Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Duplex

June 2, 2013

George asks…

Can I claim Head of Household? My brother and I own a duplex?

My brother and I own a duplex and our mother lives with us and does not pay rent. She is over 65, retired and receives an SS check. The duplex is owner occupied and we are both single.
No one in the house is married. My brother is the only one with kids but he has them only on weekend and durring the summer.

Administrator answers:

You and your brother may want to take turns with the support in alternate years, or make some arrangement that will work for both of you. From what you’ve stated, you both have a chance for the exemption, but only one can get it, per IRS Statute.
You generally can take an exemption for any dependant if you provide more than 50% of their support. If in doubt, the IRS has a formula to figure. You have to provide the potential dependant’s social security number and, of course theirs on your Return. I say the IRS has a formula because, if there is a dispute and both parties made 3400.00 or over, the other party could claim the exemption if the IRS ruled in their favor. You may be eligible for the earned income credit also if you worked.
If you are supporting some one, it means you provide over 50% of their living expenses. IRS: Keeping Up a Home:
To qualify for head of household status, you must pay more than half of the cost of keeping up a home for the year. You can determine whether you paid more than half of the cost of keeping up a home by using the following worksheet. In your case, you may be married. Generally, you will save more on your Federal income taxes if you file jointly. IRS: Cost of Keeping Up a Home
Amount You Paid
Total Cost
Property taxes $ $
Mortgage interest expense
Utility charges
Upkeep and repairs
Property insurance
Food consumed
on the premises
Other household expenses
Totals $ $

Minus total amount YOU paid ( )

Amount OTHERS paid $

If the total amount you paid is more than the amount others paid, you meet the requirement of paying more than half the cost of keeping up the home. Include in the cost of upkeep expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, insurance on the home, repairs, utilities, and food eaten in the home.
If you used payments you received under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or other public assistance programs to pay part of the cost of
keeping up your home, you cannot count them as money you paid. However, you must include them in the total cost of keeping up your home to figure if you
paid over half the cost.
Costs you do not include. Do not include in the cost of upkeep expenses such as clothing, education, medical treatment, vacations, life insurance, or transportation. Also, do not include the rental value of a home you own or the value of your services or those of a member of your household.

Daniel asks…

I am looking to buy a duplex/triplex. What is the best area in the US?

I am looking to buy a duplex/triplex. What is the best area to buy in ? What areas are still rising and would be a good investment city?

Administrator answers:

The NW has still had some positive growth, but realistically you would not do bad in any market right now. Everything is on sale and eventually will turn. There are many signs that the housing market may be starting to recooperate throughout the US. If you have 5-10 year time horizon you will not go wrong buying in most markets right now.

David asks…

How can you sound proof between duplex walls? There is open wall space between the units.?

This is a old home that has been dividend into a duplex. It is two story with attic access and the walls are empty between the units to the crawl space. Is there a way to measure the area to get an estimated cost for the project? Thank You in advance for any assistance.

Administrator answers:

The most cost effective way with the least amount of mess is to used sound proof sheet rock over top of the existing sheet rock.

John asks…

Tips on buying a duplex and being a landlord?

Me and a good friend of mine are looking at buying a duplex, we are going to look at some properties next week. What are some tips on making a good investment and finding great tenants? Thanks! Any sites to point me to would be helpful!

Administrator answers:

Dear Landlord to be, go to and read up on Robert T. Kyosaki re, money, investment and particulary real estate. There is no-one better, so it seems.

Make sure that you never, ever buy real estate at even a small loss per month. After all expenses, you MUST have a positive cashflow every month, even if it’s only $10.

How many properties can you afford that lose $10 or $50 a month? None. How many can you afford that will put $10 to $50 a week in your pocket a month? As many as you can get.

“An asset is anything that puts money in your pocket. A liability is anything that takes money out of your pocket”. Robert T. Kyosaki.

Good luck and spend at least a year educating yourself first and meeting other successful people. Try Reno Kings dot com as well.

Thomas asks…

How to deal with shorted out GFI Duplex Receptacles?

I think that the GFI Duplex Receptacles shorted out because the Christmas lights were plugged in while wet. So I was wondering, what can I do to fix them? Or, do I have to replace the whole thing?

Administrator answers:

Just reset the button on the GFCI to reset it. Once it dries out it’s going to be okay. The receptacles actually did what it is designed to do.

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