Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to Make Money by Buying a Duplex and Renting Out Half of It

You can make money buying a duplex and living in one unit, and renting out the other. However, you need to take the time to find the right property, the right location, and it helps to have some mechanical ability.

Housing Market and Location

Your first concern is the housing market. At the present time it’s a buyers market, but you may live in an area that is currently bucking the trend. Drive through different areas in your town and note the number of houses for sale. Then, call the listing agent for some of them, and find out how long they've been on the market. This let’s you know whether houses are selling, and what to offer.

Location is of paramount importance. Investigate an area through the eyes of someone looking for a place to rent. Is there a mall in the area and are the schools undergraduate or graduate, what are the ages of homes in the area? Do you see children or their toys in yards? All this tells you what you can expect in the way of renters.

Budget Work

Even though you spend more for a duplex than for a single family unit, your monthly expenses should be less. In order to accomplish this, you need to rent the other unit for a minimum of half your monthly expenses. To figure what you need for rent include money for upkeep, insurance, taxes, utilities, mortgage payments, and any other expense you may think of.

By living in your duplex you will be able to save money on insurance, because you will not need a commercial policy. All you will need is a simple homeowner’s policy, which is less expensive.

Another advantage is some cities have grants, or low interest loans, available only to homeowners who live in the home. Because you live in your duplex, you can take advantage of these programs for improvements not only in your unit, but in your tenants unit.

In addition, a money saver is your odds increase to find responsible renters. Often, when a potential irresponsible tenant applies, and they find out the landlord lives in the same building, they may decide to look elsewhere for a place to live.


As a matter of logistics, living in your duplex makes you money. If you’re mechanically inclined and do repairs and maintenance, you don’t have far to travel, and all your tools are at hand.

The secret to making money living in your duplex, is the money you save compared to living in a single dwelling. A final suggestion is to keep track of all expenses. Let your accountant make the decision if an expense is deductible, or not.

- This article was contributed by Jane Sanders from Debt Management. Visit her site for more financial tips, such as how to create the perfect debt management program.


  1. Investigation is critical to all first time home buyer looking for credit and grants. There are other websites available to help you gather information and ideas. Like in the paragraph mentioned above you can go to US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. There is also another website that you can navigate to that will give you a more comprehensive list and that site is When you are a first time home buyer you should be prepared to spend as much time as you can researching all of the programs that are available to you.

  2. Great tips, very informative, thanks for sharing.

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