What is the difference between a duplex and a duet home?

Can you tell the difference between a duplex and a duet home? This is either a duplex or a duet - how will you know which it is?The difference between a duplex and a duet home is not obvious, and many people may think they are the same thing.  Duplexes and duet homes both involve two attached residential units.  But legally and financially, the difference between a duplex and a duet home is huge!

Below we’ll review:

  • Video explanation of the difference between a duplex and a duet home
  • What is a duplex
  • What is a duet home
  • How do you know if a property is one or the other
  • Can the type or classification be changed?

The photo to the right is of a San Jose home I sold a few years back.  You cannot tell from the image, but there is a front door off to the right of the single car garage door, and back around on the left side, near the double car garage door, there’s another front door. There are 2 units. It is a duplex or a duet home?  You cannot necessarily tell by looking!

 

Video explanation of the difference between a duplex and a duet home

 

What is a duplex?

A duplex is a multifamily home, in the same category as a triplex or fourplex, meaning there are multiple living units.  Most of the time, they are attached to each other, but not always. But what is truly distinctive is the way they are bought and sold.  With multifamily homes, such as a duplex, all of these dwellings are sold together. (The units are not sold separately.)
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Creekside Almaden

Creekside Almaden is one of the most affordable neighborhoods of single family homes offering the very most sought after Almaden Schools. For those wanting to purchase a home in a scenic area of San Jose 95120, have a decent sized back patio or yard, but not wanting to buy a condo or townhome, this pocket offers great options!

 

Creekside Almaden neighborhood - Big Sur Drive at Martwood, looking toward the coastal range

What are the homes like in Creekside Almaden?

There are 75 single family homes, built in 1985 by KB Homes (Kaufman and Broad). Many of them are detached houses on zero lot lines (also known as “patio homes”). The rest are duet homes, or single family attached, so one adjoined neighbor. (Duet homes are not the same thing as duplexes. You can read about the difference between duet and duplex homes here.)

The zero lot line homes have one wall with no windows (since the house is directly on the property line). Depending on the orientation of the structure, it may feel darker inside than usual. Similarly, since the attached homes have one wall in common, they may also be a little dark feeling, depending on which side faces south or west. If the wall with no windows is north facing, you may  not feel this way at all.

The Creekside Almaden neighborhood properties all have 2 full bathrooms, some also enjoy a half bathroom, and either 2 or 3 bedrooms. Home sizes range from 956 SF to 1538 SF (the U.S. government refers to houses up to 1500 SF as “starter homes”). Some have lofts, many or most enjoy vaulted ceilings and fireplaces. Closets are a decent size due to the relatively younger age of the homes.

 

Almaden Creekside homes

 

Most lots are between 3000 and 4000 SF, with the smallest lot being 2881 and the largest being 4980. The average lot size is 3571. With small lots, there are small frontages, so not a lot of room in front of any given house for cars. Some of the areas feel a little congested with automobile parking for that reason.

A big plus is that all of these houses have 2 car garages and full sized driveways. All are on public streets, with sidewalks, so there’s no HOA and no HOA dues. For many, those are HUGE plusses.

The Creekside Almaden neighborhood area is scenic, with hills visible east and west.

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