Selling any residential real estate follows the same basic processes, but duplexes can present some unique challenges. While condos and single-family homes are common in the US, duplexes, especially those with separately owner-occupied units, are more unusual away from the East coast.
Here in Massachusetts, duplexes are common, so you shouldn’t have any harder time selling your duplex than you would another type of home. So, how do you sell your duplex quickly? Our 5 top tips below will guide you through:
A duplex is just a single building divided into two family units with separate entrances. The division is usually side-by-side but is sometimes split first floor and second, and there is no interior connection between the two. They usually share any outdoor space available on the lot, though this could also be divided into two.
A duplex is a more affordable option than a single home and is usually seen as a move up from apartment living as you have more privacy and often more space.
Most often, a duplex has a single owner who commonly lives in one unit of the duplex and rents out the other. Sometimes people buy a duplex purely as a rental and rent out both units. There are also bigger versions, the triplex and fourplex with, you guessed it, three or four homes in one building, all with separate entrances. (The latter are sometimes called townhomes instead.)
If you do have tenants you must understand their rights and keep them informed. Any buyer will want to know full details of the rental agreement such as:
- The length of the lease
- The amount the current tenants are paying
- If you hold a deposit as security
The rights of tenants vary from state to state and full details of how the laws operate in Massachusetts are available on the state government’s website. We have an entire blog post to guide you on selling a property with tenants, so find that here.
If you own one half of a duplex, tell the owner of the other unit what you’re doing. This is not just for courtesy, it’s also to give them a chance to purchase the property if they’re interested. Often, they’ll be interested in buying so they can rent out your unit (and thus have control over who their neighbors are) or so they can consider turning the duplex into a single-family home.
Good preparation can be crucial in getting a fast sale; you want to present the property at its most attractive. Among the things to do are:
- Clean and tidy: The first thing to do is give the duplex a thorough clean and tidy, like your mom used to do every spring. It costs almost zero and nothing puts potential buyers off more than dirt, mess, and unpleasant odors.
- Declutter: Living spaces look bigger when they have less in them so remove superfluous objects – anything from ornaments to furniture.
- Depersonalize: You need viewers to be able to imagine themselves living in the duplex so reducing personal items such as photographs and memorabilia is usually a good move. Don’t go too far with this though or you risk making the place seem cold and sterile.
- Think about improving the decor: If the property has become a little shabby you may want to consider redecorating. New paintwork can work wonders. If you do decide to do this light, neutral colors are best – rooms look brighter and roomier. And don’t neglect the exterior, a good first impression is vital.
- Fix any problems: Any problems from a dripping tap to a temperamental HVAC should be repaired if you want a quick sale. Don’t try and hide anything as a home inspection will certainly raise any issues.
- Get professional pictures: We live in a very image-conscious world and poor pictures will not cut it. Make the effort to get a photographer who is knowledgable about what images are best for marketing real estate. Remember, the image is the first thing a potential buyer will look for when browsing listings – often even before price and location.
A good local realtor or estate agent can really speed up a sale. They will be able to guide you through the process and help you make the right decisions. They know the housing market inside out, what makes a property sell fast, and what may put buyers off.
Pricing is key and a real estate agent will know, based on the state of the market and the selling price of similar duplexes in the area, the best figure to put on your listing. Too much and you may put off viewings, too little and you might get a lot of low offers from people who think you are desperate.
Make sure you have the right documentation to show what you own and what you don’t, especially if you own one unit in a duplex. Any potential buyer will want to know what they may be responsible for if they buy your home and any areas of the property they may not own that may appear so at first glance – such as a driveway or garden area.
Similarly, if there are any shared elements within the duplex, such as shared plumbing, make sure you are clear about how it’s managed with your neighbor.
If this all sounds stressful and slow there is another way to sell your duplex. Selling any property can take time and a duplex sale is often more complex than non-multi-family homes. Fortunately, selling to a cash home-buying company will allow you to bypass all the complications so you can sell your duplex fast.
If you want to move on with your life and are looking to sell a duplex in the Massachusetts area please reach out to Pavel Buys Houses. We are a professional home buyer that offers you the best possible price for your duplex upfront, whatever its ‘as-is’ condition happens to be. To find out more about the process or to get your no-obligation cash offer, click here.