(Closed) House vs Duplex? Duplex pros and cons?

posted 6 years ago in Home
Post # 2
214 posts
Helper bee

It depends on the layout of the duplex and where the wall connects. Ours is 2 stories and the walls connect where the staircase is. Our bedrooms and living rooms are on the other side so we don’t hear each other. We also have our own fenced in backyards. 

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by  amstudent1. Reason: grammar
  • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by  amstudent1. Reason: added a detail
Post # 3
2836 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

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Haruyou:  I rented a duplex before I moved into our house.

The biggest con is:  you are sharing a wall with someone else.  There were countless nights of loud music– and the funny part is, she was by far the oldest of the three different tenants that moved through the place while I was there.  She was in her 50’s or 60’s, but lived a lifestyle that resembled someone in thier early twenties.  Also, we split the yard duties–we mowed the lawn and she was supposed shovel.  But she never did, so we always had to. To put it lightly, she sucked.


That said, the other families that were in there while I lived there had kids, so they lived more of a low-key lifestyle and it was OK!

Post # 4
5184 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

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Haruyou:  We’re happy with our duplex. The shared wall is just the staircase and the layout is mirror images of each other. We share a lawn also (not a large one) and take turns cutting the grass. Thankfully we have really nice neighbors.

Post # 5
996 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

We live in a duplex. We live upstairs. Our neighbor lives downstairs. We share a backyard and porch. Our neighbor is really nice and we rarely hear her. We love our duplex!

Post # 6
1112 posts
Bumble bee

We live in a side-by-side duplex. We love it. If you have a good neighbor, you have nothing to worry about. 

Post # 7
1978 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Ive lived in a duplex before and it wasn’t bad. I think as other bees have said, it kind of depends which wall you share. In ours, we shared the wall that connected the kitchen and garage so we really didn’t hear our neighbor at all. Financially, I would totally buy a duplex over a house, since someone else would be paying half of your mortgage, but there is a lot of responsibility there as well.

Post # 8
3031 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

Would you just be buying the 1/2 duplex?

Or would you be buying a whole house that is a duplex that you would then be renting out to someone else?  

We have some duplexes in our area that only share the garage walls – which would be nice. 

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by  amberback.
Post # 9
10353 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

I lived in a duplex in college and it was horrible. It had a lot to do with the neighbors we shared a wall with though. If we were ever outside or in our screened in porch, their little boys would come over and bug us because my roommate worked at the Boys & Girls Club where they went so they knew her. There were a lot of parties that were really loud. The mom was always screaming at them in the mornings when they were getting ready for school. We heard every single fight they had next door. Then the mom got a boyfriend that was a drug dealer and things got much worse.

Post # 10
6105 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

I would not want to live in a duplex. But I wouldn’t want to live in an apartment, townhouse, or condo either. I just like to have my own space and not have to share it. Whether that be walls, a yard, or anything else.

Post # 11
1934 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I’m almost positive there’s no pro to buying a duplex. I think you only do that if it’s more feasible for your financial situation. Otherwise a single family house will always be the smarter option and will appreciate at a much more significant pace than a duplex.  Assuming it’s a time of appreciation.

Post # 12
2120 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I lived in a duplex growing up and while it wasn’t too bad (the 3 houses – 6 units – all had kids so we had a lot of fun outside), one group of neighbors that lived by us had bugs once and needless to say, they crept over. I’d make sure it’s a really nice duplex with really clean neighbors. I realize you run the same risk with a townhome or an apartment, but something about duplexes, man….

Post # 13
60 posts
Worker bee

I lived in a duplex!

Con: Shared bedroom walls…. luckily the guy never lasted very long 😛

Pro: Allowed me to save for what I really wanted!

Post # 14
4888 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

We live in a twinhome (much like a duplex), and we share walls that include the garage, mater closet, master bathroom and then kitchen/dining. You really can only hear the other people if they’re relaly banging their cupboards.

Before moving into FI’s house, I had my own condo that shared a walls with the occupants behind me, and next to me (mainly my bedroom). You could also hear foot steps from above, but they weren’t bad. However, I had a friends bachelorette party there once with about 15 girls and we were definitely not quiet. The neighbor above me said he didn’t hear a thing, so I think we had pretty soundproof walls. I rarely heard any of my neighbors, besides those foot steps.

If it’s what you can afford now, you can use it as a starter home and see where they’re at in a few years.

Post # 15
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

If the duplex is what you can afford now I would buy one as a starter home. I bought a 450 sq ft condo as a starter home because it was what I could afford at the time, and renting in my city is more expensive than owning. I was paying $850 per month for an illegal basement suite that flooded in the spring, was freezing cold in the winter and had zero soundproofing, and that was a good deal. My condo cost me $700 including my mortgage, property tax, condo fees and utilities, and it was way nicer than the basement suite, it was freshly renovated top to bottom, I had my own thermostat which actually worked, and it had awesome soundproofing. I hardly ever heard my neighbors, even though I had one above, and one on either side. When I got married I moved in with my husband, who already owned a 1000 sq ft bungalow which is what he bought as a starter home. Now we rent out my old condo for $825, it pays for itself and then some.

As other bees said, the layout and soundproofing are very important when you’re sharing walls with neighbors. If I were looking at duplexes I would make sure to visit them in the evening when the occupants on the other side are more likely to be home, that way you can have a more accurate picture of what the noise level is going to be like. And you also have to consider if you’d be comfortable sharing a yard and the duties that go along with it. Personally I would look for a place where the yards are seperated and where you each take care of your own yard. I would prefer not to have to depend on neighbors for yardwork, and also I think the privacy of having seperate yards would appeal to me.

With that being said, if I were to choose between a older detached home that needed rennovations and a duplex that was newer/didn’t need rennovations and their prices were about the same I would choose the detached home, as long as it’s in a good neighborhood. You can rennovate the detached home and instantly increase the value, and the more value you add to your starter home, the more you’ll be able to put towards your forever home when you’re ready to sell. I am a bit biased though I’ll admit because I actually enjoy doing home rennovations and I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years, and I also grew up watching and helping with rennovations on my families homes. My Dad made enough money by rennovating and flipping houses that he was able to retire comfortably at 55. Not everyone is going to be as lucky as him, he was able to buy and sell at the perfect time on an acerage and ended up netting around $500,000 on that one deal alone, but most people do make out well with fix-er uppers. And I’d prefer to live in a detached home over a duplex if it was financially possible, even if it needed some help, lol.

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