Residential Investments vs. Second Home

We frequently get asked about residential investments vs. second homes. In most cases our borrower’s are looking to purchase a second home that they would potentially rent, but have for their personal use most of the time.

The answer is that lenders require you to state how you will be using the home. You must choose primary, second home, or
investment property; lenders do not allow mixed occupancy. A second home is not income from a lenders perspective; you either do it as an investment property or a second home.

The majority of lenders offer the best rates for investment properties with 25-30% down however; some lenders allow you to put as little as 20% down but the rate will certainly be higher. Second home rates tend to be about ½% lower than investment properties.

Often times our borrowers will buy a home as a second home or even a primary and then change the occupancy in future years. This is a possibility, however if you try to refinance a home that you bought as a second home and you have rental income on your tax returns it will be considered an investment property, even if it is only a small percentage of usage as a rental.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!


Winterization Tips

pic 016 (2)Guidelines for Primary and Secondary Homeowners in the Truckee – Lake Tahoe Area

(This list may not be complete and is to be used as a guideline only.)

Preparing for Winter Weather Tips for All – Both Primary & Secondary Homeowners

1. Disconnect hoses from outside water spigots. Most homes in our area have “freeze proof” exterior water spigots. Thus, you only need to disconnect hoses from the water spigots so that water does not collect and freeze. Some older homes may not have “freeze proof” spigots. If you are not sure which type your home is equipped with, consult a local plumber for specialized instructions. Also, be sure to drain irrigation and sprinkler systems.

2. Caulk and maintain weather stripping. Ensure that your doors and windows are air tight; this will help reduce your heating bills. Maintain weather stripping around doors and use caulk on openings or outlets around pipes, foundation, windows, etc. For home use, four varieties of caulk: butyl, latex with silicone, acrylic with silicone, or tripolymer. (Don’t use just [straight] silicone caulk.) You want to stop any migration of water and air.

3. Insulate water lines. Put foam rubber insulation around hot and cold water pipes, you’ll increase efficiency and save energy. (You can buy it in a home store.)

4. Maintain heating units. Make sure your heating appliances are cleaned and serviced and ready for winter. Make sure your furnace filter is clean. Check that venting is clear and open.

5. Maintain chimneys and stovepipes. Have chimneys and stovepipes inspected & cleaned. (Be sure you have a high-quality chimney cap.)

6. Repair roof as needed. Check the roof of your home for missing shingles, shakes, or damaged materials (metal). Also, be sure to check around roof vents for any damaged materials. Repair as needed.

7. Close foundation vents. Clo se foundation vents when colder weather begins and reopen again in the spring for proper ventilation. (Some contractors suggest that you leave at least two sub-area vents, for cross ventilation, open year round for proper ventilation.)

8. Check your home insurance. For cold-weather homeowners, winter is a season that can bring damage from snow and ice, so it’s a good time of year to look at your homeowner’s policy.

Real Estate Resources

Here are a few business partners we rely on and recommend.

Mortgage Brokers & Lenders

Odette Mortgage Group (OMG), Teresa Odette



RPM Mortgage, Victoria Conway



Sierra Mountain Mortgage, Dave Giacomini




Title & Escrow Companies

Fidelity National Title


Placer Title Company


First American Title



Home Warranty Companies

Fidelity National Home Warranty, Tara Wells



Home Inspectors

Nev-Cal, George Wolf


Alpine Home Inspections, Phil Kaznowski



Pest Inspectors

Tahoe City Termite


Gold Country Termite



Glen Jobe Appraisal


Alpine Vista Appraisal


Hartley Appraisal