Is It A Duplex Or A Unicorn?


Is It A Duplex Or A Unicorn?The other day while doing a 3000-foot survey of the real estate available for sale in Minneapolis and St Paul, I stumbled into a duplex listed as a single family home.

Thinking I must be missing something, I called the listing agent for clarification.

Her explanation didn’t quite make sense.

She said that because the property had one property tax information identification number (PID), both she and her broker believed it should be listed as a single family home. Besides, she said, even though it was a side by side duplex, it would make a terrific, large single family home.

There are all sorts of things wrong with her information.

First, many people mistakenly believe “twin home” is another name for a duplex. Well, that’s a little like saying a horse and a unicorn are the same thing. “Twin home” is another name for townhouse; the only difference being that the former may share only one wall with a neighbor.

Duplexes are two homes, under one roof, with one property identification number, and one ownership entity. This is important because the bank will give the number of loans on a property equal to the number of PIDs.

Twin homes have separate PIDs. Both units are usually owned by separate parties, with their own loans.

Second, converting a side by side duplex to a single family home will not only involve the opening up of a load bearing wall, but even with the best contractors on the job, will likely result in an unorthodox floor plan.

Finally, and most importantly in this instance, the Realtor has most likely stacked the odds against her seller getting an offer on the duplex extremely low. Most people looking for multifamily properties in the Twin Cities are looking for them under the category of Multi Family homes. They are not looking in single family home listings.

This story underscores the importance of hiring an expert. If you’re considering selling your Minneapolis, St Paul, or suburban duplex, it’s in your best interest to have an experienced multifamily property Realtor helping you get the most money possible in the shortest amount of time.

If you’d like to talk with me about selling your duplex, feel free to fill out the contact form above or give me a call. I’d be glad to give you a hand.