Pros and Cons of Purchasing a Shared Duplex

8 Replies

I'm looking into a duplex property that has 1 section available for sale. Trying to think the pros and cons of purchasing just one unit. The other unit isn't for sale as far as I know. Unit in question requires some work and is currently vacant. 


I have learned 1 con after I purchased a shared duplex...dealing with the other owner!  BTW, my unit is still doing well for me, so not a deal-killer.

Is your deal a side/side or an up/down? 

That is better. You may have issues when maintenance items, like the roof, arise. OTOH, maybe you will be able to buy the other unit at some point.

2 of my duplexes are side/side. I like them a lot, as the tenants do all of the lawn maintenance as they have their own lawn!

@Ahmad Kakar You might benefit for a few years because you are in a strong market but will eventually have a lot of frustration when it comes time to do major maintenance. 

E.g. roof replacement is a major pain when 2 people need to agree. It would be hard to just replace your side of the roof. 

If you're only looking to buy for a short period of time (less than 5-7 years) and the duplex doesn't have major capex issues, you might be fine buying it and riding the appreciation wave. 

Originally posted by @Ahmad Kakar :

@Dick Stevens , no NOA fees. Can you give me some examples of the hassles that I can anticipate? The unit I'm looking at needs about 8K in work as well.

When the roof needs to be replaced or house needs to be painted, will other side cooperate and share it?  Does other side rent to loud messy smokers with 3 pit bulls and a car on blocks in the front yard while you want to attract a clean, quiet, non-smoking non pet owning tenant on your side?

As someone who likes his properties clean and well kept, no way in hell would I own one side of a duplex.  I want the lawn/landscaping clean and well maintained, I want to attract good tenants who keep the place clean etc.  When half of the property is out of your control there is no way to maintain any standards as far as how well kept it is.

I saw quite a few of those in Atlanta and there's just no way I'd do it unless I thought the other owner was considering selling. I imagine the worst: a neighbor who is trashy and keeps empty soda cans or water bottles on the lawn, toys strewn about, doesn't cut the grass, smokes, has excessive traffic, vicious dogs, unclean or untidy enough to attract and feed roaches, loud music that disturbs my tenant, or even maintenance like the roof or windows. The one I looked at literally had yellow shutters while the other unit had white. It has flowers planted in the lawn while the other side had brownish grass and lots of weeds. The stairs were falling apart and the driveway was cracked, while the yellow side looked like the cement had just been repaired. Worst of all, it had brand new windows and the other unit didn't. It was just very unsightly and a bright red flag.