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Get the Lowdown On Duplex Ownership

1. Is duplex ownership really profitable?
3. Who would want a duplex?
(These articles are excerpts from the book Duplex Secrets Revealed)

2. What Exactly Is A Duplex?

Essentially Two Homes

A duplex can be thought of as two homes built right next to each other and sometimes sharing the same wall. That is, each side has its own individual front door, back door, garage, attic, and driveway. A duplex is normally labeled "Side A" and "Side B". Side A is often on the right side of the duplex and side B the other, but there is no strict rule for labeling.

This could be an address of a duplex:

909-A Maple Street

Anytown, Anystate 12345

The only thing separating these two homes is a common wall (usually…sometimes they are completely detached, like two separate four walled homes on the same lot!) Sharing a single common wall is much better than living in an apartment complex where anywhere from one to three walls can be shared. Even worse, if you consider living on a second floor of a three-story apartment, you may additionally share a ceiling and floor depending if your neighbor is above or below your unit.

Independent utilities

All utilities are separately metered - electricity, gas, water, cable, and phone. When you call utility companies to connect services you must mention either side A or side B. Beware, that some older duplexes have a single water meter and so have one water bill for the entire duplex (more on this later). Washer and dryer connections are standard with duplexes.

More Space Than an Apartment

Many advantages exist for the duplex renter or owner compared to living in an apartment complex. When comparing a two bedroom apartment to a two bedroom duplex, make note of the size of rooms. Generally duplex bedrooms and floor plan are more spacious than apartment complex bedrooms. Kitchens are also larger in duplexes. In general, apartment units are designed for a large quantity of units to fit on certain lot sizes. Each unit must have shared walls (and you lose windows in the process) on two or three sides and shared ceilings or floors.

A Home with A Front Yard, Back Yard, Garage, and Attic

A duplex will have a front yard and a back yard. If you have a dog, the pet will enjoy the privacy of a back yard that could be fenced. Yard space is nice to have for a leisure area to sit and talk or a place for kids to play.

Most duplexes have garages, either single car, double car, and sometimes triple car garages. Apartments either do not have garages or, if they do, charge an additional $40-$60 per month! In my experience garages that apartments do have are shorter than duplex garages. You can fit a car but not much else. A duplex garage will allow a little more storage space due to longer length. Having a garage can mean a big difference in storage of personal property and of automobiles. Since you have your own driveway, as opposed to a sharing a parking lot, there is less congestion and access to your car is more convenient.

Another advantage of duplexes is that they have washer and dryer connections -- not all apartment complexes have them. The convenience of not having to leave your home to do laundry is a worthy consideration.

Finally, an attic provides extra space for storage of property. It would be difficult or impossible to find attic space in an apartment complex. Most people could always use extra storage space.

There are a few advantages to living in an apartment complex, however. One thing a duplex may not have is a pool or tennis court. But how often are those used? I remember paying $985 rent for an apartment with a balcony that overlooked a lake. Guess how many times I was on the balcony or used the lake? Twice. The first time was when we first moved in and the second time was when a friend visited. It is really up to the individual’s lifestyle and what they want.

In summary, you will receive all the benefits of owning a single family home by purchasing your duplex instead. You will also have a tenant pay for most of your mortgage in addition to all the benefits mentioned in the previous section.

(These articles are excerpts from the book Duplex Secrets Revealed)