PA second mortgage typically refers to a secured loan (or mortgage) that is subordinate to another loan against the same property. Second mortgages are subordinate because, if the loan goes into default, the first mortgage gets paid off first before the second mortgage. Thus, second mortgages are riskier for lenders and thus generally come with a higher interest rate than first mortgages.
In real estate, a property can have multiple loans or liens against it. The loan which is registered with county or city registry first is called the first mortgage or first position trust deed. The lien registered second is called the second mortgage. A property can have a third or even fourth mortgage, but those are rarer.
In most cases, a second mortgage takes the form of a home equity loan and the two are synonymous, from a financial standpoint. The difference in terminology is that a mortgage traditionally refers to the legal lien instrument, rather than the debt itself.
The term length of a second mortgage varies. Terms can last up to 30 years on second mortgages, though repayment may be required in as little as one year depending on the loan structure.
When someone wants to make changes, upgrade their home or pay off any bills, they have two choices – to take out a second mortgage or to refinance the existing mortgage. To do either, there needs to be enough equity in the home. Equity is what the home is worth minus what is still owed. Mortgage lenders and banks will generally only loan an amount that is less than or equal to the equity. Depending on the homeowner’s credit, he may qualify to borrow 100 percent of the equity, or he may be restricted by a loan to value amount. Common loan to value amounts are 80/20 and 75/25. This means the bank will loan you 80 percent, or 75 percent, of the value of the equity in the home. So if you had $100,000 equity in your home, you could expect to be able to borrow $75,000 or $80,000 with a second mortgage or home equity loan.
Interest rates differ for each type of loan and rates change often. When a homeowner is determining whether to take out a second mortgage or refinance, he should check the interest rates and the fees for each type of loan. Refinancing includes closing costs and may, depending on the loan, carry points that will need to be paid up front, as does getting a second mortgage.
There are some benefits to refinancing. If national interest rates are lower, the homeowner may be able to refinance with a lower interest rate. A refinanced mortgage is less risky than a second mortgage, so will generally have a lower interest rate. A second mortgage is an entirely separate loan, presenting another monthly bill and another check to be written at bill paying time.
Should the homeowner be foreclosed on because he is paying only one of the loans, he may have to keep paying the second mortgage or home equity loan while the primary loan is being foreclosed on. Also, depending on state laws, the homeowner may still be responsible for the second mortgage after his property is auctioned off, as the first mortgage takes precedence at an auction sale.
Depending on the homeowner’s situation, a refinance may be better than a second mortgage – or vice versa. Only the homeowner can make that decision, and he should be sure to take into consideration the requirements for refinancing or a second mortgage, including interest rates, how the loan will be paid and the amount of money available (loan to value) for a second mortgage or refinance.
DISADVANTAGES OF A SECOND HOME MORTGAGE:
The main disadvantage with second mortgages is that you are risking your home by using one. This is a serious risk: if you can’t pay the loan back, a second mortgage can be catastrophic. Make sure that your intended use of funds is worth the risk you’re taking by using a second mortgage.
Another drawback is that second mortgages have slightly higher rates than senior mortgage rates. This is because the second mortgage won’t be paid until the first one is (in the event of a default). Because the loan is riskier than a plain-vanilla mortgage, the rate is higher. However, the rate may be lower than alternative sources like credit cards.
Finally, you may have to pay hefty second mortgage fees. There are a lot of hoops to jump through and services to pay for. Depending on how much you need and how long you’ll need it, a second mortgage may not work simply because of the fees.