In your search for an NYC apartment, you may come across the phrase “duplex apartment.” For new arrivals who have encountered the term before it may cause some confusion because in New York what constitutes a duplex apartment is different from other states. These types of apartments come in many different sizes but what they all have in common is a space on two separate but adjoining floors.
Let’s look closer into that definition. Maybe a duplex apartment is just what you’re looking for.
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What is the definition of a duplex apartment?
The term is quite common in real estate terminology, but it needs to be pointed out that in New York, “duplex” means something different. Most states define a duplex as any two-unit dwelling that is connected by a common wall or floor. This is essentially a multi-family home. These are often purchased so that the owner can rent out the adjoining apartment. But in NYC, especially in Manhattan and Brooklyn, a duplex means a two-floor apartment that is connected by a stairway and elevator. In other words, it’s what you get when you turn two apartments into one. Sometimes the bottom level can be a basement but not always.
Most were constructed when the owner of a co-op or condo apartment purchased the unit above or below their home and redesigned it for their own needs. You can also find some that are connected from side-to-side, but they’re less common than top-to-bottom conversions.
What are the benefits of owning a duplex?
Space, and lots of it! Duplex apartments come in many different sizes. The most desirable being those in which the square footage of the top floor closely matches or is identical to the lower floor. Families covet these especially as they allow for maximum use of living space along with the novelty of a two-story layout. Separate floors mean sperate rooms and living areas so you’ll get a little more privacy than regular apartments.
Considerations when buying a duplex
Having that extra level sounds great, but you need to take account of the fact that you’ll need to use those stairs on a daily basis. They do add an interesting look, but they’re more of a space saver than an ideal mode of transport between floors. Most come in a spiral form so you can forget about dragging a king-sized mattress up and down one. You’ll also need to take extra caution when using them after a late night of adult beverages. If you’re not thrilled by this then perhaps a duplex isn’t for you. You can always get around this by finding one that includes an elevator. It all comes down to a personal choice so think hard about it before deciding.
Although rarer than duplex’s, it’s also possible to find triplex apartments. As the name implies, these are apartments that cover three floors. These types are usually only located in buildings where each floor is taller than normal. Although it’s possible to find ones that are part of the original design, it’s more common to find ones who have gone through a renovation to connect the three floors.