Definition of primary residence

In real estate, a primary residence is considered the dwelling in which a person resides on a full-time basis. This dwelling can be a single-family home, a condominium, a one- to four-unit building or a manufactured home. There can be only one primary residence.

Mailing Address

To determine if a mailing address is the address of a primary or owner-occupied residence, a lender will verify where the property tax bill is mailed to, as this is public record.

Telephone Listing

A copy of a phone bill or other utility bills will give the address of the residence where the phone service is located. If the bill is sent to a different address, then it is not a primary residence.

Insurance Policy

All financed properties are insured. The insurance policy will indicate if the property is a primary residence or a rental property.

Rental Property

Property that is rented out to a third party is not a primary residence because the owner of the property does not live in the dwelling.

Multiple Units

Two-, three- or four-unit dwellings may also be considered a primary residence if the owner of the property occupies, full time, one of the units.

Vacation Home

A vacation home is considered a second home, not a primary residence, because it is not occupied on a full-time basis.

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About the Author

Lynn Star has a BA in Communications, is a 20+ year professional in real estate, tax analysis and preparation, and an in-depth researcher of any topic that catches her interest. She is also an avid do-it-yourselfer in home improvement, crafts and green technologies.

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