SFH vs DUPLEX in Indianapolis

19 Replies

I am looking into buying rental property and have learned the basic pros and cons of buying a Duplex vs a Single Family Home. I am curious to know what investors in the Indianapolis area think about this. What is in demand in the area and what demographic of renters make up most of the renter population. I look forward to hearing from all of you. Thanks

Duplexes are tough in Indy because people can rent SFHs for so cheap. They know for often times just a $100 more per month, they can get an ice SFH where they don't have to deal with the other tenant in the other side of the unit. Because of this, you'll see pretty high vacancy on duplexes here. Just the other day someone sent me numbers on a potential deal, and the duplex had a vacancy rate for the previous 2 years of around 17%.

I'd be interested where your figures come from. I have 6 duplexes here in Indy and am very happy with my experiences. They range from $500 to $950 per side.

@Josh C.  That's awesome! I don't have experience with duplexes. I've been told by several investors to steer clear of them here in Indy. I've only seen numbers from potential deals and analyzed the actual gross rents vs the projection. But, obviously you are showing that it is possible to have good duplexes here in Indy. Where are your properties located?

All center township. Hipster land to sketchyville. :)

@Josh C.  Haha, nice! And you don't have any probably keeping them rented in the lower end areas? I've heard duplexes can do well in Fountain Square or Irvington.

@Rodney Kuhl No problems thus far. $950 per side I get less phone calls then the $500 certainly, but the phone still rings. Once I finish my current rehab I'll be asking $1200 per aide so we'll see how that goes.

@Josh C.  Wow that's awesome! Keep up the good work.

@Account Closed  where are your Indy properties at? We are eye-balling some other properties (one multi) here in town. Where is that $1,200/month duplex at...I need to find me a gold mine like that. Well done.

@Clay Manship Excellent man! Sounds like it may just be more about finding a good deal (as is the same with a SFH) than necessarily multi being bad. I personally have decided to focus on SFHs as I see more potential value in the resale. I agree, I also need to find one of those $1,200/mo properties! I have a rental in Lawrence and will soon have one in Emerson Heights.

@Clay Manship Herron Morton is great if you can afford it. I have 2 in that neighborhood. Both of mine in the 2100 block of penn. Where are you at? Not many quads here.

Oh. Also, that's 1200 per side so $2400 total.
Multi-family is great in 2% rule, but it never fails I am running around fixing stuff somewhere every month.

@Josh C.  

Would love to learn more about what you've got over there...there are some gorgeous properties over in that area. Is your duplex the cool one with red doors along that area that recently sold?

My recent acquisition is a townhome quad on Broadway, so a little east of you and more in the Fall Creek Place area I suppose. Either way after rehab each unit should pull about $900/month, so I am looking forward to it. Sending you a PM now.

@Clay Manship  mine is one that's been under an exterior renovation for the past 3 months. It's the "fresh paint" dark blue at 21st and penn. Also 5 house down duplex brown brick. It nice being so close to Shoefly. :). 

this is a great discussion everyone. Thanks for the help. In the end I guess I need to do more research on the areas asit seems ia duplex may work for some areas and not for others. SFH still seems lto be the safer bet. Especially with the thought of being easier to resell it and serve as an exit strategy. I also get the feeling that a duplex is more reasonable for lower prices rentals but not necessarily higher end stuff because as mention above someone could get a SFH for almost the same price. Thanks again everyone.

As an investor I have yet to invest in a duplex. At this point I have stuck within my business plan of buy&hold towards SFH's. From my PERSONAL experience(through other investors) I have heard more cons then pros. However this is just from my experience as from the comments above there are success stories with duplex's.

So keep at it @Account Closed  you will find what works for you!

I manage three duplexes. One in Bates-Hendricks - $1500 in rent. One in Emerson Heights - $1400 in rent. One in Tuxedo Park - $1200 in rent. On average my renters stay about 2 years. After they vacate, I can normally find another renter within a month. Headaches? No more than SFH. If you do the rehab right and screen your renters, you shouldn't be getting all those calls.

Landlords seem to love them or hate them from what I've seen. I've walked both sides of the spectrum and come back to love them at this point. Managing the turnover is the primary Key. Location and a good house always help, but the duplex can likely yield a higher return over SFH. It's tough to argue that the turnover isn't higher on duplexes, as it is most likely. I've had the occasional call about loud music etc....but I've also seen (with my own eyes) two tenants become great neighbors and attend the neighborhood block party pitch in together with casserole dish in hand. It was the same duplex for both stories!

I know this thread is a little old, but I was looking at a duplex near Forest Manor Park.  I am a newbie at this, so I am wondering about the area from you Indy Locals.  @Yang Xiao @Sterling White @Josh C.

I have read quite a few concerns on maintenance and turnover too.  Just wondering whether this is too risky of a deal...


PM me the deal @Rob Vincent I can offer my input. I personally do not buy in that forest manor area due to high turnover & crime. 

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