What is a Spanish Style Home?

A Spanish style home is perhaps one of the most identifiable and remarkable piece of architecture. Such houses have many easily identifiable characteristics that make them stand out. These characteristics have a deep-rooted history and share remarkable cultural and traditional values.

Not only are Spanish style homes aesthetically pleasing, they’re also built with a purpose. Most Spanish style homes in North America can be found in California, Florida, and Texas. Zumbly offers home scores for all kinds of homes, including Spanish style houses. Read more about this kind of architecture to see if it’s right for you.

Related: Beautiful Houses: 10 Best Styles

History of Spanish Style Houses

The introduction of Spanish style houses can be dated back to the period of the 1600s to 1800s. This is when Spaniards began to settle in temperate parts of the USA like California and Florida. They constructed houses similar to what they were used to, in styles that they were used to and materials that they were familiar with. This style of architecture was popularized in the 1900s with the Colonial Revival Movement. The influence of the architecture persists to this day and has ingrained itself into the Californian casual style.

The details in these houses, right from the architecture to design, is suitable for the climates in the states they’re popular in and that’s where they function the best.

There’s a reason why this style is popular to this day and the popularity doesn’t seem to be dying down. Here are some characteristics that have popularized Spanish style homes and have given them the unique look that everyone seems to love, admire and replicate.

Characteristics of Spanish Style Houses

Tile Roof

Not only does the red-tile roof serve as a distinguishing factor, but it also serves a purpose. The ‘S’ shaped tiles, which are usually red or maroon in color are arranged in a downward slope. These clay tiles help with keeping the house cool and also measure up against harsh climates. The clay-tiles are durable and last a lifetime while requiring only periodic maintenance.

Many houses also have flat roofs with the same red clay tiles, which require extra attention to drainage.

Arches and Arcades

Arches are an indisputable element of a Spanish style house. Many homes also have an arcade, which is a series of arches held together with columns. The arches are often seen in doorways or passages, while the arcades are often used for sheltered patios or courtyard boundaries.

White Stucco Exterior

White stucco exteriors are a mix of cement, water and sand or lime that are often applied by nad which gives a house an old-world charm. The earthy or white tone is what distinguishes Spanish style homes and gives them a distinct look. White is also said to be a cooler color that keeps the temperature under control as it reflects heat rather than absorb it. The thick walls also absorb the heat and store it in them and slowly release them all over the house during nighttime.

Painted tiles

Patterned and painted tiles decorated with ornate patterns can be found in the interiors of Spanish style homes. Usually, in bright colors, the tiles either have a glossy or matte finish. Walls and floors are often covered with patterned tiles and can also be found in staircases and kitchens.


Ornamental ironwork has a deep-rooted space in Spanish style homes. Wrought iron has made its mark as a unique characteristic that is almost exclusive to Spanish style homes. It often graces stair railings, gates, window grilles, lanterns and can be found in different corners of the house.

Ironwork is also prominent in the small windows of Spanish style homes which replace glass panes as a medium of sealing the windows.

Tower Chimnies

Another characteristic that gives Spanish style homes an old-world edge is tower chimnies. These functional chimnies give Spanish style homes a castle-like appearance and provide the perfect balance between form and function. Not only that, but they also give a sense of dominion to an otherwise one-storeyed architecture.

Guest Casitas

Casitas in Spanish translates to “little houses”. In a Spanish style home, these guest houses serve the purpose of a mother-in-law suite. They are either located in the front or back of the house and have a separate entrance.

Inner Courtyard

What used to be a space for open-cooking, the inner courtyard is now a space used for informal gatherings and events. Regardless, it is still an indisputable part of a Spanish style house and often incorporates shaded areas, which are perfect for summers and serve as a space for setting up fireplaces and barbeques for moderate winters.

Related: Renting versus Buying: The Ultimate Guide

One-Story Houses

Spanish style homes are attributed to be the predecessor of modern ranch style homes. These houses are often one story. While modern Spanish style homes do have multiple floors, one-story houses remain to be the popular choice. The houses with multiple floors are often part of the Spanish Colonial Revival movement.

Use of Indigenous Components

Spanish style homes are known for their use of indigenous components. Right from the clay tile for roofs to the material used for the construction of the house. This varies from location to location. Spanish style homes in the Southwest are made of adobe, while those in Florida often use coquina rock.

