North Carolina especially North of Charlotte and South of Charlotte are great areas to invest and hold for possibly even longer than 7 years. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population to double in this County (Mecklenburg) within the next 10-15 years.
Is there a reason you are looking for duplexes? Do you currently own duplexes or other multi-units?
It is our experience that multi-units do not appreciate as well as single family homes in the right region and the right neighborhood. When you resell a multi-unit in most cases only another investor is the one that is interested, therefore you have a limited market. Additionally, a more quality tenant can afford and prefers a single family home.
My company which specializes in out of state investments (we're out in Northern California) has a Real Estate Broker / Property Manager in place in the Charlotte area. We choose agents/brokers which are investors themselves. Our broker in the area owns 7 investments. FYI, we have also have a team of Broker/Property Managers in 7 other States (regions we have researched and which the founders of Nationwide Real Estate Investments, NWREI, have visited and previewed personally). Plus, 95% of the properties we recommend and offer to our clients are NEWLY constructed single family homes. In the Charlotte area we have a combination of new and 3-5 year old homes.
When it comes to rates for non-owner occupied we also have excellent lenders which specialize in working with investors. FYI, as of last Friday (11th) with a 10% down (yes, you still cash-flow) full documentation loan rates on a non-owner occupied are between 6.75-6.875% (credit scores in the 700's).
We work with investors within our local area or out of the area. Let me know if I can be of further help (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
To get a better idea about what we do you can read more information on my activerain page:
Also review the NWREI website.
Wishing you well on your investment endeavors.