Understanding Residential Duplexes, Triplex, and Fourplexes


Residential designs nowadays come in many varieties. While the most common types of houses are the single dwelling units that can structurally support one family, there are other possible structures too with shared walls and roofing. These structures are what may be referred to as duplex, triplex or fourplex.

As the name implies these structures are meant to be a shared property with other dwellings without a typical yard or a private access to the streets. While the duplex, triplex and fourplex may come in many possible structures just like the single structured houses, they differ in the structural designs, units and entrances.

Defining Duplex, Triplex and Fourplex

A duplex may refer to the property that is designed for two separate families and can be referred to as a ‘twin home’ sometimes. This is actually one building that has two living units that may appear as mirror images of one another. These two units may be side by side or one on top of the other. However this doesn’t mean any house that can support two families is a duplex. A duplex must have its own complete layout including kitchen, bathroom, rooms and its own entrance. Each unit must have the same amenities that you may generally see in a single structure house.

Similarly a triplex is a building that has three units and can support three different families. The quadplex or fourplex has four. Each unit is joined to the other through some sort of structural plan or roofing structure. However this –plex structure does not include five or more units.

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Buying a Duplex, Triplex or Fourplex

You might be wondering what makes a duplex, triplex or fourplex worth buying. There can be multiple benefits for investing into such houses and a few of the common reasons are

Since these structures can support multiple families. Owning a house with such a structure where you live in one unit while giving out other units on rent can prove to be a huge advantage. In case of multiple units even if the cost of a unit’s rent is not as high as a single unit house, the collective income may not just help you to get higher mortgage payment but it is also possible to live debt free since your tenants pay for your mortgage. For the purpose of safety of yourself and your tenants in such cases the site design should include proper fencing that may ensure safety and privacy from adjacent properties.

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In case you have extended family structures, you can live in one unit yourself and your family can live in the other unit with the scenario of being able to stay together and still have your space. This living arrangement can actually be quite helpful for families with special needs, especially that of the elderly. If you can bear the tenants next door then it can actually be quite helpful.  The mortgage benefit can prove to be especially useful especially if you’re the owner who sets down the rules.


Residential Duplexes, Triplexes and Fourplexes are affordable housing units with the same amenities as that of single families. These are built to be supportive to two to four units and may work out better for you compared to renting out a whole single family home. If you are the owner of such a property then these can prove to be a vital help in paying your mortgage through rental services. Though maintenance and privacy concerns can be one of a hassle to deal with, your decisions regarding such property should boil down to revenue and expenses as well as comfort.


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