Contemplating to buy a duplex house in Canada? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Duplexes come in varied shapes and sizes. They are also one of the most preferred housing options among families in Canada.
Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or new to duplex houses, we can help you make a smooth transition with our duplex buying tips. Plus, we have listed why a duplex house is better than other house types.
Without further a do, let’s get down to the details.
What Does a Duplex House Mean?
A single building with two separate units is known as a duplex. The two units generally share a wall between them. Each unit has its entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and driveway. Unlike apartments with duplexes, you share a border with one neighbor only. Additionally, the two units also have a similar address. For instance, one may be 12A, while the other will be 12B.
Buy One Side of Duplex or Both Sides of the Duplex?
A duplex is like an average home, i.e. at once. However, it is not sold as one unit. Whether you buy one or both sides of a duplex is totally up to you. If the duplex structure is strata-titled, you buy one side or unit of it. But if the duplex structure is not strata-title, you’ll have to purchase both units.
Owning one side of the duplex is termed as owning half the block of the land. Purchasing both sides of the duplex structure is termed owning the entire block.
What Kinds of Duplex House Plans are Available in Canada?
In Canada, you will find two options for duplex house plans. The first one is the traditional one,’ where the two units are located next to one another. The second is a two-storey building in which the two units are one above the other. The two units, in this case, are separated through a common ceiling or floor, and the owner of the top floor gains access through internal stairs.
Aside from the two, Canada’s less common duplex option is the back front type. Instead of next to each other, this duplex type is built and has one unit behind the other unit. The demand for this type of duplex house plan is less because the owner of the back unit requires walking past the front to gain access.
Why Buy a Duplex House in Canada?
Buying a duplex house can be exciting, especially when you’ve never lived in a house like this before. But if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and aren’t sure if it is the right choice for you, take a look at the benefits of a duplex houses below:
Less Price, More Space and Features
Most buyers have a dream location in mind when buying a new home. A duplex can be a great way to accomplish that dream. How? A duplex allows you to have half a house at half the cost. Additionally, a duplex is the perfect size house for families and has more space than a single-family home. These houses also come with varied features that one may not get in other homes, such as a basement suite and a large outdoor yard area.
Most people believe in the misconception that a duplex house does not offer enough privacy. However, modern duplex houses in Canada are built with current code requirements, i.e. party walls that cause little or no disruption from neighbors.
Potential Rental Income
If you buy a complete duplex house, i.e. both the units, you can live in one unit and rent out the other. This offers a consistent rental income that can be used to pay out mortgage payments. And since you, as a landlord, will live next door, you will be able to take better care of your rental property and even take immediate actions during an emergency.
Live in a Contemporary Home
It’s often said that duplex houses are old fashioned and out of date. But that’s not the case in Canada, particularly in Chilliwack, British Columbia. The newly built duplexes have become the first choice among homebuyers in this city.
When you own one unit of the duplex, you are responsible for maintaining that part of the house only. This means cleaning half-floor space, managing lesser repairs, and mowing half the lawn.
Stay Together as a Family
One of the best reasons why you should buy a duplex house in Canada is the opportunity to live together as a family. It offers the best of both worlds by allowing families to stay just a few steps away from each other whilst enjoying privacy.
Smart Tips for Buying a Duplex House
Now that you know the benefits, we have some tips to help you buy your dream duplex house in Canada.
Research is Everything
You’ve decided that you want a duplex; that’s step one. The next step is to understand the buying process. Duplex houses are different from other houses. So, before getting any deeper, make sure you know all about them. This will help you determine your needs and reduce your chances of getting cheated on (by the realtor or seller).
Pre-Approval Makes it All Easy
Once you have done your research, it’s time to line up your finances. Verify if you have that kind of money or not. If yes, you can move to the next step smoothly. If not, you might have to take your realtor’s help to find a reliable mortgage broker.
Reach Out to a Realtor
A real estate agent can make your duplex buying experience easier and quicker. Thus, you must contact someone who has been in the industry for a reasonable amount of time. Look for traits like tech-savviness, short response time, patience and local knowledge to find an efficient realtor.
Define your Requirements
Talk to your realtor and share what you are looking for in a duplex. A knowledgeable agent will hook you up with the latest deals on Multiple Listing Services (MLS). And if you are not sure how to determine your requirements, just answer the following questions:
- What is your budget?
- What is your preferred town or neighbourhood?
- Which type of duplex do you want, side by side or top to bottom?
- Do you want both the units of the duplex?
- Are you ready to move in or want to reconstruct?
List down the answers and give them to your agent. If there’s anything you need help with, share those concerns. Your realtor will be more than happy to help and guide you.
Begin Searching and Comparing
While a real estate agent will share the best possible options with you, it’s always better to perform your search. Looking for different options by yourself will give you an idea of what’s in store in terms of price and features. It will also help you compare similar properties and could also help streamline your search.
Make an Offer
After finding a deal that works for you, make an offer. Your realtor will handle the majority of the paperwork. But if you don’t have an agent, you will need to find all the required forms, fill them and submit them. Once you’ve made your offer, it is up to the seller to either accept, reject or counter it.
Those with a realtor won’t have to worry about the negotiation process, but those without an agent will have to deal with it independently. In the latter case, just stick to your calculations and negotiate around those figures.
Due diligence is the next step after agreeing to all the terms with the seller. Before signing on the dotted lines, you need to inspect the duplex property. Make sure it is operational and meets all the safety standards. If possible, hire a home inspector, let them perform a thorough inspection, and present you with a report. The inspectors’ report will be a great negotiation tool in the final purchase. Any offer you make should be contingent on your approval of the inspection; if you are informed of any issues with the property, you can back out of the deal. If everything is fine, then you can proceed to renegotiate the agreement.
Close the Deal
Finally, give your name to the duplex by signing the agreement. Depending on which Canadian city you live in, you will close the deal at a title company or a lawyer’s office.
Buying a duplex house in Canada sounds like another home buying process, but there are some differences. It is essential to be a little estate savvy and do your research and diligence. Purchasing a duplex house can be an excellent investment for home buyers and realtors.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The simple difference is that a single unit spread over two different units is known as a duplex. A triplex is spread over three units, and a multiplex is spread over several units.
Yes, you can buy a duplex house in Canada. It is one of the most popular types of homes in the country.
Other than duplexes, semi-detached, townhouses, condos and rental rooms are the most common housing options in Canada.
Buying a duplex is cheaper than a house. You can purchase a duplex for half the price of a fully or semi-detached home in Canada.
A bungalow in Canada is known as a one-storey house.