The reason why these are used is because of their resistance to heat and harsh temperate climates. The same adobe walls in wetter and colder climates tend to shrink and swell while in warm climates are incredibly long-lasting.


It’s no surprise that the attention to detail when it comes to Spanish style homes is immaculate. There’s no stone left unturned when it comes to bringing together form and functionality along with cultural elements. The houses are built for the environment they’re in and fit perfectly.

In today’s times, inclusion of these characteristics is more of a choice and is done keeping both the aesthetic and functionality in mind. Check out Spanish style homes and more at Zumbly.

Related: Buying a House Checklist

City vs. Suburb: Where Should You Live?

Deciding where to live is one of the biggest decision you’ll make in your life. Whether it’s buying a new home or just moving somewhere new, the locality will decide how you lead your day-to-day life. It’s a lot more than simply just about the money you’re spending on it or your financial situation.

Numerous factors need to be considered before you make a decision, such as the commute options, neighborhood demographics, available attractions, and so on. If you’re wondering whether to pick between the city and the suburbs, listed below are some pros and cons to let you decide which one will suit you best. Here at Zumbly, we’re dedicated to making house hunting easy for you. Get some ideas about where you want to live by reading our guide to city and suburban life.

Related: Need to Knows When Buying Your First House

Pros of Living in the City

  • City life offers you far more job opportunities. Regardless of the field you’re in, more and more companies are choosing to expand in the big city. If you’re an ambitious person who wants to make it big in life, living in the city will probably be a better option for you.
  • Not everyone needs a car. Many people don’t have a car for several reasons, ranging from affordability to not having a stable enough life to buy a car in a particular place. In such a situation, the question of a commute comes up. Cities save you in this regard as the public commuter options are plenty. You can choose to use the buses, cabs, or the subway, or even go walking or cycling in case your workplace is nearby. You can also get quite a lot done during the the commute.
  • Being in the city means having the option of attending all the big events. From sports to concerts to musicals, it’s all there in most cities. With city life, you’ll never have to worry about what to do during the weekends.
  • For someone who’s just starting out in life, living in a city can serve better because it means having to fret less about maintaining the place you live in. Maintenance costs are much higher in the suburbs. Also, cities have a lot more hardware stores around for you to run to in case of emergencies.

Cons of Living in the City

  • If you have kids and want to provide them with high-quality education, cities can often come as a hindrance to that. City schools are overcrowded with kids, and since property taxes fund the schools, the institutions in the inner cities often don’t have that good a standard to provide proper education.
  • The cost of living is much higher in a city. Even though cities offer you a better salary, the expenditure is a lot more, too, when compared to the suburbs. The price of regular items is higher due to the amplified demand and bigger population.
  • If peace and quiet is what you’re aiming for, you won’t find much of that in a city. Since everyone is always in a rush, the sound of traffic jams and car honking is inevitable. This is especially true in big cities like NYC. You have to get used to the noise if you choose city life.
  • In the city vs. suburb debate, cities lose in terms of space. It’s not possible to find a big apartment within a small price range. Also, you won’t have much if an area outside your house, such as a lawn or a yard, and you’ll often find yourself sharing a few walls with your neighbors.

Related: Beautiful Houses: 10 Best Styles

Pros of Living in a Suburb 

  • Suburbs offer you the peaceful existence many crave. When you get back home after a busy day, you’ll actually be able to relax by yourself or with your family, without the city noise blaring outside. The environment, too, is much cleaner in a suburb. Your kids will be able to play in the front yard or the backyard instead of having to walk to the park nearby. The houses are spaced just enough for you to meet your neighbors and make new friends.
  • Looking for a big space within a small budget? The suburbs have got you covered. While some suburbs are more expensive than others, if you look closely, you’ll find the one that’s just right for you. The mortgage payment of a suburban house is often less than the rent you pay in a city. Suburbs are also less expensive when compared to cities.
  • With larger grounds and better facilities, the school options in the suburbs can be far better than the ones offered in cities. As the council rates and property taxes are given for national school funding, the suburban schools benefit in this particular aspect.
  • Suburbs are generally much safer to live in. This is a big thing to consider, especially if you’re living with your family. The crime rates are much higher in the cities, and can make you feel pretty unsafe, especially when you’re out late during the night.

