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A duplex is a property possessing separate entrances for two households. A duplex may be a two-story house with a complete apartment on each floor, or a set of side-by-side apartments on a single lot that share a common wall.
By contrast, a building comprising two attached units on two distinct properties is typically considered a “semi-detached” property or set of “twin homes,” but may be referred to as a duplex. (A properties with more than two separate units is referred to as triplex, fourplex/quadplex, or multifamily property.)
Borrowers sometimes seek commercial mortgages for the purpose of turning a single-family home into a duplex.