I bought a duplex as a single, 27 year old woman. I had gotten the real estate bug, just like everyone else, but my options were limited. Condo prices had skyrocketed, I was kind of creeped out by the idea of living in a single family house all by myself, especially in the neighborhoods that I could afford one in. Even then, my options were crackhouses and places smaller than the apartment I was renting.
My boyfriend at the time owned a duplex. Sometimes it was a lot of work for him, but his rental income subsidized his cost of living, and allowed him to live in a great house in a great neighborhood.
Much to the chagrin of nearly everyone I know, I thought… why can’t I do that too?
Through some creative financing, including seller-financed closing costs, I was able to get myself into a good (not great, mind you, but certainly middle-of-the-road) place in a decent neighborhood that was on the up-swing. The duplex itself was pretty solid, just in need of some cosmetic updates (removing paneling, shag carpet, repainting a lot of walls, replacing light fixtures, re-landscaping, etc.)
It’s proven to be a lot of work at times, especially during turnovers, or while finding and screening tenants, but in general, it’s been very good. I’ve gotten a lot more money back on my taxes each year, and I own real estate that’s appreciating every year. I also, of course, get the other benefits of homeownership (being able to paint the walls, plant a garden, remodel the bathroom to my liking), and I don’t have to worry about the landlord raising the rent on me! (I do worry, however, about how much I can raise the rent on my tenants without making them want to move….