Cons of Living in a Suburb

  • Transportation and commuting can pose a problem in the suburbs. You need to own a car of your own to get by anywhere and everywhere. The public transport options are poor, and getting to the main roads and highways is difficult without a car.
  • When you prefer the buzz of activities around you, the suburbs can seem extremely boring to you. There’s barely anything to do, and the slower, almost dull pace of life can start to get to you. Festivals, concerts, nightlife are all pretty much missing in the suburbs.
  • The job market is more competitive in a suburb. This is because the options aren’t many, and most of the people in the suburbs are competing for the same jobs. Therefore, you might have to wait for a longer time to find the job you want.

Summing Up

Your personal choices and how you wish to lead your life are what will ultimately determine whether you should live in a city or in a suburb. While cities give you a more vibrant living experience, suburbs have a more peaceful ambience. Cities are better for singles who want to focus on their career, and suburbs are more for those who are looking to start a family.

All this ultimately differs from person to person. Therefore, weigh the pros and cons, and see which living option is the one for you. To find out what’s the best choice, browse homes in the city and the suburb with Zumbly.

Related: Renting versus Buying: The Ultimate Guide

What is Due Diligence in Real Estate?

What is Due Diligence in Real Estate?

Purchasing commercial or residential real estate is a daunting task. Prospective buyers research their options based on requirements, price, and location before zeroing in on a specific building.

The research process doesn’t end here.

In order to make sure the property purchase is compliant in every sense, significant due diligence should be carried out before signing the agreement papers. At Zumbly, we make the home buying process easy for you with our Calculator and other resources.

Related:  Need to Knows When Buying Your First House

Due Diligence

Due diligence is the extended process of ascertaining the fundamentals of the property, seller, compliance obligations, home insurance policies, and financing to mitigate long-term liabilities.

Significantly expensive purchases like a property purchase require a scrupulous examination of local zoning laws and restrictions, encroachments, homeowners’ association guidelines, etc. Due diligence checklists can be created and agreed upon by both parties well before the purchase contract is signed.

In order to ensure a transparent process, several states legally require the property seller to disclose defects and possible liens the property comes with. But a prudent buyer does their own legwork when it comes to verifying the finer details of the deal. The buyer can choose to consult with real estate experts or choose to conduct the process independently. The due diligence process can span from a few weeks to 2 or 3 days.

Proper Paperwork

Stack of spreadsheets

Paperwork can be tricky and offputting for new buyers. But certain documents have to be in place before plunging in.  Creating a detailed list of documents required to be produced by the buyer can be drawn up using a professional’s expert. Work with the buyer and the insurance agency to review the title insurance.

The property should be examined to determine insurance eligibility and premiums. Lease documents, zoning regulations, tax certificates, and the seller’s financial statements need to be verified and documented.

Contact the local municipality office to obtain documentation and ensure that the property’s intended use is compliant with existing zoning legislation and land use classifications. Tax certificates are used to glean information about the assessed valuation of the property.

If the buyer is looking to invest in income-producing property like office space, apartment complex, or a commercial complex, examining the lease payment history helps obtain data about timely and reliable income.

Check out Zumbly for home score ratings and more.


Financing a real estate purchase is the most important part of the process. If the buyer is getting a mortgage to finance the deal, working with the lender closely is important.

Regardless of the due diligence duration, ensure that the lender is willing to underwrite the mortgage required. The buyer can be an individual, multiple people, or an association. The lender’s independent investigation of the buyer’s finances might throw up some red flags that the buyer might not be aware of. The buyer will need to provide additional documentation to assure the lender.

The buyer also has to make sure that they are receiving the best mortgage rates. The buyer should explore all offerings and decide on a fair and competitive rate to lessen the financial burden.

Related: How Much Does It Cost To Build A House In 2019?



Common sense dictates that the buyer should never invest in a property without physically walking through it first. It’s crucial to get a first-hand look at the property in question.

Solicit a professional surveyor to corroborate the property specifics such as lot size, boundary lines, soil texture and condition, rights of way, etc. If the buyer has intentions of altering or renovating said property, it’s important to get these details ironed out beforehand to avoid nasty surprises.

