I am looking at buying my first investment which is a duplex. I am planning on living on the one side and renting out the other side along with trying to get someone to live with me to cut down on costs and try to live for free. Looking for some tips for a first time investor. Thanks
You would first have to find a duplex to buy. This isn't as easy as it sounds. House hacking is a commonly used financial defense to reduce living expenses. The best defense is a good offense. Go double your income.
@Anthony Dooley is right in that finding a duplex may be difficult depending on your market. I'd add single family houses with a guest house or mother-in-law suite to your search. If you're having a tough time locating one that meets your criteria, consider renting a SFH with 4 or more rooms and renting out the rooms individually.
Also, learn how to manage a rental. I'd recommend Brandon Turner's book on landlording to give you a good idea of what you're getting yourself into.
Like @Brandon Dumbuya said, don't be handcuffed by the idea of a true duplex. A basement apartment or mother-in-law suite can achieve the same thing ... but with one big caveat. A true duplex can be rented out both sides when you leave. With some exceptions, most SFHs with that income suite in the basement can only be rented as a whole house as soon as you move out. At least that's the case in the cities where we work. One way to do both is to look for SFHs with duplex-like zoning. For instance, we look for homes with "R2" in Colorado Springs or homes zoned "TU" in Denver. That gives you more flexibility to rent both units when you leave.
Don't mean to dissuade you from a true duplex. If you can find it, then awesome. I wish. you luck, whatever path you take. Cheers!