Part 3: Duplex Experts vs. Single-Family Agents


Too many real estate agents think that they can do it all.

They take on single-family homes, multi-family homes, and just about anything else that comes their way. They don’t acknowledge having any kind of niche-focus, and they treat every deal in the best way that they know how - by comparing it to the sector of the market they know and understand.

We’re not like those agents.

We call ourselves The Duplex Doctors because we’re committed to what we do - duplex, triplex, and four-plex transactions. We focus on the multi-family market because we know that a lot of unique challenges come along with buying and selling this unique kind of home.

Instead of spreading ourselves too thin, we dedicated ourselves to understanding everything we could about this market.

We Know Our Product

Would you hire a bike salesman to sell your car?

Duplexes aren’t like single-family houses. At least not in the way that most realtors assume they are.

We can definitely understand where the confusion comes from. After all, duplexes can be financed like single-family homes and are comparable in price, size, and more.

However, there are some important differences that only duplex and multi-family specialists are familiar with.

For starters, it’s important that your realtor understand the meaning behind your intent to sell. If you’re selling a duplex that you bought as an investment or live in as an owner-occupier, you already know that the property either served you as an income-producing asset or left you high and dry as a major liability.

If your realtor doesn’t understand that or doesn’t know anything about the rental market, then you may end up selling your property for much less than its worth or getting caught up in a mess when the appraisal rolls in.

We’ve seen rookie duplex realtors make mistakes that cost duplex owners tens of thousands, and we don’t want to see that happen to anyone else - especially not our clients. That’s why we’ve spent over 15 years learning the ins and outs of the multi-family market.

Understanding the Rental Market

Multi-family real estate transactions are about two markets, not one.

What’s separates a duplex specialist from the run-of-the-mill single-family realtor? For one thing, an understanding of the rental market.

Any decent real estate agent should be expected to have a firm grasp on the real estate market, but understanding the rental market is another thing entirely. Single-family home realtors typically don’t need to understand this market because they’re accustomed to selling single-unit properties that are occupied by just one party - the owners.

However, an understanding of the rental market is absolutely key for anyone trying to sell a duplex. The rental rates that the market commands contribute to the value of a property. A great multi-family realtor also understands what seasoned investors do - the reliability of renters in the area, the expected vacancy rates in the area, and more.

Failing to understand this leads to all kinds of lost value.

Working with Tenants

Disrespect your tenants and they may return the favor - don't get caught up in a property owners' nightmare.

selling a duplex

Tenants matter in the transaction process. In cases where real estate agents make tenants feel as if they’re being disrespected, there is high potential for the tenants to completely derail the entire selling process.

In the past, we’ve seen that just about anything can happen, and that’s why we work with tenants to ensure that they feel as if they’re being respected and considered when showings are scheduled and other requests are made.

As specialists in multi-family real estate, we understand what things are like for tenants. Real estate agents and property owners ask a lot of them and tend to forget that the tenants have no real motivation to see the property sold.

We’re experts in managing their expectations so that things move along as smoothly as possible.

Tenancy Laws

The last thing anyone wants to do is break the law when selling their home. We’re sensitive to this and understand tenancy laws better than almost any other realtor you could ever come across.

We take great care to ensure that the law is upheld and that tenants are treated well along every step of the way.

If your realtor’s not aware of tenancy laws in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area and at the federal level, you could be putting yourself at risk.

Even if it’s not willfully, mistakes could be made along the way that cause a lot of trouble for property owners.

Seeing Your Home as an Income-Producing Asset

If you sold someone something with the expectation that it would make them money over time, would that change the value of what you're selling?

Almost definitely!

Surprisingly, many realtors do not seem to understand how duplexes are income-producing assets, not just places to live.

We know firsthand how valuable duplexes can be because the principal players on our team have each owned duplexes themselves.

We’ve all seen the effect that they can have on a person’s financial situation. Because of that, we’d never treat a duplex like a single-family property when selling it.

Your realtor should be well aware of how your property produces income, how much it is producing, what its potential is, and why that’s relevant to the selling process. If they don’t, work with someone else!


Ready to sell your place for what it's worth? Give us a call and we’ll set you up with a free property valuation so that you can know just how much you should expect for your place and how much you could potentially get by making a few simple tweaks here and there.

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