Living in a Duplex: Top 13 Pros & Cons

Updated April 20, 2022
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Have you ever dreamed of living on one side of a duplex and having your best friend live on the other side? It’s fun to daydream about scenarios like that, but the truth is, it can be possible! For some people, living in a duplex in the Minneapolis-St Paul area is the perfect scenario, but for others, it’s not ideal at all.

Duplexes are housing structures with exactly two dwelling spaces. Any less would be a single-family home, and any more would be a “multiplex” like a condo or townhome. Duplexes can have one of two layouts:

  • Side-by-side (One shared wall)
  • Over-under (One shared floor)

Curious to know more? Let’s explore!

The 13 Main Pros and Cons of Living in a Duplex

living in a duplex- two blue doors, the left door is darker blue. Both entryways have welcome mats

Duplex Pros

Duplexes have a lot of benefits going for them that make them the perfect residence for many people. If you live in a duplex, you’ll experience advantages such as:

1) Rent Is Usually Cheaper

If you’ve been wanting to rent out a whole house but are finding that it’s out of your budget, then a duplex might be a great solution for you. When you rent a duplex, you’ll get the feel of living in a home without as big of a price tag. You can try out what it feels like to live in a house and use the money you save on rent to save up for buying your own home one day.

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2) More Square Footage Than an Apartment

Renting a duplex typically comes at apartment-like prices, but you’ll usually end up with more room in a duplex. Duplexes often have higher square footage than apartment units, so they make great solutions for families, people with pets, or roommates.

If most apartments in your area are around 800 square feet, you’ll likely get closer to 1000 square feet when you rent a duplex.

3) Fewer Neighbors Than an Apartment

When you rent a unit in an apartment building, you’ll share the building with dozens of other tenants. On your floor alone you could have many different neighbors. While many people enjoy the community aspect of apartments, others prefer a more separate space.

When you live in a duplex, you’ll only have one neighbor directly next to, above, or below you.

Duplex with Garages for rent in the Twin Cities

4) Usually Located in Residential Areas

Many duplexes are located in popular neighborhoods that tend to be more residential. If you love living in a very urban, fast-paced location, then a duplex probably isn’t right for you. But if you want to live in a more quiet area with plenty of grass, then you might be in luck with a duplex. You can get a great “neighborhood” feel when you live in a duplex.

5) Most Have Outside Yards

Most duplexes have a front or backyard (or both!) that the residents have access to. This perk is extra nice if you have a dog, children, or love hosting outdoor gatherings.

Dog running on grass with a toy bone

6) In-House Laundry

Gone are the days of hauling your laundry down multiple flights of stairs to the apartment laundry room. Or worse, taking your laundry to a separate laundromat in town! Almost all duplexes have hookups for washers and dryers. The laundry room may be in the basement, or each unit may have its own hookups.

7) Can Buy One Side and Rent Out the Other

If you want to buy real estate and make extra cash on the side, duplexes are a convenient way to do so. You can buy an entire duplex and live in one dwelling while renting out the other. This is a helpful trick to paying off your mortgage quicker.

8) Have Friends or Family Next Door

When both dwellings of a duplex are available to rent, you can make your dreams come true and move in next door to a close friend or family member. This is also an incredibly beneficial setup for people who are caretakers for family members. You can enjoy living in the privacy of your own space but have the peace of mind that your family member is right next door in case of an emergency.

Duplex Cons

There are definitely lots of exciting benefits of living in a duplex, but they aren’t perfect for everyone. There are also a few disadvantages of duplexes to consider before moving in.

9) Still Share a Wall With a Neighbor

While you’ll have a lot more privacy in a duplex than in a large apartment building, you’re still not completely detached. If your duplex neighbor is very loud or doesn’t do their part in taking care of the property, you will be in for a frustrating experience.

Brownstone Duplexes for lease in the Minneapolis-St Paul area

10) Possibility of More Maintenance Responsibilities

If you rent a duplex, your landlord will set up the terms of your lease. Sometimes the landlord will take care of all maintenance responsibilities, but sometimes they’ll fall on you. Be prepared to shovel snow and mow the grass!

11) Shared Areas of the Property

Sometimes, you share more than just a wall or floor with your neighbor. In some duplexes, the only washer and dryer are located in a shared basement. You’ll also have to share all the outdoor areas and the driveway.

12) No Apartment-Style Amenities

Duplexes are usually cheaper than luxury apartments because they don’t have the same amenities. You’ll be better suited for apartment living if you’re looking for amenities like:

  • Fitness center
  • Pool
  • Controlled access
  • Heated underground parking
  • Community room
  • 24-hour emergency maintenance

13) Need Permission From Landlord to Make Changes

When renting and living in a duplex, you’ll still be bound to the terms of a lease set by a landlord. This means that you can’t just paint the walls and change out the appliances and put in new flooring like you would if you owned a home. You’ll need to ask for permission before making changes, and you’ll likely need to return the dwelling to its original state before you eventually move out.

Find the Perfect Housing Fit for You

After reading this list of pros and cons, you probably have a better idea if you’re best suited for living in a duplex or if you’d rather rent an apartment. Duplexes can be great fits for certain people, but people who want lots of great amenities and a city feel are usually better off living in apartments.

The apartment search doesn’t have to be difficult. Bigos Management has all the best amenities and locations in the Minneapolis-St Paul area. Explore our available units in the Twin Cities area now!

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