Single-Family Homes Vs. Duplexes: A Guide For Investors in Illinois


Single-Family Homes Vs. Duplexes: A Guide For Investors in Illinois

As an investor in the Illinois real estate market, you have a variety of property types to choose from. Two of the most popular options are single-family homes and duplexes. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for you will depend on your investment goals and preferences. In this guide, we’ll compare single-family homes and duplexes to help you make an informed decision. We’ll also provide some tips on how to sell your house fast in Illinois if you decide to invest in either property type.

What Are Single-Family Homes and Duplexes?

Before diving into the comparison, let’s define what single-family homes and duplexes are:

Single-Family Homes

A single-family home is a standalone residential building designed to house one family. It typically has a yard and is separated from other homes by a fence or other barrier. Single-family homes are the most common type of residential property in the United States and are often considered the “American Dream.”


A duplex is a residential building that contains two separate living units, each with its own entrance, kitchen, and living space. Duplexes can be side-by-side, with each unit sharing a common wall, or stacked on top of each other, with one unit on the ground floor and the other on the second floor. Duplexes are a popular choice for investors because they offer the potential for higher rental income and increased property value.

Comparing Single-Family Homes and Duplexes for Investors

Now that we’ve defined single-family homes and duplexes let’s compare them based on several factors that are important to investors:

1. Purchase Price and Financing

Single-family homes typically have a lower purchase price than duplexes, making them more accessible to first-time investors or those with limited funds. However, duplexes can offer a higher return on investment (ROI) due to the potential for increased rental income.

Financing options for both property types are similar, with conventional mortgages being the most common. However, some lenders may require a larger down payment for duplexes, as they are considered riskier investments. It’s essential to research and compare financing options before making a decision.

2. Rental Income and Cash Flow

Duplexes have the potential to generate more rental income than single-family homes, as they have two separate units that can be rented out. This can lead to higher cash flow, which is the amount of money left over after all expenses have been paid. Higher cash flow can help investors pay off their mortgage faster, build equity, and reinvest in other properties.

However, single-family homes can also provide a steady rental income, especially in desirable neighborhoods with high demand for rental properties. The key is to find a property with a good balance between rental income and expenses.

3. Property Management and Maintenance

Managing and maintaining a duplex can be more time-consuming and costly than a single-family home, as there are two separate units to take care of. This can include dealing with tenant issues, coordinating repairs, and handling routine maintenance tasks. Some investors choose to hire a property management company to handle these responsibilities, which can add to the overall cost of owning a duplex.

On the other hand, single-family homes typically require less management and maintenance, as there is only one unit to take care of. This can be an advantage for investors who prefer a more hands-off approach or have limited time to dedicate to property management.

4. Tenant Turnover and Vacancy Rates

Duplexes can have higher tenant turnover and vacancy rates than single-family homes, as tenants in multi-unit properties tend to be more transient. This can lead to more frequent vacancies, which can negatively impact cash flow and ROI. However, having two units can also provide a buffer against vacancies, as one unit can still generate rental income while the other is vacant.

Single-family homes tend to attract longer-term tenants, especially families who are looking for stability and a sense of community. This can lead to lower turnover and vacancy rates, which can help maintain consistent rental income and cash flow.

5. Appreciation and Resale Value

Both single-family homes and duplexes can appreciate in value over time, depending on factors such as location, market conditions, and property improvements. However, single-family homes tend to have a broader appeal to potential buyers, which can make them easier to sell when it’s time to cash out on your investment.

Duplexes can also appreciate in value, especially if they are well-maintained and located in desirable neighborhoods. However, they may have a smaller pool of potential buyers, as not everyone is interested in owning a multi-unit property. This can make it more challenging to sell your house fast in Illinois if you decide to invest in a duplex.

Which Is Right for You: Single-Family Homes or Duplexes?

Ultimately, the decision between investing in single-family homes or duplexes will depend on your investment goals, preferences, and risk tolerance. Both property types have their advantages and disadvantages, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

If you’re looking for a lower-cost investment with less management and maintenance responsibilities, a single-family home may be the better choice. On the other hand, if you’re willing to take on more risk and management responsibilities in exchange for potentially higher rental income and cash flow, a duplex may be the right fit.

Regardless of which property type you choose, it’s essential to do your research, understand the local market, and work with experienced professionals to help you navigate the process. If you’re ready to invest in Illinois real estate, contact Tony Buys Homes today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your investment goals.