If you’re househunting and you’ve seen the term “duplex” in the real estate listing, you may be confused. Is that the type of home that would be good for you and your family? Duplexes can be a good fit for all kinds of people regardless of age, profession, and lifestyle.

In this article by the contracting professionals at Nick’s Developments, we’ll look at the definition of a duplex, how it compares to other property types such as townhouses, as well as the pros and cons of diving into the duplex life. There are so many things to think about including privacy, access to a driveway or backyard, price, and lawn work, so let’s get started.

What is a Duplex?

So what is a duplex home exactly? The concept of a duplex is highly coveted by many homeowners because it allows you to maintain your privacy, while also achieving that sense of community and the ability to socialize with neighbors. A duplex is one home that consists of two units, sharing some common structural elements such as a floor, roof, or walls. But each unit has its entrance. The design of duplexes varies in terms of other shared spaces such as garages, laundry rooms, and backyards.

Duplex House vs. Townhouse

If you’re thinking of a duplex vs townhouse, it’s important to note that duplexes and townhouses have many similarities. There are some distinct differences too though. Both share a common element such as a roof, wall, or floor, but both have separate living areas. There are also separate bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. The major difference between a duplex and a townhouse has to do with ownership. Each townhouse is individually owned, but with a duplex, the home generally belongs to one owner. In a duplex, the owner rents out one unit and lives in the other one. And with a townhouse, you may have two neighbors, whereas with a duplex you only have one.

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Duplex House vs. Condo

If you’re thinking about a condo vs duplex, it’s important to start by knowing that condos are many units within a building or several buildings. It’s similar to an apartment building, but the big difference here is that you own the property. And in addition to property tax, you’ll also be paying for monthly condo fees that go towards general building maintenance and emergency repairs. With a duplex, you’re responsible for mowing grass, shoveling snow, and other types of landscaping duties. It’s much closer to traditional freehold home ownership.

Is a Duplex Right For You?

If you’re househunting and deciding between a duplex, a house, or a condo it can be a very difficult choice to make. Many homeowners struggle with the very same issue. A duplex has many benefits to traditional detached or semi-detached homes such as privacy, a garage, and a backyard. It’s more affordable than typical single-family homes in the Greater Toronto Area. You need to think of your family’s priorities and budget before landing on a final decision and saddling yourself with a mortgage for years to come. 

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And while many realtors will tout the cheaper price tag on a duplex, it all varies on the region, city, neighborhood, local market demands, and the time of the year. Do you want a duplex in the suburbs with great access to highways and other commuter routes? Or do you want a duplex that’s in a trendy downtown neighborhood and within walking distance of all kinds of shops? The choice is up to you.

Advantages of Living in a Duplex

There are many advantages for homeowners thinking of purchasing a duplex. Here are just a few examples for you to consider: 

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  • Duplex houses and duplex apartments are more budget-friendly for house hunters 
  • There are separate entrances for the people living in duplexes  
  • If you own the entire duplex, you can rent out one of the units for additional income
  • You could have access to your garage or backyard
  • Duplexes only have one shared floor, ceiling, or wall as opposed to condos and townhouses
  • Multi-generational families can live together under the same roof for closeness and convenience, but can still maintain a reasonable amount of privacy

Disadvantages of Living in a Duplex

But nothing is perfect. Here are a few disadvantages of living in a duplex that you should consider before taking the plunge and investing your money. 

  • You will probably have to shovel a driveway in the winter and mow a lawn in the summer. Unlike condos, you are responsible for all of the landscaping and upkeep outdoors. 
  • In a duplex, you might have to share a driveway for parking or a laundry room. 
  • Unlike condos, duplex homes don’t have shared amenities such as a pool, gym, or party room. 
  • It might be difficult sharing your space with neighbors if they don’t respect your boundaries, space, and noise levels.

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So while there are many pros and cons to consider with a duplex, it all comes down to what your priorities are in terms of space, budget, and location. If you don’t want to pay high condo fees or can’t afford a traditional single-family, then a duplex may be the perfect solution for you and your family. 

However, if you don’t think you’re up for the stress of having to share your space with a neighbor who isn’t considerate, then this would not be the ideal situation for you. 

And if you are moving into a new duplex, you’ll likely want to renovate, so contact Nick’s Developments for all of your home renovation needs. From conceptual design to construction and the finest finishing touches in the business, contact us today for an estimate and consultation. We offer an unparalleled quality of customer service when it comes to home renovation consultation, kitchen renovations, home additions, custom homes, and architectural planning. Call Nick’s Developments now for all of your home renovation needs in the Greater Toronto Area.