Types of Residences: Condos and Duplexes

Townhomes, Condos, Duplexes/Quadplexes, Single-Family Homes, Apartments, and Multi-Family:
Part 2

We will continue going over all of the different types of residences and structures in this article. Specifically, more into condos and duplexes.

Condos

One of the advantages of buying a condo is that it is going to be considerably cheaper than a single-family home. And because you share certain common areas, you can also share the costs of upkeep. Many condos will require you to join a home-owner’s association, however. These are sometimes benign, sometimes they are helpful, but if you get into the wrong one than you will be forced to follow their wishes. And some are extremely restrictive, and will fine you for something as simple as having a sign in your yard, planting a tree without permission, or painting your house a different color than what it initially was.

HOA’s are great in a town like Houston, where the city and the planning and zoning council does not have very many local ordinances and has very little power to affect change and enforce codes. Especially compared to Austin, San Marcos, and New Braunfels, where the city already has a lot of ordinances, codes and zoning laws that restrict someone from creating eyesores with their use of the property.

In San Marcos, you can’t leave a broken down car in your lawn, you can’t knock down a tree without either planting a replacement or getting permission from the city office. Houston however doesn’t have a law against having a broken down car in your lawn. So if you want to stop your neighbor from destroying their property and eventually effecting your own property value, you need an HOA. Regardless of where you are, do your research first and make sure they are a force for good and not an unnecessary burden.

Duplex

A duplex (or triplex/quadplex) is a type of rental apartment that is on the same property, and typically is a stand-alone building with 2 attached units (or 3 or 4 for triplexes and quadplexes, respectively). Some duplexes are a 2-story home with one unit on the first floor, and the 2nd unit on the top floor, with a flight of stairs inside that leads you to the top floor from the ground floor. These duplexes, though containing 2 separate living spaces/units, are considered the same property as far as ownership goes.

The fact that one property can contain up to 4 different units makes it attractive to investors because it is generally not priced for much more than a traditional home, but provides multiple income streams and a single vacancy will not ruin your cash flow completely. An advantage to the residents is that you can save money compared to normal homes, and not have as many people or traffic compared to apartments. It is a decent in between for those who do not want to pay for a rental home but want to avoid the number of people that are in an apartment complex.

Stay tuned for our next article where we will go over single and multifamily homes and residences.

Photo credit: Shawn Harquail on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

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