July 20, 2024
What’s A Second Mortgage & How Does It Work?

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

A second mortgage is one you’re taking out towards the fairness in your house. Your current mortgage stays in place and doesn’t change. You should 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 may help you determine if this selection is best for you.

What’s a second mortgage?

A second mortgage is a mortgage you’re taking out along with your first mortgage. You employ 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.

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

In case you default on both mortgage, the default lender might foreclose or take different measures to fulfill the mortgage.

How does a second mortgage work?  

A second mortgage works just like a primary mortgage. It’s a must to full an utility and submit documentation to the lender about your funds and money owed. The lender might 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 at the least 15%-20% fairness out there. You may 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 might have decrease necessities. Take into account, the higher your credit score rating, the higher the rate of interest and compensation phrases. Most lenders additionally need to see a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or much less.

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

Sorts of second mortgages

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

Residence 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 may then use the funds as wanted, whether or not you’re taking out a lump sum or a number of small quantities over time. This can be the best choice when you’ve got a long-term house venture 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 time-frame you’ll be able to entry the cash, which is normally 10 years from the time you’re taking out the road of credit score.

Through the draw interval, you solely should pay again the curiosity, however you’ll be able to pay again extra if you would like. 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.

Ensure you perceive the phrases of your HELOC and skim the wonderful print in your paperwork earlier than making a withdrawal. Ask your lender questions if it is advisable so that you don’t danger having your home seized for violating your fee phrases.

Residence fairness mortgage

With a house fairness mortgage, the lender provides you a share 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 can be unfold out over a set variety of years. Mortgage phrases are usually between 5 and 30 years.

You pay again the house fairness mortgage in month-to-month funds till you repay the mortgage. Identical to your first mortgage, the lender information the lien towards the house. In case you don’t repay the mortgage, they’ll foreclose on the house.

When do you have to 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 fee or renovating your house. However you must consider charges, bills and shutting prices to see if it’s actually price it. You could possibly pay 1000’s of {dollars} upfront to entry the fairness in your house by way of 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 inexpensive resolution. It gives a set rate of interest and predictable funds.

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

Second mortgage execs and cons

In case you’re contemplating taking out a second mortgage on your house, contemplate the professionals and cons first.


  • A second mortgage gives a strategy to entry the fairness in your house.
  • Rates of interest are decrease than bank cards and private loans.
  • You should use the funds for any motive, whether or not bettering your house, taking a trip or paying for a marriage.
  • You should use any lender, even when it’s not the identical as your major mortgage.


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

get a second mortgage

When you’ve got fairness in your house, you’ll be able to take these steps to get a second mortgage:

  1. Test charges. You may verify second mortgage charges on-line or by way of particular lenders. Checking charges may help you get an concept of how a lot curiosity you’ll pay.
  2. Store round. Get quotes from at the least three completely different lenders. Take into account getting quotes out of your native financial institution, credit score union, on-line lenders or by way of a mortgage dealer.
  3. Get your paperwork prepared. Be ready with pay stubs, W2s, tax returns and your present mortgage data. Ask the lender for particular necessities.
  4. Full the appliance. Fill out the lender’s utility, ensuring to learn it solely, particularly the wonderful print so that you perceive the phrases, draw interval in case 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 response to 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 could 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. 

Steadily requested questions (FAQs) 

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

When you’ve got sufficient fairness in your house, you should utilize 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 fee 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 when you’ve got high-interest debt. However consider, bank card debt will not be secured debt not like a second mortgage, which is secured by your house’s fairness. In case you don’t repay your bank cards, the bank card firm can’t come after your house, however in case you don’t pay your mortgage your mortgage lender can take your house.

When you’ve got debt, you need to be sure to 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 price range, however it’s also possible to uncover new and smarter methods of saving your cash.

Does a second mortgage harm your credit score?

Once you apply for a second mortgage, the lender will do a tough credit score verify to seek out out your credit score rating and assess your creditworthiness. Your credit score rating and historical past may also decide your second mortgage rate of interest. A number of inquiries from lenders may harm your credit score rating. Not making funds on time, skipping funds or defaulting in your mortgage settlement may also 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 home goes into foreclosures, the second lienholder solely will get paid after the first mortgage holder, which places the second mortgage at greater danger 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 forms 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. In case you fail to pay, the lender can foreclose on the house.