Why Duplex Down Payments Are Like Shoe Sizes

big shoes, little feetI often get asked, “What’s the down payment on a duplex these days?”

I never have an answer.

The reason is duplex down payments are like shoes: one size doesn’t fit all.

I suppose I could offer generalities; 3.5 percent down if you’re an owner occupant using FHA and 20-25 percent if you’re an investor. But that’s a little like looking at your foot from afar and saying you need a size 8 when you failed to tell me you have seven toes.

In that case, you probably would need a bigger shoe, right?

The amount of a down payment depends on a number of things; what your credit score is, what your debt ratios are, how many loans you already have, whether or not the property is occupied, how much rental income a property generates, what program or lender you’re planning to use and any number of other factors.

In other words, the best way to find out what kind of down payment you as an individual will need to buy one or more duplexes, is to speak with a reputable loan officer in your area. He or she can then look at your specific situation, and make recommendations as to the type of financing that’s best for your situation.

It’s a good idea to speak with a loan officer before you begin your duplex hunt anyway; it will help both you and your Realtor avoid wasted time and energy.