A house is a single-unit residential building that ranges in complexity from a rudimentary hut to a complex structure made of wood, masonry, concrete or other material outfitted with plumbing and electrical systems. It may contain rooms for living, eating and sleeping, as well as kitchens and bathrooms. Its roof usually protects its occupants and contents from precipitation such as rain. Houses can be inhabited by people or by animals, and may include an enclosed garden area to facilitate gardening. Houses are also often accompanied by outbuildings for garage or storage purposes.

A house may also refer to a governmental chamber, such as a legislative assembly or parliament. In these cases, the term is typically shortened to simply “House”. The House of Commons, for example, is the lower house of the British parliament. The upper house is the House of Lords.

The most familiar house is the human dwelling. Its construction reflects the lifestyle and beliefs of its builders or inhabitants. A large and elaborate house may serve as a sign of conspicuous wealth, while a simple and modest home may be a statement of humility or frugality. Houses built of recycled materials may demonstrate a commitment to energy conservation. Houses that have special historic value may be protected by law, and commemorative plaques may mark their locations.

Besides serving as dwelling spaces, houses may have various other functions, such as a storehouse for food or a workshop for tools and other equipment. A house may also serve as a repository of personal possessions, such as mementoes and furniture. In some countries, houses are occupied by a single family; others, such as townhouses or row houses, may contain multiple families in the same structure. A house may be a primary residence, or it may be used as a vacation cabin or rental property.

When describing an old house, it is important to provide clues about its age. These can be obvious, such as a plaque in the yard, or more subtle, like a doorknob that is older than the rest of the house. Other hints can be found in the style of architecture, wallpaper from other eras, decor items, additions to the house and its furnishings, and even the type of flooring.

When describing a house for sale, it is important to be descriptive in order to convey the character of the home to potential buyers. The description should highlight the features that make it unique, and describe the size of the room. For example, a bedroom should be described as “large enough for king or queen-sized bed,” and not simply as “big.” Also, it is important to describe the layout of the rooms in the house to give buyers a sense of the space and help them imagine how they will use the space. Using descriptive words can add value to your listing and help your listing stand out from the competition.