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Buy a duplex for low cost living!

January 18, 2013 by Karl

duplexberry berry berry berry berry


This may actually be the best kept secret ever!

One of the biggest tips I could ever offer comes from what I learned in the monopoly game as a kid. If you fit into any of these categories: single, low-income, renting, married with one income, just slugging through life, you can very likely buy a duplex and live in a nicer place for less money.  NO JOKE!

Back in my single years I wanted to buy a home but knew I couldn’t afford one when looking at my income compared to the prices of houses. I had looked at a few mobile homes, but realized very quickly that this would be a bad investment.  Mobile homes give you a house payment along with a property rental fee with no real value once it is paid off. Bad idea.

I had heard a few years before that buying a duplex (two apartment house) was a good idea, and so I started investigating. I contacted a local Real Estate agent and showed her my income.  She agreed that this would be a good option and showed me a few duplexes that I could afford at my income level. Keep in mind that you can afford more home when you buy a duplex because you are collecting rental income from one apartment while you live in the other.  The banks see this as a secure investment.

I was totally shocked when I realized that I could buy a home, live in one apartment and rent out the other, all for about half the amount I was paying in rent for a one bedroom (if you could call it that) studio apartment.  Less money per month, and a bigger apartment!  Was there a downside?  I didn’t see it. (and still don’t)

This ended up being the best investment I ever made. Yes, I did need to learn the in’s and out’s of being a landlord, but this wasn’t much of a headache considering the amount I was saving every month. I considered it a significant monthly income for only about 30 minutes worth of work a month (usually less than that).

After buying that first duplex and living cheap for the first few years I was able to save enough money for a down-payment on another duplex. I moved out of the first, rented out my previous apartment, and moved into the second. When I was married, we bought a new house and kept the rental properties.  They were paying for themselves and giving us some income on the side.

Why would anyone NOT do this? I have talked to many people over the years about this very thing.  They come up with every excuse in the book – they’re not handy, they don’t want the responsibility of being a landlord, they don’t have enough money (not true), if it’s that easy why isn’t everyone doing it? I think these are the same excuses that we all make for ourselves when looking at the possibility of stepping out of our comfort zone….. even if the pasture is CLEARLY greener on the other side. Sometimes that comfort zone that we live in ends up being our excuse to continue wallowing in our own misery. It’s painful where we are, but fear of the unknown keeps us from changing things.

My job in creating this post is to try to convince you that YOU CAN DO THIS! You don’t need to settle! Yes, I ran into a few glitches as a landlord, but we run into problems in everything that we do in life.  Why not move forward in life rather than just slogging along?

If you already own a home I encourage you to talk to any friends you may have that are renting. Help them out of the endless cycle of paying someone else’s mortgage.  Show them this article!

If you are interested, the next step is to talk with a Real Estate Agent in your area.  Don’t just pick one out of the phone book.  Talk to friends and ask them if they know a good agent. Ask at your local church. But however you go about it, don’t procrastinate!  Make a phone call today! It could be the beginning of a much less stress filled life!

If you are using your credit score as an excuse I encourage you to talk with a mortgage officer.  If you don’t know one, ask a Real Estate Agent! They are all very helpful and willing to help people out. If you explain to them that you have bad credit but want to figure out how to change your credit picture, they will likely help you out.

If you need a good Real Estate Agent in the Fort Wayne, IN area, or the Philadelphia PA suburbs, I can give you some names of good people.  Just comment below.

Now is the perfect time to buy because mortgage interest rates are so low!  Don’t wait!


  1. Tammy says:

    Do you know of a good real estate agent in the philadelphia area

  2. Carline says:

    I thank you for sharing this, it is indeed informative.

  3. Joe says:

    Good agent in fort wayne?

  4. Tai - Nan Rivera says:

    Do you know of a good real estate agent in the philadelphia area

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