The Facts About Second Mortgages
By Joseph Kenny
Your home: It's probably your biggest asset. Having a home to back you up when you need a loan is one of the greatest advantages of home ownership. In recent years, there has been a major increase in the amount of people looking to use their homes as a way to get access to extra money when they need it most. One of the best ways to do this is through a second mortgage.
A second mortgage is exactly what it says it is - a loan made in addition to your first mortgage, and it's based on the amount of equity you have built into your home. Many people use them to fund home renovations, to pay off credit cards, or to put a child through college. Since you've already been through the process once, the underwriting required to get a second mortgage is much simpler than it was the first time around, and the cost of the transactions involved will be significantly lower. This usually makes up for the fact that interest rates on the second mortgage are a bit higher than they were on the first one.
On a second mortgage, you will borrow a fixed sum of money against your home equity, and pay it back over a specified amount of time. The amount you borrow will be combined with the amount you still owe on your first mortgage.
It all sounds pretty simple. There are just a few things to keep in mind. First of all, don't take out a second mortgage on your home unless you've built up a fair amount of equity in the property already- that is, made payments on the original mortgage balance for a good amount of time. You may still be able to get a second mortgage if you don't have much equity, but your rates will be so much higher, and the amount you can borrow so much lower, that it will essentially be a waste of your time and money. This is one of those things that is worth waiting for.
Also, look into the other options of borrowing against the equity of your home, including a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit. All of these options allow you to borrow against your equity, but there are slight variations among them that mean one of the three may be the best option for you. It will depend, for the most part, on your particular financial standing, the amount of money you need to borrow, and the amount of home equity you currently have.