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Buying half a duplex as a rental property -- good or bad idea?

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by GrigioGuy, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. GrigioGuy

    GrigioGuy Splenda Daddy
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    Nov 26, 2001
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    Hello all,

    There's an area of my town that has several streets of duplex homes. I've been looking at a few as rental properties, but it never seems like both halves of a duplex are for sale at the same time. I'd like to pick up a unit or two, but I'm concerned about owning half a home.

    Does anyone own part of a duplex? How do you handle exterior appearance, foundation repairs, etc? What happens if Joe Homeowner in the attached unit doesn't pay his property taxes? Any other pitfalls?
     
  2. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 24, 2003
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    Tillman...The first question you need to answer is how good is the neighborhood. If its mostly middle class with families, you are probably OK. If the 'hood' is of 'marginal' clientel, you may want to spend a bit more and buy a small townhouse.

    If you can break even on a rental unit, the depreciation writeoff will get you a little ahead of the game. I would not buy ANY rental property in ANY area that does not have an appreciation record of at least 10% a year for the last 4-5 years (with the exception of a new area that will soon boom).
     
  3. GrigioGuy

    GrigioGuy Splenda Daddy
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    Nov 26, 2001
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    In general, this is an area of starter owners and long-term rentals. It's established (they were all built in 83-84) and doesn't appear to have deteriorated any more than comparable SFR areas. We don't have townhomes around here.

    The units are all pretty much identical, and sell in the low 90s-100s for updated units. The ones I'm looking at are in the mid to upper 70s but haven't been updated yet, so I'm looking at either being at a disadvantage in the rental market or investing money/sweat to update. If I take my time and can buy right, I should be OK from the financial side. I'm just concerned about the duplex factor. I can get into SFR properties in my area in the 90s and avoid the issue, but I like the upside potential in the duplex units.

    Thanks for the sounding board
     
  4. davem

    davem F1 Veteran
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    Jan 21, 2002
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    Unless its a hot market or you are getting a great deal i would pass.
    Now if you could buy the Whole property that would change things.
    Too many variables to go wrong with your scenario unless you are going to make a killing.
     
  5. mw575

    mw575 F1 Rookie

    May 30, 2001
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    Martin J Weiner,M.D.
    Pass- Never buy half of anything-too many possible pitfalls.
     
  6. icars

    icars Formula Junior

    Mar 28, 2002
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    Rodney Haas
    Pass it's just to much hassle to have half a property. You should be able to find a duplex in Plano or Carrollton without to much trouble if that's what you are looking for.

    Depends on if you want long term rental or not. We had good luck with a Rental house. We sold it to the long term renters for above market. The one thing I would mention is purchase something that you can easily check up on from time to time. Our last rental house was on the other side of town and kind of a hassle to check on.

    Good Luck

    Rodney
     

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