Zen in the Art of Real Estate Investing -Duplex Conversions

3 min readOct 16, 2022

A lot of real estates investors are looking at the current real estate market and pivoting their focus to

Duplex Conversions.

Duplex conversions are a time-tested, tangible way to invest in real estate.
Here are some considerations when screening properties to see if they can truly be converted into a duplex.

Duplex Conversion Checklist:

Does it have a front-door entrance AND a back-door entrance/ side-door entrance?
Does the zoning allow for it? It is very important to note that zoning is different across cities.
- Sidenote: The city of Kitchener-Waterloo states that detached duplexes are allowed in zoning from R2-R8, while semi-detached duplexes are allowed in residential zones R4-R7
- According to the city website, The main thing to look for with Kitchener’s Single-Detached Dwellings and Street Townhouses is to ensure that the parking requirements are met since most detached homes and townhomes are in the right zoning
Does the home have two side-by-side parking spaces? Are there any trees blocking the driveway?
Does the basement have a ceiling height of over 6’5? (this is only for homes older than 9 years, which is most homes — if a home is less than 5 years old the ceiling height only has to be 6’0 to be valid) It’s important to note that when a building inspector comes in to inspect ceiling height, they will inspect from the lowest point of the ceiling to the floor.
How much square footage of space does the basement in which you intend on building another unit have? A Studio/bachelor requires 450 square feet of space, a bedroom requires 525 square feet of space, and a 2 bedroom requires 675 square feet of space.
Does the basement have an egress window? The rule of thumb is that the tenant has to be able to crawl out of the window. The requirements are different city by city.
The City of Kitchener states that except when there is direct access to the exterior via a walkout basement or exterior basement stair, a window on the basement shall be provided meeting the minimum egress requirements when the basement contains a bedroom
On a scale of 1–10, how easily can this basement space be converted into a duplex? For instance, can the bathroom be placed right below the bathroom upstairs? This way you can share the…


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