How to Buy a Duplex in Australia

Buying a duplex in Australia can be a great way to invest in property, but it’s important to do your research and understand the process. 

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from finding the right property to financing your purchase.

Benefits of buying a duplex

Buying a duplex can offer several benefits to homeowners and investors. Here are some advantages of purchasing a duplex:

  • Potential for cash flow: If you live in one side of the duplex and rent out the other, you can generate rental income to help offset your mortgage payments. This can be a great way to build equity in your property and create a passive income stream.
  • Mortgage Assistance: When you buy a duplex, you have the opportunity to live in one unit and rent out the other. The rental income from the second unit can contribute towards your mortgage payments, reducing your overall housing expenses. This arrangement can make homeownership more affordable and help you build equity faster.
  • Tax Benefits: Owning a duplex can offer certain tax advantages. You may be able to deduct expenses such as mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. Additionally, you can depreciate the value of the property, which can further reduce your taxable income.
  • Flexibility: Owning a duplex provides flexibility in terms of living arrangements. You can choose to live in one unit while renting out the other, or you can rent out both units and live elsewhere. This flexibility allows you to adapt to your changing lifestyle or financial needs.
  • Property Appreciation: Real estate has the potential to appreciate over time, and owning a duplex can be a good long-term investment. As the property value increases, so does your equity. If you decide to sell in the future, you may be able to earn a profit from the appreciation.
  • Diversification: Investing in a duplex allows you to diversify your investment portfolio. Real estate can provide a different type of asset compared to stocks, bonds, or other investment options. It can serve as a hedge against market fluctuations and provide stability to your overall financial position.
  • Community Involvement: Living in a duplex often means being part of a community or neighborhood. You may have the opportunity to get to know your neighbors and establish relationships. This can create a sense of belonging and contribute to a more enjoyable living experience.
  • Future Expansion: Duplexes offer potential for future expansion or conversion. If you have additional space or land, you might be able to add more units or convert the duplex into a larger property, potentially increasing its value and rental income.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Cons of a duplex

Duplexes can be a great investment, but it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. If you are not comfortable with the idea of sharing walls and a driveway with your tenants, or if you are not prepared for the extra maintenance, then a duplex may not be the right investment for you.

Here are some of the cons of buying a duplex:

  • More maintenance: Duplexes require more maintenance than single-family homes, as you have two units to take care of. This includes things like lawn care, snow removal, and repairs.
  • Less privacy: If you live in one side of the duplex and rent out the other, you may have less privacy than you would in a single-family home. This is because you will have to share walls, a driveway, and other common areas with your tenants.
  • More rules: There may be more rules and regulations governing duplexes than single-family homes. This is because duplexes are considered to be multi-unit dwellings. Some of these rules may restrict what you can do with your property, such as making renovations or painting the exterior.
  • More difficult to sell: Duplexes can be more difficult to sell than single-family homes. This is because there is a smaller pool of potential buyers who are looking for a duplex.

How to positively gear a duplex

Positive gearing a duplex means that the rental income from the property is greater than the expenses, resulting in a positive cash flow. There are a few things you can do to make sure your duplex is positively geared:

  • Choose a location with high rental demand: This will ensure that you can charge a competitive rent and fill the property quickly.
  • Make sure the property is in good condition: Tenants are more likely to rent a property that is well-maintained and has updated features.
  • Keep your expenses low: This includes things like property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.
  • Get a good mortgage rate: The lower your interest rate, the less you’ll have to pay in monthly mortgage payments.
  • Consider a renovation: If the duplex needs some work, a renovation can increase the value of the property and make it more attractive to tenants.
  • Hire a property manager: A property manager can help you find tenants, collect rent, and handle maintenance issues. This can free up your time so you can focus on other things.

If you can do these things, you’ll be well on your way to positive gearing your duplex and building wealth over time.

Should expats invest in duplex?

Whether or not expats should invest in duplexes depends on a number of factors, including their financial situation, their investment goals, and the local real estate market.

Here are some of the pros and cons of investing in duplexes as an expat:


  • Duplexes can be a good way to generate rental income, which can help expats cover their living expenses while they are abroad.
  • Duplexes can appreciate in value over time, which can provide expats with a long-term investment return.
  • Duplexes can be a good way to build equity, which can help expats save for a down payment on a future home.


  • Duplexes can be more difficult to manage than single-family homes, as expats will not be able to be on-site to deal with repairs or tenant issues.
  • Duplexes can be more expensive to purchase than single-family homes, as expats will need to have a larger down payment.
  • Duplexes can be more difficult to sell than single-family homes, as there is a smaller pool of potential buyers who are looking for a duplex.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to invest in duplexes as an expat is a personal one. You should carefully consider your financial situation, your investment goals, and the local real estate market before making a decision.

Consult with our expert mortgage brokers who can help you get pre-approved. Odin Mortgage is the leading mortgage brokerage serving Australian expats and foreign buyers. 

Get a free consultation today.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Frequently asked questions

A duplex property refers to a building divided into two separate units, each with its own entrance and usually sharing a common wall. It is designed to accommodate two households or families, typically with mirrored floor plans.

Regulations and restrictions may vary between states and territories in Australia. It’s essential to check with local authorities regarding zoning regulations, building codes, and any specific requirements related to duplex properties in the area where you plan to purchase.

Stamp duty is a state-based tax, and the amount payable can vary depending on the state or territory where the duplex is located. You will likely be required to pay stamp duty on the purchase price, unless you qualify for any exemptions or concessions available for first-time buyers or specific property types. 

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