Duplex Vs Single-Family Home

It's not easy to buy a first home. There are so many decisions to make, and so much information to process! One of the most important decisions is whether you want a single-family home or a duplex. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of buying your first property as a duplex rather than as just one house. 

What is a Duplex?

A duplex is a building with two separate living areas. It also has at least one shared wall between the houses, and often a shared porch or yard as well (not to mention stairs and even sometimes interior hallways). Sometimes such properties are called “twin homes” too. A duplex can be either residential or commercial property, and it’s a common choice for those looking to invest in real estate.

What is a Single-Family Home? 

A single-family home is one that is only meant for a single family and their guests (i.e., there is no long-term rental available on the property). While many homes start out as single-family, it’s also very common for homes to later become multi-unit dwellings like duplexes or triplexes when families expand and the home becomes too small for everyone.

Single Family Home

What are Some Benefits of Buying a Duplex?

A duplex is often the best choice for first time home buyers because they are less expensive than single-family homes, yet require less maintenance once you move in. If you're looking to buy a home, but don't want a lot of upkeep or to pay high property taxes, a duplex may be the way to go.

Some additional reasons why buying a duplex can be advantageous include:

  • Duplexes are cheaper than single-family homes. Duplexes tend to be cheaper because they require less upkeep and maintenance, which can help you avoid costly repairs that may come with a single-family home. A duplex also tends to be more cost-effective than a single-family home if you're looking for rental income. If you own the entire property but only want one bedroom, you can live on one side while renting out the other side and your rent income will exceed the mortgage costs of the unoccupied portion of the property.
  • There will likely be less wear and tear on your property. Duplexes tend to be a lot less stressful on your property because they don't typically involve as much wear and tear as a single-family home. This means that there's a lower chance of having to fix anything during your lifetime, which is going to save you money in the long run. 
  • You can live on one side of the duplex, and either rent or sell the other side to generate income. If you have the funds to initially invest in the entire residence, a duplex can be a great way to generate additional income. One side of the duplex can be for your family, while the other side can be rented out as an easy way to make some extra cash. In fact, when you rent out the second side of the duplex, it's much more cost-effective than renting a single-family home!
  • You could qualify for financial programs. Buying a duplex may help you qualify for homeowners association programs, which offer better rates to those who own multiple properties as opposed to those that just have one house.
  • Duplexes are often more convenient due to their smaller size and shared amenities. Duplexes, in general, are a lot more convenient than single-family homes because they often have shared amenities and shared walls. You can also rent or sell different portions of the duplex to generate income or pay less property taxes, which is going to save you money in the long run.

These are just a few of the many, many benefits to buying a duplex over a single-family home. These fantastic residences offer a world of possibilities, whether you're looking to simply live on one side or rent out a unit or two. 

Real estate photo

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What are Some Considerations When Buying a Duplex?

While there are many benefits to buying a duplex, you should also be aware of some of the considerations. For example:

  • A duplex is generally less expensive than a single-family home, but it's still an initial investment. As with any new purchase, you'll want to be prepared for the initial investment. For example, if you're interested in buying a duplex that has two bedrooms, then expect to pay more than your traditional rent because you'll want to factor in the mortgage costs as well.
  • You must consider shared walls. If you’re not comfortable with sharing walls with other tenants or people in your neighborhood, a duplex may not be the best choice for you. In addition, it’s important to make sure that your landlord is going to be a good fit since you'll likely have shared walls.
  • You won't always have full control of the property. If you're looking for a place where only YOU can do things, a duplex may not be the best choice for you. For example, if your neighbors aren't respectful of their side of the duplex then you're going to have some issues that require managing.
  • A duplex does not always give you more space for less money. There are many situations where duplexes are far more expensive than buying a single family home even if they don’t end up costing you any extra in the long run. This means that duplexes aren't always ideal for everyone.
  • Duplexes usually have less space per tenant, but they help increase income opportunities. Duplexes are generally smaller than single-family homes, especially if you're looking for three bedrooms. However, buying a duplex can also be beneficial because it can help you generate income by leasing out one or both of the units to other tenants.

There are many benefits to buying a duplex, but you should always consider your housing goals and whether or not it's right for you. These are just a few of the many benefits to buying a duplex, so if you're interested in learning more about it or want to explore your housing options further, take your time and do the research so you can make an informed decision. After all, what bigger decision is there than your first home? 

Are There Different Types of Duplexes?

Garden Duplex

Duplexes are available in a variety of formats, so the next time you're looking for your first home, take some time to explore duplexes. For example:

The garden duplex is ideal if you want two different units that each have their own yard or gardens. This duplex style is usually larger than other types of duplexes.

Traditional duplexes are available in different formats, including courtyard style and townhouse style. These are also great options if you want to have several garden areas or if you simply love the idea of having a backyard.

A granny flat is another option for those who are looking for additional income opportunities. A granny flat is essentially an independent building, usually in the backyard of a duplex.

Another option is a triplex, which can offer you even more income opportunities and space for your money. Triplexes usually have three floors and one unit per floor.

There are many different types of duplexes available on the market today, so it's important to consider your housing needs and what you're looking for in a home. Before you make the final decision on which duplex to buy, take some time to figure out what will be the best fit for your family's needs.

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Duplex

If you're wondering if a duplex is really the right choice for your first time home buying experience, ask yourself these questions:

What does your budget look like? Are you looking to purchase a single unit or buy an entire building? Be sure you can make that sort of financial decision ahead of time. 

What are your housing goals? Your housing goals should be clear, no matter what size home you're looking for. For example, you may want to own a duplex because it's the right fit for your family now, but that might change somewhere down the line. Before you buy a duplex, think about whether or not owning one will allow you to reach your long-term housing goals.

Are you looking to get to know your neighbors? Living in a duplex means you have the opportunity to be right close with your neighbors. If you're looking to experience community life, duplexes are a great way to go.

What sort of housing amenities do you need? Are things like laundry facilities or outdoor play areas important to you? If they are, ask the duplex owner or landlord what sort of amenities are available. You can also discuss community amenities with them, like pools or shared dining areas.

Consider these questions carefully and determine whether the duplex life is one for you. 

Duplexes offer a lot of benefits for first time home buyers, and can be an excellent option if you're looking to buy your first property. From the more affordable options to the wealth of opportunity that duplexes can offer, this style of home is an excellent option for first time home buyers.

The team at getMULTIfamily.com are experts when it comes to multi-family real estate and have worked with numerous buyers and sellers over the years. Specializing in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and other multifamily homes, Get Multifamily is the obvious choice when considering your next purchase or sale. 

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