How to Properly Harness the Investment Power of a Duplex

There are few investment vehicles more versatile than the standard American duplex. Essentially two dwellings that share a common wall (although sometimes a lower vs. upper floor) these economic workhorses have many different options to meet a variety of financial objectives.

Superior flexibility

You can rent out one side or both sides – whatever meets your needs. This offers a huge amount of flexibility. Many duplex owners live on one side or floor and rent out the other – a great concept in that it’s like owning a house that also pays the bills. But other owners elect to rent out both sides and focus strictly on maximizing income. The great thing is that the duplex allows you to custom tailor everything to your personal goals.

Plentiful financing options

Because a duplex is a close relative of the single-family home, there are plentiful financing options for every property. We have never heard of a duplex deal that fell apart because of lack of mortgage availability. In addition, many mom & pop owners will consider seller financing for the simple reason that they can make around 5% carrying the debt while only 2.5% in conservative investments like CDs and Treasuries.

Easy management

One big advantage that a duplex has over an apartment complex is a much more manageable number of tenants (either one or two) and that means that you don’t have endless repair calls to contend with. In addition, if you live in the duplex yourself, you don’t have to go very far to check on repairs or confirm the need for the repairman. In fact, there’s no time invested in all in keeping a strict eye out on your property because you’re already there.


Duplexes have an excellent track record of performance as investment vehicles. From versatility to financing to management, they are workhorses of financial success.

By Frank Rolfe

Frank Rolfe has been a commercial real estate investor for almost three decades, and currently holds nearly $1 billion of properties in 25 states. His books and courses on commercial property acquisitions and management are among the top-selling in the industry.