How To Turn A Duplex Into A Single Family Home? 5 Steps


Whether for-profit or family use, turning a duplex into a single-family home can be a beautiful and rewarding task. As tasking as it sounds, it is a more straightforward process and easier than turning a single-family house into a duplex. If your question is.

How to turn a duplex into a single home? Here is how

You can turn your duplex into a single home and it won’t cost you much but you need to ensure you get all the right permits to do so. Apart from getting the right permits, you also need to consult experienced home developers.

You may be wondering what the difference is between a duplex and a single-family home and how you can convert your duplex to a single-family home. Not to worry, in this article, I have outlined everything you need to know about turning your duplex into a single-family home.

Steps To Turn A Duplex Into A Single Family Home:

Follow these steps to convert your duplex into a single-family home:

1. Research

Consult your city building council to get the permit you need to change the number of units on your building. Research on possible challenges you may face when converting your home. Possible things you should check are the structural ability of your current home and even the environment if it is suitable for a single-family home.

2. Draw Floor Plan

Draw a floor plan of the building and outline the uses of each room, the number of bathrooms, and the kitchen location. You can determine the utility systems to leave and remove with your floor plan. An architect better does these drawings.

3. Wall Removal

Getting a contractor well experienced in home remodeling, the contractor using the original building blueprint will determine which walls to remove and the ones to retain to open up the space in the room. Break down necessary barriers and remove interior doors and windows.

4. Utility System

According to the new plan, remove and refit the gas, plumbing, and water pipes. Hire professionals only. Call an electrician to rewire your electricity supply controlled at one location. This control is essential. The light source has to be one fuse control panel.

5. Finishing

Redecorate your home to the style of choice. You can match the interior to fit the exterior or compliment it.


While converting your duplex into a single-family home, three processes are to follow.

  • Create a building floor plan
  • Get approval for a building permit
  • Construction and home approval

1. Create A Building Floor Plan

Your building floor plan must show the unit’s layout with all proposed changes. It must include all levels of the house, basement, attic, main floor, and second floor(if any). It must show the outline of all walls, including the foundation, interior, and exterior walls, and the staircase, doors, and windows locations. It must indicate all rooms by name and dimensions (12×10 feet). It should have plans for one kitchen, one entrance, and another exit.

2. Get Approval For A Building Permit

Apply for a permit. You can apply for a permit online by email. After submission, your city coordinator will send an email with instructions on how to submit your floor plan. City staff will do a review and zoning. City community planning will review all building code requirements and send correction comments if any. Once the application is approved by CPED (city community planning and economic development), you will be charged and sent a permit.

3. Construction And Building Approval

With your building permit, start construction. Once construction is complete, CPED will inspect the new building and update your certificate of occupancy to a single-family home, change the unit count record to one and alert your city’s utility department of the conversion. City services will also start billing as a single-family home.


The cost of converting a duplex into a single-family home depends on the house, existing amenities, type of building materials, and finishing used. The average price to turn a duplex into a single-family home is between $15,000 – $85,000. It also varies on location.

This cost estimate has its base on expenses from architectural description to finishing.

Things To Consider

Many factors exist if you want to turn your single-family home into a duplex. These factors include:

1. Room Layout 

You have to determine the layout of the single home building in comparison to the duplex you have. Figure out how many and where you want the rooms to be. Naturally, your single home should have a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and dining room in one section and a bedroom and extra spaces in the other section. Accordingly, you are to decide which rooms to merge and which to divide and draw out floor plans.

2. Utility System Layout

Because of utility systems like plumbing, ventilation, and electrical system (HVAC) changes. Redraw the plans for these amenities to include the changes you want to make.

3. Structural Layout

You should consider the type of structural layout you want for the home. Find out which walls should break down and the ones to remain, and determine the best position for the staircase. You might wish to have the balcony removed or replaced. Get the help of a structural engineer for guidance and consult the building’s original blueprint to find possible changes.

4. Blueprint

Once you get all layout placement positions, you need a professional architect to draw a detailed floor plan incorporating these layouts (you will need it for permit application).

5. Zoning

Inquire if you are in the proper zoning location for a single-family home, and study your city zoning bylaws to ensure your changes are legal. Zoning is necessary because your conversion will change the number of houses in the area. There is a stipulated number of residents in an area by zoning law. 

Single Family Home vs Duplex Which Is Better?

Homeowners often consider both duplex and single-family homes while acquiring a home. But a single-family home is better than a duplex.

Below are some reasons why a single-family home is better than a duplex.

1. Size 

Duplex homes are usually of a lesser size in square feet than single-family homes. A duplex can be roughly 1,300-1,700 square feet, while a single-family home is around 1,400-2,500 square feet.

2. Cost

Single Family homes are slightly costlier than a duplex. A typical duplex home can be in the range of $300,000 to $400,000, while a single-family home is in the higher range of $350,000 to $550,000.

3. Privacy

Generally, single-family homes offer more privacy than a duplex. There is no sharing of the garage or porch or yard. In a single-family home, You get the building all to yourself, unlike a duplex you share with another house owner.

4. Maintenance

Exterior maintenance might be complex in a duplex. You may have to discuss with your neighbor before doing maintenance like fence fixing, light fixtures, and external walk painting. Single-family homeowners enjoy absolute freedom to do whatever they want with the building.

Main Differences 

There is one significant difference between a single-family home and a duplex which is in the number of units or sections. A single-family home is a home that stands free and alone without any attachment while a duplex has two separate living spaces that look identical.

Single-family homes do not merge with other units or sections. You can call an SFH (single-family home) a laned home because it has its garage entrance through an alleyway or rear lane.

However, a duplex is a building with two separate living spaces. These spaces are identical to each other and have the same amenities. A wall or an interior staircase can separate the two units. Duplexes can also be called semi-detached homes and have separate owners, garages, yards, and backspace.


While turning your duplex into a single-family home, there are three major steps:

  • Get a floor plan.
  • Get a permit.
  • Remodel.

While you engage in the task of remodeling, flex your creativity and have fun as you turn your duplex into a beautiful single-family home.

Related Readings:

Can Landlord Paint House While Occupied?

Can You Convert A Duplex Into A Triplex?

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