You've probably heard the term 'duplex' before...
But what exactly is a duplex, and how does it differ from a condo or townhouse? What about a twin home?
Let's dive into the key characteristics and features of duplexes, duplexes for sale right now, and more.
A duplex is a multifamily residential property with two living units. The units typically either share a wall (arranged side-by-side) or a ceiling/floor (one on top of the other). The units each have their own individual entrances and do not have an interior connection. Exterior spaces such as backyards or the driveway may be shared, depending on how the property is arranged. Crucially, both units have the same owner and are on the same lot/parcel. Owners have the option to live in one unit and rent out the other, rent out both, or occupy both units.
The main difference between duplexes, condos, and townhouses is who owns the units. Both units in a duplex (and all three in a triplex, all four in a quadplex, etc.) are owned by a single owner, whereas the units in a condo are owned by individual owners and common structural elements and amenities have shared ownership.
See: What is a Condo?
Duplexes are similar to townhomes in that both share a connecting wall with another home and have their own individual exterior entrances, but townhouses have different owners, and many townhouses are sold as if they are condos and thus are also subject to similar shared ownership rights and responsibilities for certain shared structures such as roofs and utility connections.
Because of the singular owner, the units in a duplex would not generally be subject to the rules and regulations of a homeowner's association the way condos and townhouses would be (although depending on the neighborhood, all the properties in the area including the duplex as a whole may be part of an HOA, such as in a planned neighborhood development).
Twin homes are similar to duplexes in that they share a single wall. However, unlike duplexes, the two homes are on two separate lots that may have different owners, with the dividing line running along that shared wall. Twin homes are less likely to be under the same sorts of HOA restrictions that many townhouses are, so one of the "twins" may end up looking quite different than the other as time passes.
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