Buying one side of a duplex.

5 Replies

I found half of a duplex for sale. The property comes with a tenant and even if I were to purchase at asking price, it has a good ROI (around 15%). However, it doesn't seem very desirable to me to own only half of a duplex. I'm unsure of how you would complete required maintenance, especially on the exterior. Does anybody have any experience or thoughts on this? Thanks in advance!

If you are making money on the property I don't see a problem with it.  However, I do see your concerns.  After all, the point of owning a duplex is to have two properties in one.  I would suggest you meet with the other owner and address some of your concerns prior to submitting an offer.

Some of them will have a HOA, if they don't you're basically responsible for your side (at least from what I've been told). The main appeal is they are cheap and since no HOA it makes them even cheaper to operate. But you're right that they likely won't appreciate well (probably won't depreciate though either).

@Gavin Hall , I don't know about your market, but a half duplex has become very desirable in Denver. It's common, even in the popular historic neighborhoods, for a developer to buy a property in the duplex zoning, scrape the existing home(s) and build a new spec duplex. It's then possible to divide the single deed into two separate deeds at the county courthouse, have a lawyer draft a "party-wall agreement", and the developer can sell each half-duplex (aka single-family attached dwelling; aka townhome) to separate parties. The homeowner apparently likes it because the townhome can come without the burden of an HOA fee. (The party wall agreement can describe shared maintenance issues, but otherwise, there is no "HOA"). I gather that this property could be more attractive than a typical townhome nearby, with a $300/mo HOA fee. And in the duplex, homeowner owns half the land of that original lot.....the plat would be recorded too.

Thanks for the input everybody, I appreciate the helpful responses!

It really depends on the neighborhood. I have purchased 2 half-duplex units. One of them had just been painted on the outside on both sides prior to the sale. We have a restrictive HOA, so all the units are required to be the same color and same style roof. It also covers the lawn care and trash removal. They are pretty good about reminding the property owners about maintenance issues when they come up. One downside to only owning half of the building is that you are cannot control who lives on the other side. If they are loud, have junk sitting around or have a big dog, it can affect your ability to attract and keep good renters.

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