Have you located your ancestor's residence on fire insurance maps? Available in the United States starting in the nineteenth century, these maps cover large cities and often fairly small towns as well. You can learn what your ancestor's residence was constructed of, the relative size of the home compared to the lot, neighboring structures, etc. The Library of Congress has more information on these maps on their website at http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/sanborn/. Other locations may have them as well.