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Jennifer Jones  by Jennifer Jones

european style duplex

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What exactly is a duplex? Many people think of it as two homes that usually share a wall and are built right next to each other. Often thought of as units, each unit has its very own home qualities, including an entry, garage, attic, kitchen, bedrooms, etc. There are a lot of advantages of owning and living in a duplex. It can be a money saving decision to choose a duplex over an independent home, while still enjoying the luxuries of a house.

coastal two-story duplex

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There are a wide variety of people who get the most out of duplex living. It is an excellent choice for first time homebuyers. Much too often, first homebuyers purchase a home that is more space then they actually need. Choosing to buy a duplex can save precious money that can be used for furnishings, car or other needed payments. Sometimes you can buy a duplex with as little as 5% down payment. Professional contractors also find benefits in purchasing a duplex home. As many contractors travel a lot, it is hard for them to justify being tied down to a house as a private residence. They are also excellent homes for retired couples who do not need a big house with a lot of equity and enjoy having a neighbor next door to help out when needed. This reason also applies to a grown child with an elderly parent. The older parent and grown child each can enjoy their own private unit, while remaining close enough monitor the elder. All in all, anyone who wants to save a bit of money and does not require a large home can benefit from the advantages of living in a duplex.

well designed duplex floor plan

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More space than an apartment

There are many advantages to renting and buying a duplex unit. Generally, the room sizes are much larger in a duplex home than in an apartment. You have only one shared wall instead of two or three shared walls like an apartment. This allows for more windows and a more comfortable atmosphere. There is also no one living above or below you like in many apartment complexes. Duplexes also enjoy the outdoor entertainment possibilities with a front and back yard. This is excellent for owners with pets to enjoy the convenience of the lawn. Garages are also a handy feature of a duplex unit. Most apartments do not include a garage, and the ones that do are often smaller than a typical garage. This allows for more storage opportunities of property as well as a car shelter. The attic space of a duplex also provides ample storage space that would not be found in an apartment.

Independent utilities

The utilities for each unit are separately metered, similar to having an independent household. Electricity, water, cable, gas and phone bills are paid by each individual unit resident. When you want to connect utility services, you simply tell the utility company the unit in which you reside, usually unit A or unit B. Another handy feature about duplexes is that most come complete with a laundry closet or room. Some apartments do not include this amenity and the tenants must take their clothes to a laundry mat.

beach duplex design with pier foundation

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Money Savers

There are several ways that living in a duplex saves money. Buying an individual house can be quite expensive and you may be paying over three times the sale price over a 30-year mortgage. Maintenance is another aspect that could possibly save money. If you are renting, then you can rely on the property owner for proper upkeep. For owners of a duplex, certain maintenance costs can be shared between the two units. For example, getting both roofs shingled at the same time can allow for a decent discount on the costs. The same idea can be applied to the siding of the duplex as well. As long as the duplex inhabitants can work together, it becomes easier to get the best service for the lowest available price.

If you own the entire duplex and rent it to tenants, you can benefit from tax breaks since the units are connected. Many repairs, like siding and roof replacements, made to the homes are tax-deductible. This can result in a significant amount of savings come tax time. This is a major pro when living in one unit and renting the other unit of a duplex.

symmetrical duplex floor plan


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Nearby Neighbors & Family

One priceless asset of a duplex is having good neighbors. Generally, duplex inhabitants understand that they will be sharing a wall with their neighbor, and are usually pretty considerate and kind. They are also great for keeping a good watch in the area. Extra pairs of eyes can be extremely helpful for the safety of the neighborhood. Outdoor lighting can sometimes be scarce with individual homes, whereas duplexes are usually built in well-lit areas for better safety.

Another major benefit of a duplex is having two separate home spaces. This can provide privacy for family members who inhabit the duplex. It is perfect for grown children with elderly parents who need daily assistance. This is also excellent for empty nesters that have children who visit often or return home from college. Residing in close proximity with family can truly be a wonderful and fun experience.

duplex with corner floor plan design

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There are many advantages of living as well as owning a duplex. You can save money with home maintenance, tax breaks and easier family care. It is much more private than living in an apartment and enjoys larger rooms, including kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms. Don’t forget the benefit of having your own garage and yard also. Additionally, by renting the other half of the home, a duplex owner can easily make money and cut costs of living and other expenses.

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