What is a Duplex?

A duplex is a single residential building that has two homes within it. In most cases, Australian duplexes consist of one overall structure divided into two identical halves by a central wall. 

Duplexes can be covered by one land title or can exist as separate titles. The two homes can be sold together or individually, depending on the arrangement. 

Each home in the duplex can essentially stand on its own, having its own entrance, driveway, amenities, and other things that a typical home would possess. They would have independent kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, gardens, garages, etc. Often, they have separate mailing addresses, the most common example being something like “300A” and “300B” on the same street. 

side by side duplex

Types of Duplexes

  • Single-Storey Duplex. The single-storey duplex is the most prevalent, consisting of a single-storey home divided in the middle by a vertical wall.
  • Two-Storey Duplex. In the same way, two-storey duplexes are divided by a central vertical wall. They are generally structured like typical homes. 
  • Horizontally-Divided Duplex. Far less common is a duplex wherein the division consists of upper and lower homes. 
  • Battle axe block duplex. This is one behind the other.

Building or Purchasing a Duplex Block

Advantages of a Duplex

As an investor that is seeking to build or purchase a duplex to have it rented out, a single building investment would give two steady streams of income. This is also advantageous because money will have been saved on the land purchase of a duplex as opposed to that of two separate houses, since the latter would require much more land. 

As one seeking to live in a duplex, you can expect less cost as opposed to buying a house. In some cases, the cost of a duplex can go down to half the price of a regular home. There are many further advantages to this, most notably that it opens the possibility of living in a premium location for lower costs. Related to this is the possibility of the increase in value of the land you purchase with the duplex, which is most especially applicable in premium areas. 

If you decide to purchase the entire duplex structure (both homes), it could also be convenient for living with grandparents or older children. It could work as a solution to provide privacy between family members but also make them easily accessible to one another.

By choosing a duplex, you would also avoid a few inconveniences that you might run into with an apartment. First and foremost, there wouldn’t be any body corporate fees. Second, you would only have one set of really close neighbours, unlike apartments in which you would have dozens of neighbours. 

Of course, duplexes have all the benefits of a regular home. They are usually spacious enough to be comfortable and possess most if not all the amenities you would find in any given home. Their land and gardens also tend to be smaller, which would make them easier to maintain. 

Negatives of a Duplex

In comparison to a standalone home, the main drawback of owning half of a duplex is still the proximity to your neighbour in the other half. To many people, this alone is undesirable. Then there is the factor of course of having to get the approval of your neighbour for any construction or renovation, most especially for changes in the external parts of the duplex or in the garden landscape. Sometimes, insurance policies also need to be negotiated and agreed with your neighbour to cover both homes. 

These same factors also apply if you own the entire building, and live in one home while renting out the other, which many duplex owners decide to do in order to collect rental income. 

Naturally, a duplex would likely offer less space than a full-sized house. Although they can be comfortable, those that would like ample space and are willing to spend for it might be more satisfied owning a standalone home. 

Should you buy a Duplex Block and house?

Like any investment, the purchase of a duplex demands prudent research. The same factors that apply when purchasing a regular home must be studied. In addition to the usual points like location and layout, the structure of the duplex must also be taken into consideration. Some duplexes have one home at the back instead of both homes facing the street, while others may have different facades, which are a few common examples of characteristics that may decrease value. 

With the right research, building or purchasing a duplex can turn out to be a cost-effective solution or a profitable investment. Contact a Perth building broker for advice.

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