Unfinished beautiful duplex for two families with garages for car. Architecture and construction

In It Together: Building a Duplex So Two Families Can Live the Dream

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If you’ve made it this far, no doubt you’ve noticed that there’s a serious housing crunch in Hawaii. The challenge of finding a nice, reasonably priced home in a convenient location is so difficult to be downright impossible. It’s no wonder so many people have decided to build ADUs and multi-unit homes. Of course, with the space for homes getting tighter and the cost involved with building a new one, even families who can see an answer may have difficulty reaching it.

The Thought of Sharing

But what about teaming up with another family? One thing many young people and extended families are doing is buying a home together either in groups who plan on sharing the space and the proceeds if they eventually sell. This practical theory can also be applied to new constructions as well. Rather than paying for the entire construction yourself, you have the option of splitting the costs with others who also want a new home in the neighborhood you’ve chosen and with a duplex, you don’t even have to share your personal residence.

Two Private Residences, One Set of Costs

The beauty of a duplex is that there are so many savings to be made in a construction by building two homes for the effort of one. Using efficient construction techniques, you can share one foundation pour, one roof, and one last-mile set of connections to the water, power, gas, sewer, and cable. That’s already thousands of dollars saved compared to building two separate houses. While a duplex construction may be more expensive than a single family home, together both families will save money by going in together.

Maintaining Your Privacy in a Duplex

One of the major concerns with duplex and, indeed, any shared living situation is that there won’t be enough privacy. Let us reassure you that your duplex can be as private as you want it to be. You can have a shared yard if you like that or put a privacy fence right down the middle. You can share a central garage or have them separate with a hedge down the middle of your driveways. The central wall will be insulated to protect you from sharing unwanted sounds and you can even select a design where the front doors don’t leave in the same direction of your lot is oddly shaped.  Of course, you can also go the other way and share as much as possible if you really enjoy the family you’re building with.

Who to Build With

Deciding to build a duplex with another family is the easy part but the key to residential bliss is finding someone who you’ll really enjoy splitting the bill and the lot with. One way to do it is to build with a close sibling or friend who is at the same point in their life, living as neighbors and raising your kids together, possibly even in an openly shared backyard. This is a great way to never be lonely and ensure that your children will have other kids about their age nearby without even having to cross the street for play dates.

Another way to go is to buy with your parents. Many Hawaiian parents are trying to help their children get into the housing market and building a duplex creates what one might consider the ultimate granny flat. This ensures that your parents will be amply repaid in a lovely new home for helping you financially, you can easily help them keep the place up as they get older, and you will most likely inherit the other half of the property in due time.

Finally, if you would rather not live with family or build a double-family with a close friend, you still have one very good option. Find another family either locally or online who is ready to buy or build and wants to live with just as much privacy as you do. In fact, you can even draw up a private contract between the two of you guaranteeing a mutual respect of privacy and ensuring that even if you become friends over the course of the construction project, your separate families maintain the right and ability to remain separate on opposite sides of the duplex.

Building a duplex is an incredibly astute financial decision whether you’re building with friends, family or a friendly stranger. But, of course, it’s also not your only option for efficiently using a single residential lot. For more information about building a custom duplex, designing an ADU, or embarking on a big DIY renovation project, contact us today!

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