One - 3 Bed/Bath House or One - 2 Bed/Bath Duplex?

13 Replies

Hey everyone!

What do you think would work best for a new investor with low starting capital? I think long-term, a duplex is the better option since I'd be able to eventually move out and switch my place for a tenant and invest in another property. 

I am considering buying one property (3 Bed/Bath) since I am starting out with low capital for an FHA (3.5) - Will buy "as-is" to get better approval odds and avoid the 203K loan.

The reason I am considering this is because most duplexes I've come across that are also within my budget (≤ $25OK) are in not such great shape nor in the best neighborhood; and it's only logical since my budget is so low. But hence, I ask if getting one - 3-bedroom/bath house would be the better option given my situation.


@Diego Furlan I spent a long time in Denver and i'd recommend getting the duplex and living in one side so you can offset your expenses with the income from the other side. It will also introduce you to being a landlord! 

If you do not have the capital to buy the duplex today then I would focus on creating a pipeline of off market duplexes and instead of buying the first one just wholesale it (or other SFH's) until you have enough cash for the duplex!

@Diego Furlan There are duplexes in Denver for $250k... Are you looking at one side of a duplex for that price?

Do not wait to buy a place, try wholesaling, and then buy a duplex down the road. That is incredibly hard. If you can't find a duplex, then buy a single-family, rent out rooms and move out when you have the capital to buy another place.

@Chris Lopez Thank you for your reply, Chris! You're right, I have found a few duplexes here in Denver. What I meant to say was that - the living conditions of the duplexes I have found that would also meet my budget, are subjectively speaking, not in the nicest conditions nor locations. But then again, this is why I was considering buying a one 3BD/B house and not a 2BD/2B duplex as it would provide an overall better living condition that also stays within my budget.

@Diego Furlan Thanks for the clarification. One of my focuses as an agent is helping clients buy Nomad and house hacking properties. Based on closing dozens of these deals and running various financial models, you'll be better off buying a 3/2 house.


1) Compare the available inventory of 3/2 houses vs duplexes <$250k. There are no duplexes in that price range!

2) The important aspect for wealth building is acquiring properties, not getting the perfect house hack of a duplex. The vast majority of house hacks and nomads that we buy are single family homes, not multis. 

Buy the 3/2 house (or condo or townhouse - it still works with HOA fees) ASAP over waiting for a duplex. Do NOT spin your time trying to wholesale to build up capital to buy a duplex. That is starting a business, not investing. If you want to, do it, but invest with a house hack at the same time. I see way more people having success with this route.

Are you working with agent?

@Chris Lopez Your suggestion is exactly what I had in mind when I posted this question. Thank you for your viewpoint on this scenario! Interestingly enough, just recently I came across a house whose metrics, in my opinion, do meet the criteria of a solid (subjectively, speaking) CoCROI. This house is in Georgia, though. (If you're open to and willing to give it a look, I'd love to hear what your thoughts are!)

And yes, Chris. Currently, I am working with Paul Aceto, a great team leader at the Aceto Firm here in Denver.

Again, I appreciate all the feedback! Let me know if you want to hear the numbers on that property I briefly touched on. 

Thanks, Chris!

@Diego Furlan Glad to hear you're on the right track!

I'll pass on looking at the deal in GA. I know Denver metro, so I stay in my lane! Why are you looking in GA if you live in Denver?

Lean on your agent to run and review numbers. That's part of the job!

@Diego Furlan

If you are comfortable living with other people, you might also look into coliving. This can be done by purchasing a 3bd+, 2 or 3 bath home and renting out the other bedrooms to supplement your rent. I've done this in many homes now in the Denver area, buying homes with more bedrooms each time. I like my housemates and we often have a lot of fun together besides getting to live in the city center.

@Chris Lopez Thank you! And I'm looking into GA because I previously lived there and I'm more familiar with the good/not too good areas/neighborhoods. But more importantly, because my budget fits better in that market. Thanks for the feedback, Chris!

@Lia Martinez - Thanks for the feedback! After reviewing several listings, I started thinking that maybe just buying 1 - 3/3 house and not 1 duplex would work just as well while saving a lot of capital but also sacrificing your privacy. So, I'm glad to hear it's worked for you more than just once! Thank you, Lia!

@Diego Furlan

If you're going to go the coliving route, I would just be sure that Plan B also works:

That when/if you eventually move out of the home or the city cracks down because of group housing laws (set to be changed this coming January), you can rent the whole house and still cover your mortgage. Coliving is a great way to increase your cash flow per sq ft. But it can also be more management intensive and/or run afoul of Denver housing laws if you have terrible neighbors. Also good to have a Plan B (and C for that matter).