development options. Often, these are large homes that have been converted into several units. Typically it is two units but can be as many as four. Anything over four units is considered a commercial building. Multi-family homes have one owner. They can be similar to a row home style or have multiple floors. The units may have their own entrance, or they share the main entrance. These are an excellent option for a multi-generational household.

5. Apartment

Blue sky with white fluffy clouds, tall blue and cream apartment buildings, white window trim

Often when living in an apartment, you are renting and do not own it. There are, however, exceptions to this. In some major cities, you can buy an apartment. There are many different types of apartments, but there are some defining characteristics in general. A property maintenance company typically owns apartment buildings. An apartment is a single living space in a building of other similar living spaces. Each apartment may have its own outside entrance, or there could be a main entrance allowing you into a hallway that leads to the front doors of the apartments. Apartments typically share all walls, floors, and ceilings. The first floor of an apartment does not have anyone below them. An apartment does not typically have a lot of rooms. When living in an apartment, you have no responsibility for maintaining or caring for the space. However, there is a maintenance department you can contact for any concerns.

6. Land

Light blue sky, large luscious green land with a pond and large green trees

While this may seem an odd addition to place on a list of housing complex options, it is a blank slate on which anything can be built. There are no homes, condos, apartments, or communities in this space. However, the only restrictions you face when it comes to building a housing complex on open land are local restrictions. It is difficult to purchase available land because it requires a large deposit. The location of the land will drive the prices. Banks are less likely to approve loans for open land. In general, they are no longer supported. However, if you can afford it and it is located in an ideal location, it may be worth the pursuit.

What to Look For in Housing Complexes

When considering the right housing complex, there are several factors to consider. Obviously, budget is a predominant factor. You do not want to move somewhere that you cannot afford.

Centrally Located

You want to move to a housing complex that is located close to what matters to you. There is a limit on how much land that is available. Depending on where you live, such as a major city, there could already be much less land than in a farming area. You want to consider a place there is near work, school, major highways, and retail shopping. If you cannot be centrally located to all of those, you must decide which of them is most important and find a home close to that.


Everyone has a different idea of an appealing neighborhood. It is helpful if you know what you want so you can look for the neighborhood you want. This includes amenities, accessibility, and appearance. The neighborhood you choose may indicate the lot size that is available to you. The amenities may include items such as grocery stores, shops, and restaurants. Most people look for convenience in the neighborhoods. If you could have everything within walking distance, think of how much time and money that could save. School is another important factor if you have or plan to have school age children. Parents want their children to have access to good schools. If they could find that in their own neighborhood, that would be ideal.

The Actual House

While all of these other factors are important, they are not as critical as the house itself. There are some points to consider. Are you looking for a home that is your forever home, or just a pitstop on your path, or a home that will be an investment? The answer to that question helps guide you towards the house for which you want to search. If you want an investment, a fixer upper house may be the best one for you. However, if you want a forever home, you may decide to pick a house that is in perfect condition. The size of the lot should matter, also. The house on top of the land can always be gutted or torn down. The land will always hold its value. This may lead you to purchase a house that is not in the best shape if the lot is large and in a great location.