The seller might not include every minute detail of the property. The buyer has to carefully examine the internal fixtures like the woodwork quality, flooring and roofing, electrical circuits, plumbing, air conditioning, furniture (if any), and ceramic fittings. Ensuring the property’s current condition matches the seller’s description, can reduce repair costs and help preserve the resale value down the line.

Deal-breaking factors have to be found out and rectified immediately to protect the buyer’s interest.


The buyer should make an effort to explore and learn about the neighborhood. The locality should match the buyer’s requirements – It would be inadvisable to buy a family home in an industrial area, regardless of the affordable price tag. Take into consideration the crime rates, traffic movement, and the availability of hospitals and other facilities.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management has a record of over 5 million federal land title records. The collection is free to use and covers 30 states. Buyers can pull up records of original land documents, land patents and field notes to get a clear picture of the history of the property.

Running checks for potential environmental hazards can be profitable in the long run. It’s important to recognize and avoid toxic areas with high land, air, and water pollution.


Ranch style house

Real estate due diligence is a complex process and is unique to each property. The best course of action would be to contact a professional who can provide necessary guidance and walk the buyer through the process. Browse our resources at Zumbly to help you find the right home.

Related: How to List Your Home on AirBnb and Earn Easy Travel Cash

Getting Inspection

Getting inspection should be an important part of your buying a house checklist. After you have chosen your ideal home, you get a short inspection period, which typically lasts from three to five days.

During this time, you are given the opportunity to hire a professional housing inspector to conduct a thorough inspection of your new property. This is important because if there is something that seems off, you will be given the chance to resolve whatever it is that is of concern.

Most home inspections are standard, and include the inspection of structural elements. These structural are comprised of your houses’ foundation, floors, ceilints, roofs, and walls. Inspections will check for parallel vs horizontal cracks on your floors, will make sure that your house’s foundation appears to be secure, that your roof does not have any leaks, and history concerning fires in your house’s attic.

Your professional housing inspector will typically also conduct an exterior inspection. This exterior inspection includes the evaluation of landscaping, elevation, wall coverings, drainage, grading, fascia, sidewalks, fences, windows, doors, exterior receptacles, tims and lights.

If your house has an attic, this is typically inspected together with your roof, to evaluate your roof’s construction, the framing and the ventilation. This will cover questions such as the length of time in which the roof must be replaced, its average life expectancy, and the number of layers that it is composed of.

Appliances are also inspected during your housing inspection. This includes the close examination of your range and oven, any built-in microwaves, smoke detectors, garbage disposals, and your builtin dishwasher. Washers and dryers may be included in this inspection; however, it is important to make sure that these items are not the original owner’s personal property, and that he or she will not be taking the items with them.

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What You Need to Know about Real Estate Disclosures

Buying a new home is a difficult process – there’s a long list of procedures that you must go through in order to purchase a new home. Right from viewing homes to finding a realtor and then finally deciding on the place.

However, there’s another hoop you probably haven’t thought of to jump through: it’s known as the Real Estate Disclosure or Seller Disclosure.

No matter how pretty and new a house may look on the outside, there could be many minor and major faults in the house. To protect a buyer’s interest, the added step of real estate disclosure is put in place. Zumbly’s here for you to simplify the home buying process. With that in mind, here’s our guide to real estate disclosures.

Related: Buying a House Checklist

What is a Real Estate Disclosure?

Real estate disclosure statements act as a safety net for both buyers and sellers. In this statement, a seller has to disclose any possible issues that they are aware of which any potential buyer should have the knowledge of.

These disclosures can be minor ones or major ones, from a leaky bathroom to a possible property boundary issue with the neighbor. By making a real estate disclosure statement, a seller saves themselves from any legal action and a buyer is in the position of making a well-informed decision.

The legality of the disclosure statement varies from state to state but a seller is responsible for up to 10 years at most.

Check out Zumbly for Net Income Analysis, Home Score Ratings, and more.

What is included in the disclosure?

The information that a seller is required to disclose varies from state to state and can even differ from county or city level. The general rule of thumb is that they have to mention any upgrades and renovations done to the house and whether or not they have the required permits. If the statement doesn’t mention any permits, it’s best to check with the city building reports for authenticity and verification.

