You might be familiar with the term duo (or two) which is the Latin root of the term duplex. So, what exactly is an apartment duplex? An apartment duplex is generally defined as a single building that contains precisely two housing units. Typically, a duplex apartment can be further characterized by:
- separate entrances.
- both units are usually similar in size.
How Different is an Apartment or Townhouse From a Duplex?
The biggest difference between a duplex, townhouse, and apartment, other than the number of units contained in the structure, is the way the property is owned.
- Typically, one person owns a duplex and the units are usually rented out. In some cases, the owner may live in one unit and rent out the other. This can be an appealing choice for some looking to earn a little extra to help with their mortgage payments.
- Townhouses can be referred to as single-family dwelling units. This is the same definition as that of a single-family home. The main physical difference between a townhouse and a duplex is that a townhouse typically shares one or more common walls with another single-family dwelling unit. The residents of a townhouse, need not all be related, but typically they are. Duplex apartments share either a common wall and/or a common wall and floor/ceiling. Typically, in a duplex, both dwelling units consist of unrelated families.
- Apartments are usually buildings with multiple families living in the same building. Generally, more than two units per building are considered an apartment (multi-unit) building.
What are the Benefits of Living in a Duplex?
- Affordability – duplexes typically offer the comforts of a home like garages, privacy, and backyards, but are often more reasonably priced than a single-family residential home.
- Private Entrances – Access your home directly from a private entrance
- Just one neighbor – you likely won’t have to deal with too many neighbors or too much noise since there’s only one other unit in close proximity to you.
- Less hassle of sharing spaces – since you only have another neighbor to deal with.
What are the Possible Downsides of Living in a Duplex?
- Often individually owned – If the duplex is individually owned, you are often dealing directly with the property owner versus a professional property management company. When something breaks, the individual may not have the time or resources to track down the proper vendor in a prompt fashion as it’s typically not their primary job
- Living Next to Landlord – If you don’t get along with that neighbor or Landlord, given the amount and proximity of common space, and limited options, it can prove to be a quite uncomfortable living arrangement.
- More Maintenance Involved – Depending on the terms of your lease, you might be responsible or share in the landscaping care (lawn and snow removal) with your neighbor (as opposed to an apartment complex where everything is taken care of)
- Potential Noise – Although you only have one neighbor, if the duplex isn’t built well, you will hear your neighbor and that could be difficult to escape from.
How to Make Your Duplex Lifestyle Easier?
- Establish how common areas like the driveway and yard are to be used by residents of both units so you don’t get into each other’s space.
- Take the time to establish how responsibilities like backyard mowing, gardening, or shoveling are to be handled (check with the terms of your lease and landlord).
- Find out which unit you will be in (top or bottom) and what type of sound control measures are implemented in the construction (i.e. concrete or wood frame, and what type of flooring)
How to Search for Duplexes Near You?
- Start by looking at different listing sites to find available properties in your area.
- Explore the neighborhood and establish whether it is right for you.
- Narrow down your choices based on neighborhood, price, and features you want.
Apartment duplexes are a great choice for many people, while others may prefer apartment complexes that offer townhomes for rent or an apartment complex that offers private entrances to mitigate some of the potential downsides in a duplex. Take the time to consider your own situation.