Primary Residence vs. Second Home

Q. Please explain to me what constitutes the difference in lenders eyes between a primary residence and a 2nd home.  I’ve been told it’s the distance thing but this doesn’t make sense because I know of instances where such couldn’t be the case.  Also, can you have a 2nd home, if you don’t have a first home?

A. For most lenders it is as you put it “a distance thing”, wherein the 2nd home needs to be more than 60-65 miles distant from one’s primary residence.  There are exceptions where the 2nd home is in a resort or vacation destination.  An example of an exception might be one where the principal residence was in the city and one had a 2nd home at the beach or a ski resort, even though it may be within a 60-65 mile radius of one’s principal residence.

Judging from your question, I interpret your question to mean “Can one have a 2nd home if they don’t own their primary residence?”  The answer is yes.  Their primary residence might be a rental here in California and own a 2nd home in another state, for example.

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