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Now I'm trying to do a refi on the Buffalo house, and they're telling me that I can't claim a duplex as a "second home", and I have to declare it an "investment property" even though I still occupy the lower.
That is not a tax issue. That is a financing, and perhaps insurance issue - aggravated, perhaps, by recent developments. They have different requirements for principal residences, and other property.
I don't know why it wouldn't be a 2nd home, either, except that as it's partly rented, they have to treat it as a rental property for theie own reasons.

It does not affect your schedule E, or your state tax situation at all.

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