February 21, 2024

Appreciation on properties is predicted to have elevated by round 10% in 2022, in keeping with Realtor.com, with one other anticipated enhance round 5.5% in 2023. For individuals who already personal their residence, that enhance in worth means a rise in fairness.

A second mortgage is one you are taking out towards the fairness in your house. Your current mortgage stays in place and doesn’t change. You need to use a second mortgage to pay for main bills like debt compensation, renovations on your house or placing away cash in direction of your youngster’s future faculty prices. 

Understanding what a second mortgage is and when it’s finest can assist you resolve if this feature is best for you.

What’s a second mortgage?

A second mortgage is a mortgage you are taking out along with your first mortgage. You utilize the fairness in your house as collateral to get the second mortgage. The fairness is the present market worth of your house minus the steadiness in your current mortgage.

Whenever you take out a second mortgage, you now have two residence mortgages and two mortgage funds. Each is perhaps with the identical lender or with completely different lenders. You might be answerable for making each mortgage funds every month in keeping with the phrases of every separate mortgage.

When you default on both mortgage, the default lender could foreclose or take different measures to fulfill the mortgage.

How does a second mortgage work?  

A second mortgage works just like a primary mortgage. You need to full an utility and submit documentation to the lender about your funds and money owed. The lender could require you to get an appraisal on your house that proves the worth.

Borrowing necessities range by lender. Most lenders need the house to have a minimum of 15%-20% fairness out there. You’ll be able to normally borrow as much as 85% of the house’s present worth, minus your first mortgage steadiness. 

There are additionally normally minimal credit score rating necessities of 600 or higher, although some lenders could have decrease necessities. Have in mind, the higher your credit score rating, the higher the rate of interest and compensation phrases. Most lenders additionally wish to see a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or much less.

For instance, if your house is value $400,000 and you continue to owe $250,000, you may doubtlessly borrow as much as $90,000 for a second mortgage ($400,000 x 0.85 – $250,000).

Kinds of second mortgages

There are two essential sorts of second mortgages: a house fairness line of credit score (HELOC) and a house fairness mortgage.

Dwelling fairness line of credit score (HELOC)

A HELOC is just like a bank card. The lender approves a line of credit score based mostly in your out there fairness. You’ll be able to then use the funds as wanted, whether or not you are taking out a lump sum or a number of small quantities over time. This can be the best choice you probably have a long-term residence undertaking with prices due over time or have plans to make use of it sooner or later however aren’t certain when.

A house fairness line of credit score differs from a bank card, nevertheless, due to draw intervals. A draw interval is the timeframe you’ll be able to entry the cash, which is normally 10 years from the time you are taking out the road of credit score.

Throughout the draw interval, you solely should pay again the curiosity, however you’ll be able to pay again extra in order for you. As soon as the draw interval ends, you get extra time, normally as much as 20 years, to pay again the borrower quantity, plus curiosity.

Be sure you perceive the phrases of your HELOC and browse the nice print in your paperwork earlier than making a withdrawal. Ask your lender questions if you could so that you don’t threat having your own home seized for violating your cost phrases.

Dwelling fairness mortgage

With a house fairness mortgage, the lender offers you a proportion of the house’s fairness in a lump sum to make use of nevertheless you need. It’s like your first mortgage, with predictable funds which are unfold out over a set variety of years. Mortgage phrases are typically between 5 and 30 years.

You pay again the house fairness mortgage in month-to-month funds till you repay the mortgage. Similar to your first mortgage, the lender data the lien towards the house. When you don’t repay the mortgage, they will foreclose on the house.

When must you take out a second mortgage?

A second mortgage is a superb resolution for repaying high-interest debt, consolidating a number of money owed into one manageable cost or renovating your house. However you need to think about charges, bills and shutting prices to see if it’s actually value it. You could possibly pay 1000’s of {dollars} upfront to entry the fairness in your house by a second mortgage.

A HELOC gives variable rates of interest, which is normally finest when rates of interest are low. However with rates of interest rising and persevering with to take action, a house fairness mortgage could also be a extra reasonably priced resolution. It offers a set rate of interest and predictable funds.

Each residence fairness loans and HELOCs will be long-term commitments. When you promote your house earlier than you repay your second mortgage, the mortgage steadiness comes due instantly. Any excellent steadiness will decrease what you are taking residence from the sale, even when the renovations don’t enhance the worth of your house.

