duplex living

Duplexes’ are classified as a building with two living units inside. These units might be side by side or on top of each other, etc. They can present themselves in the form of apartments, condos, townhouses and more. Duplexes’ can make a living space feel very homey and help families access larger areas with smaller budgets. Much of living in a duplex is similar to that of living in a single-family home. There are, of course, some differences. In addition, there are few things you should consider before moving to a duplex home.

You’ll be very close to your neighbors.

We can’t choose our neighbors, right? And that is even far more prevalent when considering a duplex home because your neighbor is even closer. Typically entrances are, either shared or side by side, making it likely you’ll have plenty of encounters. Along with this, take note of how many walls are shared amongst the two units. This is going to indicate possible noise levels. The larger the space of the shared wall, the more you’ll hear your neighbors. As well as, the closer the two entrances are together, if they aren’t shared, the more crowded an entranceway will be. Duplex-living is fantastic for the community feel and neighborly vibe. With units upon units stacked next to or on top, you and your neighbors are in very close quarters.

How much is shared?

Ensure that the contract clearly states what it includes with the unit. For example, is it a shared laundry room? Is it a shared yard, or does the top unit use the front yard and the bottom unit use the back? Consider if this is something important to you or if you require a private yard. Make a note of if the yard is shared, then how the yard work is divided up? Ensure that the contract is fair and transparent.

A few “extra” responsibilities to look into are:

  • Yardwork
  • House maintenance
  • Snow clearing
  • Holiday decorating
  • Plants/gardens
  • Costs related to the exterior of the unit (foundation cracking, leak, etc.)
  • Is each unit responsible for its own utilities?
  • Are there individual hydro and water meters to measure the consumption of each unit?
  • If smoking is permitted indoors, are the people in the other unit smokers?
  • Is there a policy surrounding cannabis in the duplex?
  • Who is responsible for changing the furnace and fan filters on time?
  • What is the pet policy?
  • What are the rules for hanging large items on the wall, such as a TV or a large piece of artwork?

Does the duplex have onsite laundry?

Consider the amenities that the duplex offers, such as onsite laundry. If the duplex does indeed have onsite laundry, then is it shared or private in each unit? Check around the laundry facilities to note if there is space for each unit to comfortably do their laundry if it’s a shared room. Is there space to keep each unit’s laundry soap and other laundry accessories right in the room, or does each unit need to transport their supplies along with their laundry?

Are the doorways/entryways shared?

Before choosing a duplex home, consider whether or not the doorways are private or shared, along with how much space is available. For example, if you have multiple people living in the unit, a spacious private entryway might be necessary, whereas space might not be a big issue if you’re a single couple.

Do you like the neighborhood?

Typically duplexes are built in residential neighborhoods where there are many duplexes. This means that you need to ensure the duplex is in a neighborhood you like and the general surrounding area. In addition, duplex neighborhoods generally have a very community-like feel to consider before moving into one.

What are the neighbors like?

When you’re considering a unit in a duplex unit, it’s a good idea to ask about the neighbors and the general neighborhood vibe. You might want to consider this because of the noise and the general atmosphere. Some communities have festivals, parades, and other exciting community-led events.

Are the additional exterior costs such as the roof and windows an evenly shared responsibility between the tenants?

It’s essential to ensure you’re aware of what your responsibilities are going into a duplex. It can be difficult to differentiate who is responsible and what, so it should be clearly understood before moving in.

Quick Recap

Duplexes can be an excellent choice to move into. They offer many of the same comforts that a single-family home does while having a close community feel.

Be sure to check out our post on HOAs – Big Yes Or Big No? for more great tips!

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