Should Your First Home be a Duplex?
is a lot of talk about getting your first house. It is part of the
Canadian Dream to get a house and maybe get a dog named Rover. But maybe
that first home should instead be a duplex. Why would I propose such a
thing? There are simply too many advantages to buying a duplex first.
Buying a duplex has a number of financial advantages over buying a house.
A lot of people assume duplexes would sell for about twice of what a
house sells for in the same neighborhood. This is rarely the case.
Duplexes are more frequently about 1.5 times the price of a house in a
given area. So to pick an easy number if a house is selling for $100,000
then a duplex should be selling for $150,000.
So let's compare
buying a house to a duplex. To keep things the same let's assume we have
$20,000 to put down and we are looking in the London real estate market so that the taxes are 2.5 percent of the purchase price and insurance is 0.4 percent of the purchase price.
1. Lower Monthly Payment
To start off with let's look at the house. For the house lets say we
are going to have a 6.5 percent interest rate. (I picked this rate and
not the lower rates available today because I like to plan for what
happens is rates do increase?)We can use this mortgage calculation:
$100,000 house price
$20,000 down payment
Monthly Payment = $747.32
Moving on to the duplex. Because duplexes may have higher interest
rates we are going to assume a 7 percent interest rate. We are also
going to assume that the other side of the duplex is being rented for
$150,000 duplex price
$20,000 down payment
Monthly Payment = $1,184.18
Rent Payment minus 5 percent vacancy = $617.50
Monthly Payment minus rent = $566.68
The monthly payment on the duplex comes out to be 31.8 percent less
than on a house. You might get different numbers based on your area. In
most areas, a duplex leads to a lower monthly payment but there are a
few real estate markets where the opposite is true, so always run the
2. Increasing Your Future Real Estate Purchasing Power
Besides the advantages of a lower mortgage payment, buying a duplex
first allows you to make additional purchases while buying a house first
can negate your ability to buy additional properties.
understand why this is the case, we need to understand a few rules about
how banks determine whether or not to provide loans. When you are
purchasing your first investment property, banks will usually not count
the rent as income unless you have owned investment properties for more
than two years.
So, if a buyer first buys a house and then wants
to buy a fully rented duplex, they will need to be able to qualify for
the full price of the house and the duplex combined. This can be
difficult for someone in the beginning stages of their career. If a
buyer purchases a duplex first, in two years when they are looking for a
house, they can count the rent from the duplex as income—which can help
them qualify for the bigger house purchase.
3. Faster Pay off
is another interesting way to look at it. If instead of simply spending
the saving you incurred by owning a duplex, you could pay off your
mortgage faster. If you applied $747.32 to your house it would take 30
years to pay off. But, if you paid your duplex of $566.68 and then took
the additional $180.64 and applied it to your mortgage you could pay off
your duplex in 18.5 years. So in 18.5 years you would have a $150,000
duplex paid off instead of a $100,000 house partially paid off.
4. Greater Benefits of Mortgage Pay Off
only will you pay off your duplex faster, but once you have paid if off
you will be in a better position. Once you pay off your house, you are
living mortgage free—but not payment free. Based on the original
assumptions (London Ontario 2.5 percent tax rate and 0.4 percent
insurance rate) you are still making a payment of 241.66 a month for
taxes and insurance. In contrast once the duplex is paid off you are not
only living in your duplex for free you are actually getting a profit
of $255 a month.
Buying a duplex is not for everyone. Some
people do not want the hassle of managing a property. And this article
is not proposing that everyone should buy a duplex. But there are
financial benefits to buying a duplex, so take it into consideration