Second mortgage execs and cons

When you’re contemplating taking out a second mortgage on your house, think about the professionals and cons first.


  • A second mortgage offers a approach to entry the fairness in your house.
  • Rates of interest are decrease than bank cards and private loans.
  • You need to use the funds for any purpose, whether or not enhancing your house, taking a trip or paying for a marriage.
  • You need to use any lender, even when it’s not the identical as your main mortgage.


  • You could possibly lose your house when you don’t pay again a second mortgage.
  • Rates of interest will be greater than refinancing.
  • You may not qualify when you don’t have sufficient fairness or appraisal worth.
  • Second mortgages will be expensive with appraisal charges, credit score checks and shutting prices.

The right way to get a second mortgage

If in case you have fairness in your house, you’ll be able to take these steps to get a second mortgage:

  1. Examine charges. You’ll be able to test second mortgage charges on-line or by particular lenders. Checking charges can assist you get an concept of how a lot curiosity you’ll pay.
  2. Store round. Get quotes from a minimum of three completely different lenders. Take into account getting quotes out of your native financial institution, credit score union, on-line lenders or by a mortgage dealer.
  3. Get your paperwork prepared. Be ready with pay stubs, W2s, tax returns and your present mortgage info. Ask the lender for particular necessities.
  4. Full the applying. Fill out the lender’s utility, ensuring to learn it solely, particularly the nice print so that you perceive the phrases, draw interval when you’re getting a HELOC and compensation phrases.
  5. Use your funds. When you get entry to the fairness, use your funds nevertheless you need.
  6. Do not forget to make funds. Make funds on time and in keeping with your mortgage settlement to keep away from foreclosures.

Second mortgage vs. cash-out refinance

A cash-out refinance differs from a second mortgage as a result of it replaces the unique mortgage with a brand new mortgage as an alternative of including a second lien. The quantity you “money out” is added to the unique mortgage steadiness.

Money-out refinance rates of interest are normally greater than a refinance with out money out, however are decrease than second mortgage rates of interest. You additionally don’t have to fret about two separate mortgage funds with a cash-out refinance.

Since a cash-out refinance is a brand new mortgage, closing prices will be greater than for a second mortgage. Weigh your choices, together with rate of interest, charges and shutting prices, to find out whether or not a second mortgage or money out refinance is finest for you. 

Regularly requested questions (FAQs) 

Can I take advantage of a refinance to repay my second mortgage?

If in case you have sufficient fairness in your house, you need to use a refinance to repay your second mortgage. The refinance mortgage would take the place of each your first and second mortgage, so that you solely have one month-to-month cost as an alternative of two.

Is it a good suggestion to get a second mortgage to repay debt?

It may be a good suggestion to get a second mortgage to repay debt you probably have high-interest debt. However be mindful, bank card debt shouldn’t be secured debt not like a second mortgage, which is secured by your house’s fairness. When you don’t repay your bank cards, the bank card firm can’t come after your house, however when you don’t pay your mortgage your mortgage lender can take your house.

If in case you have debt, you wish to ensure you have a plan in place to keep away from extra debt sooner or later. An app like Quicken could also be an answer. Not solely can you employ it to create a practical finances, however you too can uncover new and smarter methods of saving your cash.

Does a second mortgage harm your credit score?

Whenever you apply for a second mortgage, the lender will do a tough credit score test to search out out your credit score rating and assess your creditworthiness. Your credit score rating and historical past will even decide your second mortgage rate of interest. A number of inquiries from lenders might harm your credit score rating. Not making funds on time, skipping funds or defaulting in your mortgage settlement will even harm your credit score rating.

Are second mortgage charges greater than first mortgage charges?

Second mortgage charges are normally greater than first mortgage charges, although they’re nonetheless decrease than bank card and private mortgage charges. If your own home goes into foreclosures, the second lienholder solely will get paid after the first mortgage holder, which places the second mortgage at greater threat of not being paid in full, driving greater rates of interest.

What’s the distinction between a house fairness mortgage and a second mortgage?

A house fairness mortgage and residential fairness line of credit score are each sorts of second mortgages. Whether or not you get a house fairness mortgage or HELOC, the lender locations a lien towards the house in case of nonpayment. When you fail to pay, the lender can foreclose on the house.