Living the Duplex Dream

My fiance Lindsay and I recently made a big move in more ways than one…We are now first time homeowners and first time landlords. I think that our route is definitely the road less traveled, but I wanted to share our story and experience with my readers. There were lots of ups and downs to get us to this point, but I firmly believe that this was a great financial move and one that others may want to pursue as well.

I thought I’d share the video and back story, both can be seen below…

Last January my girlfriend of five years, Lindsay, and I got engaged. At the time we were living in a prestigious and highly desirable area in Orlando called Baldwin Park. Though this was a fantastic area that we thoroughly enjoyed for over two years, we wanted to begin building a solid financial foundation together and throwing away $1,350 each month in rent wasn’t the best move in the long term for us.

This being the case I thought to myself how can we minimize our expenses, save for a wedding and still become home owners and have our monthly living expenses go towards building wealth not losing it…

Then I had an idea…

Why not find a duplex…Live in one side and rent the other out.

I spent the next 6 hours or so looking at properties and finally found one that I liked. I also noticed that the property was a foreclosure that was drastically reduced. It was also in walking distance to a fantastic shopping area equipped with a 24 hour fitness center, tons of restaurants and a frozen yogurt shop (one of Lindsay’s favorites).

I shared the idea with Lindsay and at first she said “No Way”…I said hear me out and explained to her the goal and what this would mean for us.

I also showed her pictures of the property that I found…She loved it

We had no real estate agent, but both wanted to see the property. I decided to go seek one out…I walked outside of our apartment talked to two or three people and a neighbor directed me to a friend’s mom who was a real estate agent. I met with her that day and the next day Lindsay and I saw the property.

We were very pleased with it…It more than lived up to the pictures that we had seen online. This was in mid August.

We put an offer in on the property and it was soon accepted….Smooth process right?

Not so fast

The property had $75,000 in tax liens and violations from the previous owner. There was also some code enforcement issues and it didn’t help that the bank we were in contract with sold the property to another bank while in contract.

What was supposed to be a done deal in early September turned into October then into November…Our lease for our apartment in Baldwin Park ran out in October and was immediately rented out to another family forcing us to move out…We were now homeless.

We moved in with a friend, who was gracious enough to have Lindsay and I as house guests…after dealing with lots of back and forth over the next month we finally closed on our property the day after thanksgiving.

Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Lindsay and I are very happy with our decision and plan on renting the property over the next couple weeks. This will really help us subsidize our monthly expenses and help our marriage get started in the right direction financially.  After all who wouldn’t want to have to pay their own mortgage payment?  Even if 50%-70% is covered it’s still a win, especially in the long run.

We are now settled into our new place. I’ll post pictures of the place fully furnished once all of our boxes are put away, but you can see the video above that I took several months back of the property.

What do you think about this plan?

Is this something you would consider doing as well? If you know of anyone looking to rent a place in Orlando…pass them my way 😉

I’ll make sure you get a referral bonus if they end up signing a lease.

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Comments

  1. First off: Diggin’ the new color-scheme.

    Second: Congratulations! Is it something I’d consider? Owning a duplex? Definitely. But that’s just me. My gf would probably choose to differ. My family has always owned real estate for years (I’ve helped manage our duplex growing up). Sometimes it’s challenging. But when you find a good tenant, it’s smooth sailing from there :-)

    Congratulations once again!! Happy for you two amigo :-)

  2. Thanks Ricardo

    I brought the idea of owning a duplex to Lindsay in the past and she was completely against it. When I showed her pictures of the property and some estimations on paper and explained to her how it would positively effect our life she was all for it.

    I’ve never been in real estate, but have heard the same thing about the tenants. Hopefully we’re able to get good ones that appreciate the property and take care of it, making it a home for a long time.

    If you’re ever in Orlando shoot me an email and we’ll meet up.

    Have a great holiday season,

    David

  3. David, when i was first in the real estate development business in Edmonton, Alberta Canada i recognized the value of just the program you invented for yourself. I created a program of duplex building where we got a wealthy doctor type of person to invest in buying the land for me to build a duplex on. There were substantial tax advantages for the investor so we got the tax incentives to him and got him to take a minimim return on his funds of 10%, We then found a buyer who would be able to buy the entire duplex with a 5% downpayment and rent the other side which made enough return to pay the entire mortgage payment. i loved that plan and we were so successful in marketing it that we moved to several other cities. So there you are – proof that you have found a time tested idea that works,. Bravo!

  4. Wondering how it’s going with your 2 unit. We are doing the opposite…. we own the house (well the bank does), and we are selling it to move in to one of our 2 units. I am so sick of paying the bank every month on our “interest only” loan. But, I am a little worried about living right below my tenant. What’s it like?

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