Imagine buying a two-storey condo unit in your ideal location and at your dream price. Yes, you are reading it right – it has two storeys, and it is called a duplex unit, which comes with extra space for you on the upper floor.
Meet the local duplex home
In Malaysia, a duplex house is a double-storey unit constructed in a high-rise residential structure, such as in a condominium. Sometimes called a loft, it typically offers an open area on the upper floor, which is connected to the lower floor by stairs within the unit itself.
Depending on its built-up size, a duplex consists of typically a single kitchen area, a living hall and comes with either two or three bedrooms. The upper floor usually has a smaller floor size, where it is used as an open bedroom or a small office area.
Then, is duplex a SoHo?
One of the advantages of a duplex is that it offers flexibility for the owner to convert one of its floors into a home office. In fact, there are many duplex units marketed as Small-office Home-office (SoHo) apartments in Malaysia.
In many instances, these SoHo apartments carry a commercial title, even though it is possible for a duplex to be built on a residential title.
Is a penthouse a duplex?
Although a penthouse can be a double-storey unit in a high-rise residential building, it can also come as a single-storey. On the other hand, a duplex is always a two-storey unit.
Secondly, unlike a penthouse, which is always located on the highest floor of a condo, a duplex unit can be constructed on any floor. In fact, it can be built on every level.
Is there such a thing called a landed duplex?
Although it is not commonly available here, there are duplexes (one with a loft design) built on land.
In India, for example, a modern duplex, which is called Dohara manzil (in Hindi), is a landed house that comprises two floors that come with a kitchen, a hall and bedrooms on the lower level, while a master bedroom sits on the upper floor.
Meanwhile, in western countries, a duplex is commonly used as a multi-family dwelling that provides two separate living spaces on the same piece of land.
These two units often share a common wall but the floor plan can vary. They can be built either side by side or stacked on top of each other, with each family living on the entire floor or two of the duplex structures.
Exteriorly, the duplex looks like a large, landed house. However, a closer look will show the structure having two entrances, with each catering to the separate living spaces.
There is no interior connection between them. In fact, each unit may have similar features to a single-family dwelling, complete with bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and a living hall. Some duplexes may even have two garages.
It is interesting to note that a duplex house is usually owned by a single owner – who may or may not live in one of the two units, or may possibly rent out both units to two different tenants.
Why not get an apartment instead of a duplex?
In addition to a different living experience, no one will say no to extra space and flexibility.
As it is a double-storey structure, it tends to offer a more spacious layout, which can be used in a number of ways, for instance, turning the upper floor into a mini collection gallery or a master bedroom.
Is the Malaysian duplex right for you?
A duplex home may be well suited for young couples or individuals who want extra space and flexibility, while living in a condo unit that offers facilities such as a swimming pool and gym.
For families with kids, it may also work if the duplex is a larger unit with two or three bedrooms.
Despite that, there are also other factors such as location and pricing that need to be considered. Hence, it is important to think about what you require before making any decision.