Things You Need to Know about a 2nd Mortgage

When people think of a 2nd mortgage they usually think of a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), but there are many types of 2nd mortgage products that are offered by lenders.

When purchasing a home, borrowers with good credit, steady, long-term employment and provable income can usually qualify for a first mortgage such as a 30 year fixed rate mortgage loan from a reputable bank or lender. Most lenders, however, will not lend more than 80% of the purchase price and unless the borrower has sufficient funds for a down payment, this can cause a problem and eventually not allow the borrower to purchase the home or property they desire.

Banks and lending institutions offer fixed rate 2nd mortgage products to borrowers with excellent credit ratings to help them to bridge the gap between first mortgage amount and the purchase price. This is sometimes referred to as “gap” lending. Most banks, however, do not allow the total loan-to-value ration (LTV) to be more than 90% or 95%, which means that the borrower will have to come up with at least 5% to 10% of their own money to complete the transaction. This is usually known as the down payment. Banks are extremely tight at the present moment with money lending and regulations are strictly enforced. Lending institutions are requiring borrowers to prove the source of their down payment money and they usually require “seasoning” which means that the money has to have been sitting in the borrower’s account for a certain number of months, sometimes up to a year or more, depending on the lender.

Many times when the bank does not wish to give the borrower a 2nd mortgage, a motivated seller will provide his own 2nd mortgage. This is known in the industry as a “seller carry-back” and is a 2nd mortgage loan that the seller makes directly to the borrower. The seller will register a legal lien based on the signed 2nd mortgage documents and the borrower will make monthly payments directly to the seller. If the borrower defaults on their payments, the seller will have certain legal rights to foreclose, just like a lending institution of bank.

The most common type of 2nd mortgage is, of course, the Home Equity Line of Credit. This HELOC product is offered by most banks and is usually offered to homeowners with excellent credit histories and sufficient equity in their properties. LTV ratios are usually low, less than 70% allowed, but rates can be very attractive. Most of these 2nd mortgage HELOCS are for 10 year terms, with interest only payments and a balloon payment due at the end of the 10 years. Borrowers make payments only on the portion of the HELOC actually used. In the past banks would provide HELOC customers with a checkbook, but these days it is usually a debit card. Homeowners can then use this money to make repairs, remodel, or pay off credit cards.

The preceding has been a summary of available 2nd mortgage products. Please check with your bank or lending institution for more options.