A duplex and a triplex are quite similar, with the main difference being the number of units within the structure- a duplex has two units while a triplex has three units. Even with this knowledge, it can be difficult to decide which one to go for. Here is what you need to know about triplex apartments in order to determine if they are worth your consideration.
What is a triplex apartment? It’s a rental unit that covers three floors. Triplex apartments are usually part of the original design of an apartment building (typically in a penthouse unit), although in most cases, triplexes are as a result of a tenant opting to buy units on top of each other.
By remodeling the units and adding stairs to connect the three floors, you end up with a triplex. A less commonly occurring layout comprises of a one bedroom unit set up as a triplex. In this case, the layout of the unit will only cover two stories of the building. However, a middle floor, that spans the aforementioned two stories, exists. The floorplan of the unit is such that each “floor” is not in line, with a half-staircase that you can use to go up and down between levels. This layout is very rare and is likely to be found in buildings where each floor is more elevated than the standard.
Triplex apartments typically come in varying designs, with the most desirable type being those in which the square footage of all the units closely match or as identical to each other. Triplex apartments are usually house-like and are favored by families for their spacious interiors.
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The basics of a triplex apartment
Triplex apartments comprise of three units that are connected by a private interior staircase. They are especially popular with families thanks to their size and three-story layout which allows for the separation of public areas of the home from the more private ones.
As previously mentioned, the three floors of triplex apartments have to be connected to one another from within the unit, rather than existing as three separate apartments on different floors, with access to one floor from the other via either a public staircase or an elevator. Many triplex apartments in co-op or condominium buildings are as a result of the owners buying the units below or above their home and renovating them to come up with connected floors. In order to achieve this, you usually have to get the go-ahead from the co-op or condo board of directors which is hardly an easy feat.
The stairways of triplex apartments come in different designs and width, but unless the apartment is huge, many of them are usually designed in a manner that will not take up too much space. One of the most common space-saving designs for staircases is spiral, with other popular designs being switch-back staircases and the ever-impressive floating designs.
What to expect from a triplex apartment
Before you venture into renting or buying a triplex apartment, here is what you need to know.
The upside of triplex units
- Amenities – More often than not, a triplex apartment will feature desirable amenities such as in-unit laundry, driveways, patios, porches, and even garages in some cases. These are features you are more likely to find in a house than an apartment complex.
- Privacy – One of the most attractive aspects of triplex apartments is the privacy that they offer their tenants. You won’t have to deal with as many neighbors when you live in a triplex unit as compared to if you opt to live in an apartment complex.
- Outdoor space – A triplex apartment comprises of just three units within a single building, which means the outdoor space will only be shared among three families. This is a significant upgrade from having to share a small yard with several other tenants in an apartment complex.
- Spacious – Triplex units are among the largest units you will find in the market. They are generally more spacious than standard rental units, hence their popularity with families.
- A great start to investing in multi-unit properties – If you are interested in making the move from investing in single-family properties to multi-unit properties, you may be better off starting with triplex units. You will have a relatively easier time when it comes to screening and managing tenants in a triplex unit as compared to if you make a direct transition to investing in an apartment building.
- You can live in one of the units – You have the option to live in one of the units of a triplex apartment and rent out the other spaces. This way, you will still be generating income from collecting rent and still have a place to stay in your property.
- High rental yield – If you choose to rent out all the units or even just two of them, you will generate a high rental income and pay off your entire mortgage even faster.
The not-so-great aspects
- They are more expensive to buy – Triplex apartments are generally more expensive to purchase than duplex apartments since they contain an extra unit.
- Disagreements may arise if you live in one of the units – Living in the same property as your tenants can pose challenges. This is especially true if there are no boundaries on how both parties should conduct themselves.
- Sharing with your neighbors – Living a triplex means having to learn to share common spaces and amenities such as driveways with your neighbors. In addition to this, you will also have to share a wall with your neighbor, which may result in noise issues.
- Are not widely available – Larger units such as triplexes are not as easily available as smaller apartment types such as one bedroom and studio units. This is especially true if you intend to rent or purchase a triplex within the city.
- The higher cost of maintenance and repairs – As the owner of a triplex, you are responsible for handling normal wear and tear in all the units. This steadily eats into your finances and also takes up a lot of your time especially if you take care of maintenance and repairs yourself.
Living in a triplex apartment allows you to enjoy some perks you would normally miss out on in standard apartments. The same goes for opting to invest in a triplex rather than smaller multi-units like duplexes. However, there are downsides you keep in mind as well such as the expense of renting/investing in these unit types and their general scarcity. All in all, analyze both the negative and positive before going for triplex apartments.