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How Does a Second Mortgage Work?

February 23, 2010

Author: Allison K.Watkins

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A second mortgage can be an excellent way for many people to pay for tuition, home remodeling, debt consolidation, vacation or to purchase a brand new car. Below you will find valuable information about how second mortgages work.

What is a Second Mortgage Loan?

A second mortgage is another name for a home equity loan, because it is the amount of equity that you have in your home that qualifies you for the loan. A second mortgage loan is a loan that is taken out on your property that already has one mortgage.

What is Equity?

Equity is simply the amount of ownership value you as the homeowner has in your property versus the amount that is mortgaged. Let’s say your home is appraised for $425,000 and you owe $400,000 to a mortgage company, the equity in your home is $25,000, which would be the maximum amount of money that you can borrow on your second mortgage loan.

Two Types of Rates

There are two types of mortgage rates. Some second mortgages may either offer fixed rate interest or adjustable interest. A fixed rate loan, have a set rate of interest that does not change regardless of what the going interest rate is. It stays the same throughout the life of the loan. On the other hand the adjustable rate loans vary over time. Adjustable rate offer lower rates but only for a limited time. Adjustable rates are more risky because you can end up getting a much higher rate after the fixed rate period has ended. Make sure that your bank clarifies which one they are offering you and make sure that you fully understand the terms and conditions.

Understanding Second Mortgage Loans

The second mortgage loans are called subordinates; this means that in the event of a default after your property is sold the first mortgage is paid off completely before the second mortgage can be paid. However, if there is not enough money from the sale of the home, the second mortgage does not get paid. This loan comes with a much higher interest rate because it is riskier for lenders.

How can I Qualify for a Second Mortgage Loans?

To qualify for a second mortgage loan, a second mortgage lender will make sure that you have a significant amount of equity in your home, a high credit score, a low debt-to-income ratio and an excellent employment history, among others. Before moving forward with taking out a second mortgage loan, make sure you know all the important details regarding your loan before signing the application

Are there any Risks Involved in taking out a Second Mortgage Loan?

Taking out a second mortgage loan is risky because it can lead to foreclosure if you default on your loan. In the event that you default on your loan, the second mortgage lender will purchase the first mortgage then forecloses, leaving you to lose your home to the second mortgage lender.

Although a second mortgage is easier to obtain than other loans, make sure you take the time to weigh all the benefits and disadvantages before you take out this loan. Knowing all the important details about your second mortgage will help you make a decision that you can live with.

6 Responses to “How Does a Second Mortgage Work?”

  1. Good post how will a foreclosure work with a second mortgage?


  2. Here says:

    Ah! This is great! Thanks for putting to rest a few confusion I had heard regarding this lately.


  3. [...] How does a second mortgage work? You are thinking about taking out a second mortgage what are the Pros and Cons. [...]

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  5. Getting a second mortgage is an excellent way to release equity from your property. However, more and more people are finding getting a second mortgage more and more difficult since the equity in people’s homes has declined. However, people with low mortgages can still release equity this way.


  6. susan cook says:

    Do you have to pay second mortgage if you lost the house?


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