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For hundreds of years landlords have built and used mult-iunit buildings in cities, towns and villages everywhere in the world.

They can start small and grow or just invest in larger rental property if they wish.

A duplex, a two unit living space, can offer both a starter home and an investment in the future for a homeowner who is less interested in a single family home than having a more lucrative property.

Single family homes are often expensive and a constant drain on income with little if any return value even as an asset.

Investors tend to think of homes as a sort of feminine desire. It may be true. Women think of family and home and gardens and an attractive place.

But for men it’s often an ego statement. Pride dictates that it be as imposing and expensive looking as they can make it…sort of like a Rolex. It’s a, “See what I bought myself.”

Then try to get the money you spent on it when it goes to resale. Surprise…not everyone wants a pool, bowling alley, or burgundy man cave when they go looking for a house. And fashions in decorating change so fast the perfect house you built 5 years ago is passé’…so over it’s ridiculous. Who is going to buy the imported orange granite you put everywhere? Probably no one.

Single family homes tend to be expensive to maintain, need constant repairs and remodeling, often have ridiculous financing costs, and if you sell it you still have to get another place to live.

Generally, single family homes are an ongoing expense, not a real asset.

Real assets produce income, not just expenses.

So the obvious answer is to build or buy multi-unit properties that have appeal as far as location and amenities are concerned.

One way to take advantage of these types of properties is to purchase or build these units in town, near lots of restaurants and businesses. You might have a retail unit on the ground floor…maybe your own business, a living space above it, and a rental or 3 upstairs.

You might also build or buy a three or more story structure that has an accessible unit on the ground floor, and a couple of more rentals for more able bodied people above. You might also house several groups of your own family in a building that gives a floor to parents, you and a spouse and an older child and family and/or children.

Above all these spaces can change over time according to your needs.

Renting properties has a lot of complications but you can figure it out. If you only have a limited amount to spend, consider living in the property, at least for a time. If you have some money, typically 35% for a down payment and need a quick loan to secure a property, commercial bridge loans may be a fit for you.

If you like a city or town lifestyle you may really like it and it could be a great boon for a small business owner. You live where you work and you don’t commute.

Other types of businesses are not location sensitive and may do fine in a less urban milieu.

In some cases you may make most of your personal income from renting properties to people and that’s your career. You would have a job but most of us have jobs anyway.

Being self-employed can be WAY better than being an employee. It gives you more personal control and less risk of getting fired.

So consider it. Buy a business, an income producing business, instead of a McMansion.

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