By Allison Herrera

Effective Dec. 15, Freddie Mac will begin accepting ownership of two- to four-unit properties — aka duplexes, triplexes or quadplexes — as relevant experience for all loans in its Optigo® Small Balance Loans (SBL) program. Previously, Freddie Mac defined multifamily experience as controlling ownership of a property with at least five units or more and excluded two- to four-unit properties.

By expanding their borrower experience definition, Freddie’s SBL program increases opportunities for investors who focus on small multifamily housing to grow their portfolios by accessing financing outside of banks.

What Qualifies as Experience?

Here’s what you should know. Freddie Mac expanded their definition of multifamily experience to include borrowers who have a portfolio of two- to four-unit properties that meet the following criteria:

  • The borrower must own at least 10 units total
  • The borrower must have owned each property for at least two years
  • The borrower must have a controlling interest in all 10 units
  • The 10 units do not need to be contiguous or located in the same county

The new requirements provide investors access to agency debt when beginning to invest in larger properties, such as those with five to 50 units, rather than continuing to rely on a bank. Non-recourse financing provided by Freddie Mac allows borrowers to only put up the property as collateral, unlike banks who regularly require personal assets in addition to the property as collateral. This allows borrowers the ability to scale their portfolios faster as they do not have contingent liabilities on their balance sheet and free up access to capital.

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