A second mortgage can also be referred to as a home equity loan. It is in essence a secured loan that is second, or subordinate, to the first mortgage against the property. The key issue for anyone getting this type of loan is the amount of equity they have in their home. This will ultimately determine the amount of money that can be secured for the home owners use.
Equity is the amount of money that is paid down on the home, or it can be the value of the home minus any loans owed on the home. The main reason for taking out a second mortgage is to take equity from your home and turn it into cash in pocket. What this means is that if you have enough equity in your home you can borrow money using your home as collateral. There are three basic types of loans to choose from: the traditional second mortgage, a home equity loan, or a home equity line of credit.
A second mortgage should not be confused with a mortgage refinance or re-mortgage. When you refinance your first mortgage you are replacing your old loan with a new loan, usually at a better interest rate. A second mortgage, or home equity loan, is another loan in addition to the primary loan, which will result in two monthly payments. It is important to distinguish the two to make sure that two payments will not seriously affect your monthly budget.
The interest paid on a second mortgage, up to the first $100,000 borrowed, is tax deductible provided that the loan is on your primary residence. It should be noted that interest rates on home equity loans are generally higher than a first mortgage, usually in the 2-4% higher range. But the interest rate on a this type of secured loan will be lower then on an unsecured loan, such as a car loan, and much, much lower then you will find on a credit card.
The common reasons to get a home equity loan are to pay off high interest credit cards or other higher interest rate debts, refurbishing the home, urgent family matters such as education, medical, etc. This is called debt consolidation and refinancing and is a good way to tap the asset value of your home to meet your investment and budget needs, and helps you avoid incurring high interest unsecured debt like credit cards. If you have extensive credit card debt, and are not making progress in paying it off on a monthly schedule, a second mortgage may be a good move.
There are a couple of things that anyone getting a home equity second mortgage should be aware of. A second mortgage puts a second charge on your home, meaning that the second mortgage provider can take a share of any proceeds if your home has to be sold. What is worse, if you pay the first mortgage but fail to pay the second, that mortgage provider can seize your home, even if the sum involved is relatively small.
Getting a second mortgage home equity loan can be a good way to use the equity in your home to do any number of things. Like all financial decisions using a second home loan should be carefully considered in all aspects. If it makes sense and fits within the monthly budget then it is something to be strongly considered.