What Is a Duplex? One of The Unsung Heroes in Real Estate

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Written By Justin McGill

DealBloom aims to share the latest tips and strategies to help realtors, brokers, loan officers, and investors navigate the world of real estate.

If you’re wondering what is a duplex, I can tell you from personal experience that it’s one building containing two homes that share a common wall. We lived in a duplex when I was growing up and it was great for our large family. There were always people around and we never felt like we were cramped for space. Plus, having two units meant that we could rent out the other unit to help cover expenses.

In this article, we’ll define what is a duplex and help you decide if it’s a good property investment for you.

What Is a Duplex?

A duplex is a two-family dwelling. While they share a common wall, each family has its own entrance, kitchen, and living space.

They can either be sold together and owned by one owner, or they can be sold separately.

Duplex owners must purchase an insurance policy that will cover both sides of the property.

What if you could buy your own piece of land for half the price of an average house? Well, you can!

Meet the duplex.

Duplexes are often overlooked as a great investment option, but they can offer strong value growth and healthy rental yields. If you’re looking for an affordable property option, a duplex could be a great choice.

A house is a building that typically has one family living in it, while duplexes are buildings that typically have two separate families living under the same roof.

In a duplex, two homes share the same exterior walls, but each has its own entrance and its own amenities.

If you’re interested in purchasing a duplex, it’s important to first determine whether the two dwellings are on the same title or different titles.

If the property has been subdivided, you will only be allowed to buy one half. However, if the two dwellings are on the same title, you’ll be able to purchase the entire duplex.

Is a Duplex a Good Investment?

If you’re interested in real estate investing, a duplex can be a great way to get started.

You can choose to rent out both units and earn income from both tenants, or live in one unit and rent out the other. This can help you pay off your mortgage and expenses while still living on the property.

If you live in one of the duplex units, you’re able to easily keep an eye on the property, which is helpful should any immediate issues, emergencies, or repairs arise.

Being close to the property you own can alleviate some anxiety as you take on the role of a landlord for the first time.

As a duplex owner, you can take advantage of certain tax deductions that you wouldn’t be able to with a single-family property

Because your rental property is a business, you can claim deductions for maintenance, repairs, and yard work.

As a landlord, you will be responsible for maintaining the property and dealing with any tenant issues that may arise. If you live in an area where the rental market is not strong, you may have difficulty finding tenants.

As a landlord, you should be prepared to cover the entire mortgage yourself in case the rental market is soft and tenants are in short supply. You may not always be able to rely on rental revenue to make your mortgage payments.

Is a Duplex Right for You?

The benefits of a rental house over a condo or apartment are many. A single-family residence has a private backyard and a garage.

Duplexes can be a great option for people who want to own their own home but don’t want the full responsibility of a single-family home. With a duplex, you can have someone else living in the other half of the building to help with expenses and maintenance.

The relatively low cost of duplexes compared to single-family homes allows you to rent a nicer home in a location you may not have thought you could afford.

Duplex living might be right for you if you’re looking for certain benefits, such as outdoor space and a home-like environment. Of course, you would have a neighbor living next to you nearby, but the trade-off might be worth it.

Here are some of the benefits of owning a duplex apartment:

  • You only share the building with one other unit
  • Proximity to your neighbor offers some sense of security.
  • Separate entrances, private patios, private garages
  • Outdoor green space shared with the other tenant
  • Feels more like a house than an apartment

Duplex apartments can have their downsides as well, such as:

  • Some neighbors do not respect your space like the yard or driveway.
  • The tenant could be your landlord.
  • You might share a wall with a nightmare neighbor.
  • You are responsible for maintenance such as snow shoveling, gardening, or tidying up the common areas.
  • Fewer amenities than large apartment complexes like a pool or tennis courts.
  • Potentially more expensive

Pros and Cons of a Duplex Property

There are pros and cons to renting a duplex apartment. Some people may find that the downsides outweigh the benefits, while others may feel that the pros are more important. It’s important to weigh all of the factors before making a decision.

  • Cheaper than single-family homes
  • Rental income
  • Easy access to investment property
  • Tax benefits
  • Ongoing maintenance costs
  • Vacant second unit
  • Irresponsible tenants
  • Hard-to-get, costly second mortgage

How to Buy a Duplex Property

If you’re considering purchasing a duplex as an investment property, it’s important to do your research and compare different financing options before making a decision.

Getting pre-approved for your mortgage can help determine what kind of home you can realistically afford. It’s also important to have a down payment saved up to make the purchase.

Make sure you have a downpayment ready to go.

Figure out what you want in a duplex such as how many bedrooms or bathrooms. Then, find an agent to help you search for the perfect one. You can also look for duplexes online or in newspapers.

The real estate agent will help you make an offer on the house, and guide you through the closing process.

If you plan to rent both or one of your properties, make sure you understand landlord requirements.

To get the most out of your duplex property, it’s important to do your research on local rental prices. This will help you set a competitive price that will keep your units occupied and generate a good return on investment.

To recap:

  • A duplex is a property that has two residences.
  • If you own a duplex, you can rent out one or both.
  • While duplex homes can offer both rental and tax advantages, they typically require more maintenance than single-family homes. Second mortgages can also be difficult to obtain.
  • Real estate agents can help investors buy a duplex.

What Does it Mean to Live in a Duplex?

A duplex is a type of housing where two separate homes are built beside each other, usually with a common wall but separate entrances. Each unit has its own kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.

This can be a great option for people who want to live near each other, such as family members or roommates.

Duplexes are often used as rental properties, but they can also be owner-occupied.


What is a duplex? A duplex is a great option for housing whether you have a large family or not. If you’re looking for more space, consider renting out the other unit. You can use the extra income to help cover expenses. Whatever your reason for considering a duplex, remember that it’s a versatile and affordable option.

Justin McGill