Buying a new house...thoughts on a duplex? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-16-2013, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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We've had our house on the market for about a year now. We've accepted an offer and we're just waiting to get the inspection done if all goes through we'll be out of here in July(the closing date is 3 days after my due date for baby number 4...sigh)


We're making enough after all of our closing expenses ect ect to clear out ALL debt including our car payment and student loans and enough for a small down payment on a new place


We've been pre-approved for at least 180 000 and we've found a fixer upper duplex in a nice neighborhood big enough for our growing family and the second apt is big enough for a family as well. The duplex is 130 000 so it gives us $50 000 to reno the appts. Even if we take a mortgage for the whole amount offered to us we can easily afford it(our mortgage payments will actually be less then currently AND we'd have no debt bills to pay every month). So if for some reason the apt isn't filled we could cover the costs and we'll be able to put some money in an emergency apt fund for those "oh crap" issues


My thoughts are having a duplex and the income coming in from the apartment seems like it could *really* help too.


Any Mom's out there with income property experience give me some more info and thoughts pls

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#2 of 7 Old 05-17-2013, 11:06 AM
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I just wanted to say sounds like a great idea to me. No advice.

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#3 of 7 Old 05-17-2013, 11:30 AM
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We didn't have a duplex but did own the property right next door to our former house and we rented it out.


When you have a good tenant, it can be a great investment.  When you have a bad tenant, it can be hell.  It was very hard for me to evict tenants.  After the second time, I just couldn't do it anymore and we sold it.  A big reason it was hard for me was that I was seeing the people every day and I felt sorry for them. 


I would do it again and I am actually looking around for a nice duplex in my area.  The one thing I will do differently is have a rental agency handle the background checks and rent collections. 


Off the top of my head, some things to consider -


Utilities - who pays what?  will each unit have their own meters for electric, gas, water, sewer?  (you should but sometimes it isn't possible or financial feasible)


Trash collection - will you have a dumpster?  or curbside pick up?  Who will pay?  I know a lot of landlords that provide trash removal to avoid the possibility of tenants not paying for trash pick up.


Common areas - if you have a shared yard or porch, think about how you will dictate its use.


I think your idea is a great one, I hope it works out for you.  If you have any specific questions, fire away.

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#4 of 7 Old 05-17-2013, 12:01 PM
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Speaking as someone who lives in a side-by-side duplex, I say be VERY careful who you rent to and think about putting a fence down the middle of the yard instead of a shared situation.  I used to live in a side-by-side with our landlords on the other side and it was fabulous for when things went wrong at odd hours but hell when I was late on rent and we shared the house and yard and our front doors were inches apart.  My current living situation stinks because I loathe the people next door.  The kids pick all the flowers in my yard that I work so hard to take care of and leave trash and toys and clothing items everywhere and never pick up.  They have friends over and trash the yard and break all my kids' toys. But a year ago we had fabulous neighbors that we adored and our kids played together like siblings and shared nicely and we hung out like friends.  We still get together even though they moved.  But that said, I would HIGHLY recommend separate spaces outdoors and very strict rules about utilities and such.  We have shared water so the landlord pays 40% and each tenant pays 30% of the quarterly bill and it's quite affordable as long as one side isn't washing cars daily or watering the lawn like mad all summer in a drought.  We have a shared deck and yard but separate basements.  There's also a shed on each side of the yard for outdoor storage items.


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#5 of 7 Old 05-17-2013, 12:18 PM
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Duplexes are very common in our town. Some are newer but all in my neighborhood are single family homes that were converted at some point. Out of 11 homes on my block, 4 are duplexes. The block up from me is almost entirely duplexes. We do not live in one but are landlords. Like others have said, be careful. It can either be wonderful or a nightmare depending on who you rent to. If you can swing it, definitely hire a rental agency to be the "bad guy". I am a softie and got myself into my current nightmare tenant situation because I am too nice. First, last month's rent, deposit, references, credit and background check are essential since it will be owner occupied property, you want to know who your kids are playing with... Rental agencies are much better at being firm. If you can separate out the yard  then even better. The ones on my block all have separate yards with some of the yards being creative like one has the front and one has the back. Separate doesn't have to mean equal. If you end up really bonding then different arrangements can be made but if it is someone that you end up not liking at least you aren't being forced to chitchat while you share yard space. 

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#6 of 7 Old 05-17-2013, 12:39 PM
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I think it sounds like a great idea as long as you rent to a decent family. We are currently renting a townhouse with a complete lockout apartment downstairs, that can be rented out for atleast $600 a month. We are considering buying this place as renting out the downstairs, would cover almost all of our mortgage. Some people are surprised by our thoughts on buying this type of housing, but our motivation is to not spend a lot of money on living expenses so that I can continue to stay home with our kids. That is the most important thing to us, so if the Duplex allows you to do that I say GO FOR IT!


Also think about maybe not using a lease. I know it sounds weird, but renters tend to have WAY more rights than the landlords, and we have many friends who rent out places with out a lease that way if their is a problem, they can just ask the people to leave without it becoming a legal battle. In our states tenants who do not pay rent can continue to occupy a rental for alomst 6 months and longer if it is winter. Yikes!

Me, slinggirl.gif mama to 1.5 yr old kid.gifDS, step mama to two tweens, married to a sarcastic sports nut censored.gif. We are unschooling! mdcblog5.gif

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#7 of 7 Old 05-20-2013, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice! The place we went to look at was a no-go sadly it was WAY destroyed to the point that I don't think it'll ever sell besides for the sad


But we are continuing to look for a duplex or something with a basement apt ect. Our families think we're crazy but we have enough friends and extended family that I know we could find someone sane to rent to and it would help SO much. Anything to help me stay home with my soon to be 4 kids since in all honesty I can't AFFORD to go back to work anyways eyesroll.gif

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