Is Buying One Side of a Duplex a Good Investment?

Those who are thinking of buying one side of a duplex should take a number of factors into consideration before taking that step. A duplex can be a very good investment if the entire building is purchased, but buying one side can bring a host of problems that are not easily remedied. One side of a duplex can be difficult to sell, and very close neighbors can create a host of problems. Consider the following firsthand experience and advice before buying one side of a duplex. No matter how impressive the home appears, those who are wondering if it is a good investment will probably reconsider after contemplating potential problems that sooner or later are likely to occur.

One Side of a Duplex Can Be Difficult to Resell

When people are searching for a house, many prefer a single family home that is not attached to another residence – unless the price is set accordingly. One side of a duplex should cost less in comparison to a single family home because of a shared wall, roof, and possibly a driveway. In any case, a duplex will probably take longer to sell than a house if the decision is made to move, and this is a serious matter to consider for those that do not plan on staying in the house indefinitely, especially in a buyer’s market.

Difficult Neighbors

Neighbors that are less than friendly, uncaring, or difficult are also a factor when deciding if buying one side of a duplex is a good investment. Even if the current neighbors are wonderful, someone that owns one side of the building will never be guaranteed those neighbors will stay. Someone that owns one side of a duplex is stuck with the resident next door, and unlike a single family home, they may be stuck with ongoing problems. Some duplex residents are very possessive of their side of the property, and this can be particularly difficult for those with kids.

I currently live in a duplex, and the neighbor is extremely difficult to get along with. She is in her late thirties and lives alone, and it is no wonder why she is alone. I should have paid attention to the red flags that were very apparent before we moved in, but we loved the home and thought we could overcome any problems. The neighbor has a private property sign in her front window, and that was the first red flag. Of course a home is private property, and after speaking to her I found out why she found it necessary to post a sign. Kids occasionally cut through her yard to get to the park next to the duplex, and she comes out of her home enraged. She must look out of the windows day and night in an effort to guard her property, and she is a miserable person.

I have kids, and although I have taught them to never cut through someone else’s yard, her personality was a genuine concern. My son would want to skateboard in the driveway, and after getting an idea of this woman’s personality and her apparent dislike of kids, I knew she would have a problem with my son and his friends – even if they never did anything wrong.

I am very thankful we did not buy one side of the duplex we are living in. One evening as my son and his friend’s sat at the end of our side of the driveway doing nothing but talking, she came out of her side of the duplex and began questioning them. She asked if any of them lived here, and she wanted to know their names. She also informed them that she did not like kids hanging around the driveway. This situation would not work. We plan on moving out of the duplex this spring. It is clear we will have continual problems with this neighbor since she feels she can control the entire property, and buying one side of this duplex would not be a good investment for us.

Those who have kids or do not like kids, should not consider buying one side of a duplex unless it is a steal. It will not be a good investment because of potential problems with neighbors, especially if the driveway is shared. A fence can solve backyard problems, but a driveway cannot be divided. Most of all, people cannot be changed.

Noise Problems

Do you enjoy using power tools in your garage? If you are considering a duplex and the garages are joined, buying that duplex will not turn out to be a good investment. A matter of fact, the garage might not be able to be used for any type of woodworking, building, or vehicle repairs. My husband and I have an air compressor, and my father just gave my husband several new woodworking tools. He is apprehensive to use them in the morning or evening because of the neighbor. Her garage wall is attached to ours, and as difficult as she is we are sure she would complain – even if she could barely hear the noise inside her side of the duplex. A separate home with a garage would be a better investment for us since we would not have to worry about disturbing someone just a wall away.

Fewer Options for Exterior Change

If you are thinking about buying a duplex and are wondering if it is a good investment, it might be a fantastic investment if you never plan on changing the exterior of the home. Shortly after moving into our home, our difficult neighbor informed us that we had to have her permission in writing before we could make any exterior changes. I can understand why this would be necessary since some changes would compromise the look of the home, but I want the freedom to do what I want without asking anyone. Buying one side of a duplex is not a good investment if you want the freedom to change your home without permission.

Think long and hard before deciding that buying a duplex is a good investment. After my experience I will never buy one side of a duplex. Even if my less than ideal neighbor moved away, someone even worse could move in. The price does not reflect the inconveniences and potential problems that could come with the duplex, and my husband and I are searching for a single family home to fulfill our needs. A duplex could be a good investment for someone that plans on buying the entire building, but buying only one side is not a good investment because of potential problems with neighbors and the restrictions that will be imposed.

Share this article:

Leave a Comment