How Many Mortgages Can You Have?

In standard real estate transactions – such as buying a primary residence – homebuyers apply for a traditional mortgage as part of the process. This process usually involves tedious rounds of vetting by both parties. The homebuyer contacts multiple lenders to “shop rates” and the lenders do their due diligence on the buyer as part of the qualification process. It’s a pretty straightforward process (albeit painstaking and time-consuming at times.

While obtaining a conventional mortgage for a single property is ultimately fairly simple for buyers who have a good credit score and decent finances, have you ever considered how many mortgages you can have? In this guide, I’ll discuss the answer to this question and give you some thoughts on how/why you can obtain multiple mortgages.

The Maximum Mortgage Limit

After the housing crisis of 2008-2009, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), loosened its requirements on how many mortgages an individual can have in their name as a way of spurring economic activity and helping the economy recover. (At the same time, the requirements for qualifying for these mortgages increased on a lender-to-lender basis to ensure loans were only being given to those who truly qualified.) Fannie Mae increased the allowable number of conventionally financed properties from four to 10. 

Theoretically, borrowers have the ability to take on up to 10 conventional mortgages at a time. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily qualify. And even if you do qualify, it doesn’t automatically mean you should take on this amount of debt. 

The process for obtaining multiple mortgages can be challenging – especially after you pass the threshold of having four mortgages to your name. Having said that, there are situations where it makes smart financial sense. Let’s discuss further.

Advantages of Having Multiple Mortgages

Having multiple mortgages to your name can certainly offer its benefits. These include:

  • Minimal cash requirements. Even as interest rates have risen over the past year, we’re still at historical lows when compared to decades gone by. This makes it a great time to borrow money, rather than burning through all of your cash. With mortgages, you can put down as little as three percent (depending on situational factors) and closing costs. 
  • Leverage equity. As you build equity in a property, you can leverage this money to begin paying for another mortgage through something like a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or home equity loan. This is a great way to tap into a property without actually selling it.
  • Tax benefits. There are major tax benefits associated with owning real estate – particularly when it comes to writing off mortgage interest. And if it’s an investment property, you can also depreciate the home. The more properties you own, the bigger your tax benefits.

While most personal finance professionals would discourage the average individual from obtaining more than a couple of mortgages for their own personal use, it’s difficult to deny the role multiple mortgages can play in building an investment portfolio. This is where the power of leverage can really shine through. However, with a limit of 10 mortgages allowed by Fannie Mae, you’ll eventually have to get more creative and work with private money lenders, business partners, or even crowdsourcing to scale beyond this point.

Disadvantages of Having Multiple Mortgages

While you’re allowed to have multiple mortgages, this doesn’t always mean you should. There are some disadvantages as well, including:

  • Debt. The obvious con is the debt. As you add multiple mortgages, you also become responsible for multiple payments. Owing on three, five, or 10 mortgages at a time gets very expensive. You have to make sure you’re able to cash flow this amount of debt.
  • Risk. There’s a certain level of risk that comes with having mortgages on multiple properties. If you become unable to make payments, for any reason, you’ll still be on the hook for all of the mortgage payments on these properties. This could lead to foreclosure, which would eviscerate your credit score and make future investing more difficult.
  • High rates. While mortgages are great for purchasing a primary residence (and maybe one or two investment properties), it’s not always the ideal option when building a portfolio. Lenders may charge higher interest rates and implement stricter requirements when you have multiple properties to your name. As a result, you may end up paying far more than you would if you used alternative methods (like raising private money).

As you consider adding multiple mortgages to your name, make sure you take all of these factors into account. There are pros and cons – weigh them against one another.

Qualifying For Multiple Mortgages

Just because you can qualify for up to 10 mortgages, doesn’t mean you’re automatically cleared to take on this many notes. The mortgage qualification process is much more thorough today than it was before the housing crisis. Here’s some of what’s required:

  • 1-4 Mortgages. It’s not extremely difficult to qualify for up to four mortgages, assuming you have healthy financial metrics in place. Mortgage lenders will want to see proof of income, a credit score of at least 670 to 740, an LTV ratio of up to 80 percent, statements of assets and debts, financial information on existing properties owned, and information regarding current mortgages.
  • 5-10 Mortgages. The process of qualifying for five to 10 mortgages is much more stringent. You’ll need to provide proof of income for the last two years (showing income from any properties you own) and have a minimum credit score of 720. You’ll also need a minimum down payment of 25 percent for a single-family home and a minimum of 30 percent down for a multi-family property. Furthermore, you can’t have any late mortgage payments within the past year, cash reserves to cover at least six months of payments, and zero bankruptcies/foreclosures on your record within the previous seven years.

Every situation is unique. For some individuals, obtaining 10 mortgages is simply a matter of providing the right documentation and being patient. For others, their finances preclude them from getting more than one or two mortgages. It all comes down to personal factors and circumstances, which is why it’s important to work with experienced mortgage brokers who can help you understand your options.

Build Your Real Estate Portfolio With InvestNet

It’s easy to make the case for real estate investing – even when you compare it to more traditional forms of investing, like stocks. However, building a portfolio often requires a great deal of creativity on the financing side of things. At InvestNet, our experienced team of real estate investors can help you find the right properties and investment opportunities. Contact us today to learn more!

Sky Richardson
Sky Richardson
Sky is a copywriter and wordsmith for growing brands, personalities, and influencers, with a focus in email marketing and direct response. He's penned words for high-growth startups, small businesses, TEDx speakers, and 8-figure corporations on publications ranging from Forbes and AdWeek to Nasdaq and Financial Advisor Magazine. He has a passion for finance, investing, and simplifying wealth building for others. Visit to learn more.