There are some disclosures that are mandatory to include in a statement, while some of these differ from state to state

  • Lead Paint

If the home is pre-1978, a document has to be signed where both parties acknowledge the presence of lead paint regardless of it being present or removed. However, if a seller isn’t aware, they don’t have to disclose it.

Downpayment and Closing Costs

Before you begin your home search and homebuying process, is it a good idea to check your own credit. Most lenders see your FICO score, so make sure that you are using a FICO score. This will grant you the time that is necessary to work on further building your credit score if required. Even the slightest increase in your credit score can make a big difference for you in the long run.

  • Paranormal Activity

Mirror with cobweb

In most states, sellers are required to disclose whether or not the house is ‘haunted’ or there has been an exorcism performed on the property. The law varies from state to state. These properties are often called “stigmatized properties”.

  • Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is when there has been a traumatic event such as a murder or a suicide in the home. In some states, the period of this disclosure is only upto 3 years, whereas in some states sellers are not obligated to disclose it unless a buyer asks.

  • Asbestos

Empty room

The federal government requires that the presence of asbestos be disclosed by a seller.

  • Pests

Sellers are required to disclose any and all incidents of pest infestation, this ranges from snakes, rats, termites, bed bugs, etc.

  • Neighbor Disputes

Neighbor disputes and property boundary issues have to be disclosed by sellers in their real estate disclosure statement.

  • Faulty Foundations and Structural Issues

Open ceiling lighting

Perhaps the most obvious ones are any major and minor structural issues which include faulty foundations, faulty drainage, faults in major appliances, etc.

When do buyers receive the disclosure statement?

There are two main milestones where a seller releases the disclosure statement.

  • After an offer is made

In some circumstances, sellers release their real estate disclosure statement after a buyer makes an offer. This often comes with inspection documents and other legalese. In such circumstances, buyers have the option of backing out of an offer if they aren’t comfortable with any of the mentioned issues.

  • Before an offer is made

Some sellers release their disclosure statements before an offer is made. This gives buyers the flexibility to either back out or to put an offer after analyzing the possible risks and repair costs if any.

Disclosure statements are a great way for buyers to make an informed decision and it can also help them choose between multiple sellers. An offer can only move ahead if both parties have signed off on the disclosure statement.

The difference between a seller disclosure and an inspection

Is a real estate disclosure the same thing as an inspection?

The simple answer is no.

The difference lies in the term ‘knowledge’. A seller can disclose only those issues which they are aware of. They aren’t obligated to carry out an inspection in many states. This means that whether or not an issue finds is way into a disclosure statement solely depends on the seller’s knowledge of its existence.

In the absence of a third party inspection, it is recommended that one be carried out by a buyer. The inspection involves analyzing all major and minor aspects of the house and a detailed inspection report regarding the status of all elements is provided by a third party independent inspector.

Related: Need to Knows When Buying Your First House

Closing the deal

Shaking hands

As a buyer, there are many rights one can exercise. This involves asking questions about any of the disclosures and moving ahead with the deal only after receiving a satisfactory response. In most cases, there is a valid and genuine answer to a particular issue.

However, if one feels uncomfortable, they can always back out without forfeiting the deposit (if paid).

The main thing to remember is that a real estate disclosure includes only known problems. Hence, there is almost always a grey area with these disclosure statements. Many states do punish sellers or the real estate agents for failure to disclose issues, but as a buyer, the smart thing to do is carry out an inspection, even if it is for mental peace.

After all, buying a house is a huge, long-term investment and the process should be a pleasant one not filled with expensive repairs or court cases against the seller. Check out our homes at Zumbly to buy your house the easy way.

Related: Easy Guide to Leasing and Renting

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Townhouse vs. Condo vs. House: Which is Right for You

Buying a house is a big step, one that cannot and should not be taken lightly. There are many different types of accommodation choices and it can get overwhelming trying to figure out the right one. The choice depends on the needs of the homeowner and their lifestyle. Whether the decision is being made by a first-time buyer or someone looking to move, the decision-making process is never easy.

Between the three main types of residences, condos or condominiums, townhouses and houses, prospective buyers often find themselves being puzzled about what they mean and which one best suits their needs and lifestyle. Here’s our guide at Zumbly for choosing the kind of home for you.

Related: Buying A House In 2019 – What You Need To Know

What is a Condo?

