Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Duplex Homes

August 6, 2013

David asks…

Have you had any experience renting out a duplex to a tenant while living in the other unit?

What is a good website that will give me the latest co-housing (condo, town homes, duplexes, etc.)

Administrator answers:

None of those; esp never CRAIGS list, the Nigerian scam site

contact a property management firm or just a local RE firm.

Of course, I can guide you as well.

Donna asks…

how many homes there is (single units – no condos – duplex buldingd and so on…) in las vegas area?


Administrator answers:

Go to

Ruth asks…

What are the differences between condos, duplexes, and “divided homes”.?

So far, I have only come across one instance of a “divided home” and that was also labeled as a duplex. Any help would be appreciated :)

Administrator answers:

A condo= a condominium is where you only own the dwelling space..the grounds and halls are in common. You pay a monthly fee as well for keeping the common areas clean or for maintenance etc.

A duplex= Is two units that are joined but have separate entrances. These could be up and down or side by side and share the same parcel of ground. However, some duplex’s that are side by side can be deeded separately. Where you might own the side you live in but not the other side.

A divided Home= is when the ownership of the property is divided. You can sell your portion of the ownership but not the others. This is the most common for a divided home, but there in all honest could be a lot of other reasons.

Betty asks…

how should we go about rezoning our duplex to make it one home?

With the current economy we figured it would be less of a hassel to turn out duplex into one home rather than try and sell it and buy a new one. How do we go about rezoning a home? Do you know approx prices to do it? We live in northern california.

Administrator answers:

You may not need to re-zone it. 1. You may already be in a zone that allows single family and duplexes. 2. Even if it’s not zoned for single family, most local zoning laws allow “more desirable uses” within a zone. Generally, lower density single-family residential is considered more desired (less objectionable) than multi-family, industrial, etc. So single family can be allowed in a multi-family zoning without creating a violation, but multi-family could not be built in a single-family zone without a variance.

A variance is the process of asking the municipality to grant an exception to the zoning code, and allow what would normally be considered a “non-conforming use” to be built.

Call your local Building Department and let them know what you are thinking about. They can let you know if it’s automatically allowable or if a variance would be required. Even if a variance is required, unless you are asking for something drastically different or less desireable than the existing zoning, the process is not that difficult to do yourself.

Lisa asks…

I am looking to convert a 1500 sq ft single family home to a duplex for rental income?

I am purchasing 1500 sq ft single family home for investment. The area is zoned two family and so to maximise my returns I am opting to convert into a duplex further down the road. What are the steps required to do this in a cost effective way? There is a tenant in the house with a lease expiring in Sept. 2009.

Administrator answers:

Its great the zoning is out of the way.. That’s the hardest step.

I would try to find out the rents in the area, do a comparison to figure out how much you could charge… If you did the conversion vs. Keeping it as a single family home.

Then I would contact your local development office, and find out the requirements for two units, if you need to get separate utilities installed. Section 504 (handicapped accessible) doesn’t apply too much unless a tenant demands it of a landlord. Also you have to consider plumbing, adding doors, figuring out common areas (basement for laundry) and buying appliances ect… Get a contractor’s estimate, after you figure out how you want the lay out to be. They may have some cost saving suggestions.

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