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Should you Buy a House or Duplex?

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Hey guys, today we're talking about real estate property options. Now, if you're thinking about buying a home, you've got some important decisions to make. Do you go for a single-family detached house, a duplex, or a half duplex? Let's break it down.

First up, let's talk about the duplex. One of the major advantages of a full duplex is that you can live in one side and rent out the other, which can help you pay off your mortgage and build equity in your property. But hold on a sec, because being a landlord ain't all sunshine and rainbows. Dealing with tenants can be a real pain in the butt, and you'll need to make sure that both sides of the duplex are well-maintained to keep your tenants happy and your property valuable.

If you can't quite afford a single family detached home or a full duplex, a half duplex can provide a lot of the same benefits at a more affordable price point. Many half duplexes also have a second suite which can be tenanted for a quick mortgage helper. Half duplexes also give you a lot more freedom than condos or townhouses since these often come with restrictive rules, bylaws, and strata payments that you have to pay. However, while new built duplexes and half duplexes receive the same standard strata bylaws initially, many of these homes become non-comforming, meaning they don't hold regular strata meetings, and often don't enforce many of the standard bylaws. This really all comes down to who your neighbor is, if they're pretty relaxed and easy going you might have flexibility to amend or do away with some of the bylaws that aren't necessary (i.e. certain pet restrictions).

Now, let's talk about space. If you need a lot of room, a single-family detached house is probably the way to go. They generally offer more square footage than a duplex which is great if you have a big family or like to entertain. Single family detached homes also often have a secondary rentable suite, typically in the ground level or garden/basement level of the home. The main benefit of a single family detached home is that there typically is no stratification at all, which means no bylaws to worry about. Single family detached homes and full duplexes also have another advantage over half duplexes. This is that you don't have to coordinate with your neighbor on property maintenance and repair. This can be a non-issue if you have a good relationship with a reliable neighbor. However, if someone purchases the other half of the duplex you're living in and they are unwilling or unable to cooperate on maintaining your home or fixing a structural problem (i.e. roof replacement) this can land anywhere between a minor annoyance and a major problem.

But remember, you gotta consider your budget. A house is often gonna be comparable to a duplex and more expensive than a half duplex. If you plan to stay there long-term, and your budget allows for it, a single family detached or full duplex could be worth the investment. On the other hand, a half duplex is usually more affordable and can be a smart move if you're looking for a short-term investment or an attainable option to get into the market now.

At the end of the day, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. You gotta weigh the pros and cons and figure out what works best for you. So do your research, talk to your real estate agent, and make the best decision for your situation. Thanks for tuning in, folks.


I am a Victoria based local realtor with eXp Realty. My commitment to honesty, integrity, loyalty and hard work have been important pillars for me because they drive a high standard of excellent service for my clients. Helping you realize your dream is my goal!

I service Vancouver Island, but my focus is on: Victoria, Sooke, Saanich, Malahat, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill, Duncan, and the rest of the Cowichan Valley.



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