To begin with, condos or condominiums refer to a form of ownership rather than a physical structure. Condos are a part of a condo complex, similar to apartments. The difference is the community approach that comes with it along with private ownership. There are some stand-alone condo options available but the majority ones are in a condo complex.

Most complexes have shared amenities such as gyms, pools, cleaning and maintenance facilities for which a common board is responsible. The fees and maintenance are divided among the residents of the complex. Most condos are found in urban localities, where land is hard to come by and living costs are higher.

What is a Townhouse?

Townhouses or townhomes is the mix between a condo and a home. Townhouses are single-family homes that are part of a community where each townhouse describes the vertical physical structure of at least two floors. In most townhouse units, owners own the interior, exterior, roof, and lawn along with the driveway but have no ownership of any communal areas.

They are often row houses where in most cases, there is at least one shared wall. People who live in townhouses have to be a part of the Home Owner Association or HOA and follow their rules and pay the HOA fees which are partially responsible for maintenance and upkeep of certain areas.

What is a House?

A house of a single-family home is the most independent option between these three types of dwellings. A house sits on its own land with no shared walls. Free-standing buildings that don’t come in contact with each other are classified as single-family homes. Because of the independent nature of a single-family house, owners are responsible for all the upkeep and repairs and are free to make any modifications that they want without having to seek permission from any committee.

Related: Evolution Of Home Tech

Difference Between a Townhouse a House and a Condo

There are many distinguishing factors when it comes to these three types of dwellings. From ownership, maintenance to community and even the area they’re in, all three residencies are different from one another and have varying levels of pros and cons.

Condo vs Townhouse

The main difference between condos and townhouses is ownership. In a condo, the ownership is limited to the interior of a unit, while in a townhouse it can extend to the exterior as well.

Pros of Condos and Townhouses

  • Community

Condos and townhouses have a similar community structure, where there are shared or common amenities which provide an opportunity to socialize and interact with other members.

  • Maintenance

Because of the fees associated with condos and townhouses, there are benefits when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. The condo committee and HOA for townhouses are responsible for repairs and maintenance.

Cons of Condos and Townhouses

  • Fees

Owners of condo units pay higher fees than those residing in townhouses. This is because there are more amenities and facilities that come with living in a condo unit. For both condos and townhouses, the fees, more often than not don’t provide the expected level of maintenance and service.

  • Reliability

Those residing in condos and townhouses have to be reliant on the HOA or the committee to carry out any repairs and have to trust their capabilities and organizational skills. Any change or modification has to be approved by these committees and cannot be done independently.

Townhouse VS House

Both the townhouse and house give ownership to its residents of their individual units. The main differentiating factor is the presence of shared walls in townhouses and the standalone feature of a single-family home.

  • Homeowners Association or HOA

Homeowners Association or HOA is mandatory for those living in a townhouse, while for single-family homes, it depends on whether or not the neighborhood has an HOA.

  • Freedom and Flexibility

Those living in a single-family home are free to change, repair or modify their homes as they see fit. With the absence of an HOA, they don’t need to abide by a common set of rules of that particular neighborhood.

  • Fees and Repairs

Any repairs and maintainence required in a townhouse are covered by the HOA fees, which is often paid on a monthly basis. When it comes to single-family homes, the owners are responsible for all structural repairs and expenses that come with any damage.

  • Community

Townhouses emphasize the importance of community, any decision is made by keeping the benefit of the entire community in mind. Right from allowing a certain pet breed to even the age of residents, all these are dictated by the association.

It goes without saying that all these restrictions are absent in single-family homes and homeowners are free to do as they please.


In the end, it comes down to the following factors while deciding between a condo, a home or a townhouse:

  • Affordability
  • Lifestyle requirements
  • Importance of community
  • Comfortability with maintenance payments
  • Area of residence

All these factors combined with the differentiating characteristics of condos, townhouses, and homes should be considered before deciding, because they all play an important role when it comes to a long-term accommodation situation and differs from person to person.

A single-family home in a non-HOA neighborhood is more suitable for those looking for freedom from fees and require a large space, while a condo is best suited for those who want to live in an urban environment and want access to multiple amenities without having the burden of repairs and upkeep. Check out Zumbly to find your next home.

Related: Beautiful Houses – 10 Best Styles