If you're looking to rent your next crash pad but want more space than the average-sized apartment — which is 882 square feet, according to Home Stratosphere — then a duplex apartment might be right for you. Duplex apartments offer the look and feel of a house but on a rental budget. Because they're rented, duplex apartments come with some of the benefits of home living without the responsibilities of being the property owner. But what is a duplex when compared to similar home types like twin homes, triplexes and more? We'll look at all of that in detail below.
A duplex building is one structure featuring two separate units. If the units are on top of each other, the floor of the upstairs apartment sits atop the first-floor dwelling. If the two units are side-by-side, a common wall separates the abodes from one another. In that scenario, the dividing wall is usually where the stairs are in each unit, assuming it's two floors.
Don't confuse a duplex with a twin home, although the pair do share some similarities. Like in a duplex, a twin home features a common wall dividing the two units within its confines. Also, similar to a duplex, a twin home looks like two identical houses.
However, in a twin home, the two places are owned, not rented. In other words, a duplex is one structure featuring two units while a twin home is two properties on one lot. The owner of each unit in a twin home is responsible for the maintenance and insurance of their side of the lot. In a duplex, the tenant is only renting and has no ownership rights in the property, at all.
Deciding between renting a duplex over another dwelling is a difficult decision. A duplex offers many of the benefits of a standard residential home like a yard, garage and privacy. Duplex buildings are typically more affordable than single-family homes because the tenant is renting only half of the structure.
The affordability of duplex rentals versus renting a single-family home may allow you to rent a nicer abode in a better location than you thought originally.
Of course, you'd have a neighbor living right next to you, above or below you. But, if you're looking for things like outdoor space and the cozy feel of living in a home-like environment, that sacrifice might prove worthwhile.
If you're considering a duplex apartment, you might be pleased with some of the benefits, including:
There are also downsides to duplex apartments.
Duplexes are just one type of multi-unit apartment building with their own entrance. When a structure features three apartments, it's called a triplex. Conversely, a structure with four units is a fourplex. However, the term duplex specifically refers to multi-family housing with two individual units.
A condominium, also known as a condo, is typically owned by a property owner. You make monthly payments to a secured lender, like a bank, assuming the condo has a mortgage. The condo buyer gains equity in their investment as they pay their monthly mortgage.
A condominium is usually a long-term financial investment. Apartment living allows for flexibility as far as lease term, amenities and length of commitment. With a condo, you own it, as well as the responsibility to pay taxes, condo fees and assessments made by the condo homeowners association (HOA) from time to time.
Before choosing between buying a condo or renting a duplex, remember:
Sometimes, a duplex owner lives in one of the units in the building and rents the other out for rental income. This situation is appealing to property owners who may find the extra income from the other unit helpful in paying the monthly mortgage. Real estate is also a great investment, so living in one unit while renting the other one out is a fantastic way to develop equity in the property while enjoying the tax benefits of property ownership.
Several property types are available to those who wish to live in a rented residence. Therefore, it's imperative to determine which kind best caters to your individual needs. Will a single-family house provide you with the space you need and want? Is a standard apartment building right for you? Maybe a duplex will satisfy your desire to feel like you live in a house while still paying rent vs. a monthly mortgage payment.
Renting a place does not relegate someone to living in apartment buildings. Options include single-family houses, duplex houses, a triplex and other multi-family homes. To find a place you feel proud to call your own, you must honestly examine your wants, needs and budget to determine whether a 'house with two homes' is right for you.