Is a Duplex, Triplex, or Fourplex Right for You? See if you fit any of the following 8 criteria!

For those of you considering purchasing a San Diego duplex, triplex, or fourplex for the first time, we’ve compiled a list of 8 criteria that describe many 2-4 unit buyers. If you find yourself relating to any of these descriptions, perhaps a duplex, triplex, or fourplex may be the perfect fit for you.

1. You are looking for an investment property that is more sophisticated than a single family home, but don’t feel ready to take the leap to larger commercial properties

Many 2-4 unit investors have experience with single family homes and are interested in exploring the opportunities that multifamily investments offer. For various reasons, many buyers find commercial properties (5+ units) to be too overwhelming of a next step, while 2-4 units provide that happy medium. Duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes are typically more available, can be acquired with residential loans, and are usually less expensive than commercial properties. These points usually convince buyers that a 2-4 unit is an ideal next investment for them.

2. You want to be able to live in your investment and manage it

There are numerous advantages to living in your 2-4 unit property and serving as its property manager. Being able to keep a close eye on your investment is a primary reason. By living on the premises, you’re better able to address tenant disputes and physical problems. Additionally, managing your own property can potentially save a substantial amount of money by saving on management fees and by completing repairs yourself. For our full post on the advantages of living in your 2-4 unit investment, click the link below.

7 Reasons to LIVE IN your next Duplex, Triplex, Fourplex.

3. You want to see if being a landlord of multiple tenants is right for you

Managing and owning a property with multiple units means dealing with tenant interaction. The more units, the more tenants, and the more potential issues that can arise from neighbor disputes and conflicts. For an investor used to just dealing with one tenant, this can be an issue too undesirable to deal with. Other investors have no issue with this, but starting with just 2-4 units can be a comfortable introduction to dealing with multiple tenants.

4. You have a personal or business need for multiple dwelling units

Some 2-4 unit owners have unique needs that a 2-4 unit property can fulfill. Sometimes a duplex, triplex, or fourplex in the right location can serve as a residence and office. For instance, some 2-4 units in commercial or retail areas can have a unit in a highly visible location that can serve a business purpose. Other 2-4 unit buyers may have a need to house many family members and a duplex, triplex, or fourplex may serve that need better than a single family home.

5. You need/prefer the advantages of residential loans

One of the most attractive aspects of a 2-4 unit is the eligibility for residential loans. Commercial loans can tend to be more difficult to acquire and offer less attractive terms. Residential loans can offer better rates and typically require less down payment. For many, the prospect of being able to acquire a multi-unit investment with as little down as an FHA loan requires (3.5%) is not only an advantage, but a necessity for them to be able to purchase at all.

6. You would like to own a property and want/need the rental income to make the payments affordable

Living in one unit and renting the others to offset the mortgage payment is a major consideration that draws potential buyers to duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes. In many instances, the rents from the other units can lead to a lower mortgage payment than the cost to rent that same unit. For others, we’ve seen the rents of the other units cover the cost of the mortgage payment entirely or even provide income.

7. You want to buy a condo but are considering partnering with friends/family to buy a 2-4 unit (one unit each) to live in

Additionally, instead of buying individual condos, some would rather combine the buying power of two, three or four people and just buy a 2-4 unit property- one unit for each buyer. The various advantages to owning a duplex, triplex, or fourplex instead of separate condos include the following:

  • Ownership of the actual lot
  • More freedom to alter and improve the property as you desire
  • You have control who will be your immediate neighbor
  • And more

Of course there are disadvantages of pursuing this route as well. Feel free to contact us for discuss this further.

8. You want the versatility that a duplex, triplex, or fourplex provide

As you can see from the points listed above, there is a multitude of ways that a 2-4 unit can serve specific needs and be a profitable investment. You may find that a duplex, triplex, or fourplex is the right investment for you simply because they provide more options than a typical single family home and even many commercial properties. Other opportunities not discussed yet include the following:

  • Converting to condos and selling units separately
  • If there are separate structures on a good sized lot, you may be able to split into separate parcels and sell them as individual homes
  • Purchasing with a 203k renovation loan to minimize cash invested for purchase and full renovation
  • And more…


In conclusion…

There are definitely more ways to determine if a duplex, triplex, or fourplex is the right fit for you other than the 8 points listed above. These points are just a basic guide to help with your thought process. To explore this property type further, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.



Broker Associate
Dycor Realty, Inc.
11440 W. Bernardo Court, #300
San Diego, CA 92127
DRE Lic# 01749497
Cell: (858) 449-1253
Fax: (858) 451-2588