This question is about US mortgages.

I was talking to a realtor who told me that buying a single-family home now as owner-occupied would prevent me from applying for an owner-occupied mortgage for a multifamily house with a a lower down payment and suggested doing it the other way round: multi-family then single family if both are owner-occupied.

Her take is that I would not be able to put a low down-payment but instead would need to put down 25% for the 2nd place (a multi-family home) even if I lived in the single-family home for at least a year as required for owner-occupied mortgages.

Is this true? I couldn't find a source that mentions this underwriting process.

2 Answers 2


You seem to regard the owner-occupied rules as paperwork peccadilloes to overcome. The intent of these rules, rather, is that you indeed occupy (i.e. live in, reside in full-time) the abode that you tell a lender will be owner-occupied. To do otherwise would be to commit federal crimes such as mortgage fraud while you launch your real estate endeavor.


My experience is that lenders require 20% down in order to get a mortgage on a piece of rental property.

If lender will view a multifamily property as an investment property and require the 20% down payment on the loan, then you have to make sure that by putting a large down payment on the single family house you don't drain your cash and won't qualify for a loan on the multifamily property.

You should sit down with your agent and mortgage broker and determine if the order of purchases makes a difference. If it does, you may have to go with multifamily purchase first, or put a smaller amount down on the single family house.

  • By "rental property", do you mean a multi-family house like a duplex with me living in one of the units? Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 22:27
  • 1
    That is why you have to talk to a mortgage broker. You need to see how your living in the property impacts the requirements for loan. You living there might not lower the required down payment. Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 0:56

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