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Have you ever seen the Ben Stiller movie Duplex?  Whether or not it was your cup of tea, it was a great introduction to one of the most popular types of property in the urban real estate market – the duplex.

While duplexes are absent in some parts of the country, in other areas they are everywhere.  And why not?  If you think about it, duplexes function as a cheap alternative to lofts, condominiums, and definitely houses.  However, they also provide a little bit more privacy than an apartment and they are definitely full of character.

For those of you who don’t what a duplex is, it is simply a house.  However, unlike a house, a duplex house is divided into two units.  In some ambitious cases, a duplex is divided into three or four units.  However, these properties are often referred to as a triplex or a fourplex.  Still the basic principle remains the same, from the outside on the street, that duplex apartment just looks like a regular house.  For that reason, many homeowners prefer a duplex to an apartment or a condominium building for the sheer reason that it just has a more homelier feel to them.

In some cases, you will hear a real estate agent refer to a property as a duplex apartment.  This simply means that the duplex house plans are changed and means that the duplex apartment is spread over two floors with an indoor staircase to connect them.  While they are rare in some parts of the country, duplex apartments are extremely popular in big cities.  They are a desired property and provide a cozy place to live in an area full of great amenities not found in the suburbs.

While they are great places to live, duplexes are an extremely profitable real estate investment.  This is of course dependent on the location of the property and its physical characteristics.  However, duplexes tend to be a popular real estate investment because it differs from other shared dwellings like a townhouse or a condominium in terms of what property is available.

That is because duplexes are available to buy as a single property.  This is very different compared to townhouses, condominiums, and lofts in which you can purchase a unit within the property but you are obliged to work with the other unit owners in property management.  This freedom make duplexes one of the most desired types of property you can buy.  The only drawback is that with the increased flexibility comes added costs.  Duplexes are not cheap but if you are into real estate investment, you can be comforted by the fact that they are very popular.  This means that property values of duplexes will grow!