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Pros and Cons of Buying a Duplex

Posted on Sunday, August 6, 2017
If you want a single family home, a duplex can be an inexpensive alternative.

Do you love the homeowner lifestyle but dislike the price of owning a single family home? Would you like to have just one close neighbor? If so, you might be a candidate for duplex living. Living in a duplex has its ups and downs. What should you know before committing to living in a duplex?

1. Purchasing a Duplex Can Save You Money

If you want to buy a house, but the cost of houses is prohibitive, duplexes can be a less expensive option. While a duplex may be more expensive than a house, you are purchasing two homes for the price. That means that you can live in one while renting out the other, greatly reducing the costs associated with home ownership. However, you should not automatically assume that the rental income will be counted when you apply for a home loan; ask before you look at duplexes.

2. Buying a House for Two Families is Still Buying a House

You want to buy a house. You love the lifestyle that comes with it. Perhaps you want your children to enjoy a yard, even though you live in the middle of the city. You could have pets who enjoy walking to nearby parks or have a abiding enjoyment of gardening. Whatever the reason you enjoy the feel of the single-family home, you can have that feeling at a lower cost when you buy a duplex.

If you live in a duplex, you will need to be ready to connect with your neighbor.

3. You will Have One Really Close Neighbor

This one is a pro and a con. While you will have neighbors on the other sides of the duplex, you will have an especially close connection to the people who share the duplex. If you own the building, you can make the rules to a degree, which can be helpful as you screen potential tenants. However, while you will be their landlord, you cannot control everything that those tenants do. They could have a baby who cries, or they could maintain an outdoor living space that looks very different than your own. Like any apartment-style living situation, you will need to be somewhat tolerant of your neighbors' differences, moreso than if you lived in the middle of your own private lot.

4. You May Not Be Able to Live Exactly Where You Want

Duplexes are typically located in less expensive parts of town. You need to decide whether you would like to live in that less expensive area. In some areas, duplexes are in specific parts of town or specific types of lots. They may not be nestled into the single-family neighborhood where you want to live. Before you commit to owning a duplex, make sure that they actually exist in the neighborhoods you love.

5. You Have Less Say Over Your Home Layout

If you have always wanted a home that is architecturally unique or you are in love with ranchers, you could find it frustrating to own a duplex. While duplexes come in many different shapes and sizes, many of them have at least two levels with stairs. Those with mobility challenges or those who would prefer a different floor plan will need to decide if a duplex is really appropriate for their needs.

6. You Will Be a Landlord

The problem with purchasing a duplex and renting out one side is that you automatically take on the role of landlord, even if this is something that you do not want to do. You will need to make repairs, collect rent, and find new tenants when the old ones move out. You will also have all of the financial worries that this entails. You will need to make sure that you can afford to manage the cost of repairs and have enough money put away in case you cannot fill the other side of the duplex right away.

Are you considering purchasing a duplex or another multi-family home? Explore the issues and ideas that impact your choice by visiting the blog at Open For Homes today.

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