If a multifamily unit (duplex) is sold with both units, or is it possible to own half of a duplex?

Asked by z, Denver, CO Tue Nov 19, 2013

Let me rephrase the question... I want to buy a multifamily unit (duplex) and rent out the other side. Here is a specific example: 2526 E 12th Ave Denver, CO 80206 MLS#: 1246192. This listing says it is for sale but is not clear if the price includes both units or just half of the duplex. Is it possible to know from just looking at a listing online to if the duplex is for sale or if just one half of the unit for sale?

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Joseph Sobin, , Denver, CO
Tue Nov 19, 2013
In the East 12th Ave example it is just one-site of the duplex, for what you desire you may wish to expand your search into “income properties” where duplexes, triplexes and multi-family may be listed. If I may offer a few additional thoughts:

Leases: If considering a duplex be sure to review the existing leases as leases in Colorado remain intact at time of purchase. Look for terms such as “delivered vacant” or similar. Yet due diligence is important as I have seen leases with options and renewals which can impact the immediate and future value of the property.

Legal Duplex: During due diligence I always suggest a review of public records to make sure the additional unit is truly legal and conforms to existing zoning or is grandfathered in. There are Denver neighborhoods which encouraged duplexes i.e. the former R-2 zone district however other zone districts i.e. the former R-0 and R-1 allowed only a single-family even if there was an auxiliary unit. Thus future subdivision or even present rental could be an issue.

I may suggest employing the services of a broker who understands the complexities concerning income property, duplex, subdivisions and zoning, your search may be lot easier and more production. In addition as a broker I have on behalf of clients contacted owners of such properties advising of potential interest of a buyer even though not on the market. This is common in Cherry Creek and other areas with a concentration of duplexes from the post WWII period when R-2 zoning was in force.
1 vote
Annalisa Amb…, Agent, Aurora, CO
Tue Nov 19, 2013
There are 30 duplexes for sale today in Denver. Priced from $130,000 to 2.5 million.

Easiest thing is to choose a local broker with income property experience and get on a asap search.
You can buy a duplex with 3.5% down and good credit with a loan amount under $417,000, if you meet all the qualifications.

1 vote
Sarah Garratt, Agent, Denver, CO
Tue Nov 19, 2013
That listing is just for one side of the duplex. So to answer your question, yes you can just buy one side. In this case, the duplex was legally subdivided with the city and county and thus each side has its own legal description. To tell if it is the "whole thing", the listing will generally have 2 addresses or will state that it is an intact duplex. Otherwise that it is probably just one side.

It sounds like you are interested in purchasing an intact duplex, living in one side and renting out the other. That is a great way to offset your mortgage with the rent from the other side.

Let me know if I can help you with that!
1 vote
Adam Payne, Agent, Denver, CO
Tue Nov 19, 2013
Yes, it is possible to own just half of the duplex. 2526 E 12th is currently under contract. But, it was only half the duplex. You can kind of tell by looking at the number of bedrooms in the unit.
1 vote
John Patton, Agent, Denver, CO
Tue Nov 19, 2013
Depending on if the selling agent does their due diligence it should tell you what is going on with the property in the description, but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes their are multiple MLS#'s indicating that both units are for sale individually as well. In this case 2526 E 12TH Ave is just 1/2 of the duplex and is already under contract.
1 vote
Peter Schaef…, Agent, Denver, CO
Tue Nov 19, 2013
It is just the 1 bed half duplex for that price. It is under contract so probably too late for that one. This is buy my house and there are others but this one was one of the lower priced homes for the area. Let me know if you would like me to do a search of the others in Congress Park.
1 vote
Forrest John…, Agent, Denver, CO
Wed Jan 8, 2014
Usually the price is the biggest indicator of whether its one side or both sides. Seeing as this particular property was listed around $200k with roughly 1000SF and in a terrific neighborhood, you can assume that you are only getting one side. Typically, once you buy one side of a duplex you will have a "party wall" or "shared wall" agreement with the adjoining unit and you will likely have first dibs to buy it before it goes on the market…that is, if your neighbor ever chooses to sell.
0 votes
Pam Arnold, Agent, Boulder, CO
Sun Nov 24, 2013
In the public remarks it should specify.
0 votes
Bob Gordon, Agent, Boulder, CO
Tue Nov 19, 2013
Your example property is for a SINGLE unit. But I think you want to purchase a MULTI-Unit property, live in one side, rent the others. In order to achieve this goal, you need to qualify for the loan and the property will be an income or investment unit as opposed to strict residential. Very achievable. Where did you get the idea for this? Television show or book?
0 votes
Wisdom Real…, Agent, Denver, CO
Tue Nov 19, 2013
I agree with all the answers below, my only advice is to be sure to consult with your CPA (if you use one) and/or an attorney before diving into becoming a landlord.
0 votes
DeLUX Team R…, Agent, Littleton, CO
Tue Nov 19, 2013
Yes, it is possible to own half of a duplex but be sure it has been divided legally and conforms to existing zoning. Of course you should work with an experienced real estate broker who has a fiduciary duty to look out for your highest and best good.
0 votes
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