While most home buyers don’t consider it, there are countless reasons buying a duplex as your primary residence can can be a better finanical decision than buying a single family home. The obvious reasons include higher mortgage interest deductions, depreciation and the rental income that helps for the mortgage.
As we approach the end of the year, however, I am reminded of some of the less obvious benefits. When someone owner occupies a duplex, she can deduct countless expenses related to the half of the property she doesn’t live in on the Schedule E portion of her tax return. For example this may include rental unit expenses like:
The cost of paint and repairs
Rental license fee
One-half of the property tax
A portion of her cell phone bill
Half of her mortgage interest
Half of her homeowners insurance
Tenant screening fees
Half of the maintenance for the exterior of the house
A portion of legal and professional fees
Of course, while these deductions pale in comparison to the big one, depreciation, they do help defray some of the costs associated with being a landlord; costs which couldn’t be deducted on an owner-occupied single family home.