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The most common form of what we call "Small Multi-family" is known as a duplex. Unlike a triplex which has three separate units, a duplex consists of two separate single-family units in one building on a single lot, often house-like, connected by a shared wall or floor and with separate entrances to the outside. No matter what style of duplex you want, you can find it with a bit of looking. The buildings come in all kinds of sizes and shapes, from the most basic single-story to large renovated multi-story versions. Duplexes are great for renters because they often offer the same space and privacy as a single family home, but with a shared common areas the maintenance is cut in half. All of the information mentioned on this page applies equally to duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes.
Purchasing a duplex is the perfect option for anyone wanting to get into real estate investing. Duplexes provide good cash flow along with low maintenance, this is a great way for investors to learn how to manage a property on a small scale before moving onto larger properties. Another positive to purchasing a duplex is the ability to "house hack", which is when the owner lives in one side while renting out the other side. This gives owners the chance to gain valuable management experience while also bringing in good cash flow.
You should consider selling your duplex when the equity in your property has the opportunity to be the down payment for an asset that produces significantly more than the two units can bring in. At this point we believe it's time to consider selling and capitalizing on the multiplied returns that your initial investment has created for you.
There are a few factors to consider when investing in duplexes: location, condition, and leases of current tenants. Although these factors do need to be considered, the most important area to look into when considering investing in a duplex is if the property has a rental permit and is zoned correctly. Purchasing a property without doing your due diligence is a recipe for disaster. Fortunately as ADVISORS first we are here to help you steer clear of these sorts of mistakes.
As we mentioned earlier a duplex is a single structure with a single owner, featuring two residences (either side by side or upstairs and downstairs) with private entrances. A townhouse, on the other hand, may look similar in that it has several residences that share walls however each unit is individually owned. To maximize your earning power a duplex allows for multiple sources of rental revenue whereas a townhouse would only provide you with one.