Second Mortgage or a HELOC? Which Is Better?

Choosing between a HELOC and a second mortgage can be confusing because both are loans that are attached to your home. Technically speaking, a HELOC and a second mortgage are both second mortgages, because you can only apply for them on top of your primary mortgage…so which is better and how are they different?

HELOC vs Second Mortgage

A HELOC and a second mortgage differs in how they are given by the bank and how they can be repaid. As mentioned earlier, both types of home loans are secured by your home, so it is very important to know how they work and to assess your capacity to pay them to ensure that you don’t end up losing your home.

How Does a HELOC Work?

A HELOC, or home equity line of credit, is a revolving line of credit that can be reused until the set limit is reached for the amount or the time period. Payment for the loan is on top of the primary mortgage and you only have to pay the amount that you use up or took out of the maximum allowable amount.

Because this is a revolving loan, you can re-borrow your paid-for credit until the terms of the HELOC state you can’t anymore. This means that if your HELOC is good for 5 years, you can keep re-borrowing any amount you’ve already paid towards it without the hassle of reapplying for a new loan.

How Does a Second Mortgage Work?

Although a second mortgage is also attached to your home like a HELOC is, the loan is given as a one-time lump sum that you’ll have to pay according to set terms. You won’t be allowed to apply for a new second mortgage until you’ve fully paid your second mortgage.

Because a second mortgage is given as a lump sum, most people who apply for it use it for debt consolidation and/or house deposits. You really have to think a lot and assess your full financial situation before applying for a second mortgage because inability to pay based on agreed terms can make you lose your home.

Is it Smart to Use These Loans as Emergency Funds?

The real answer to this is no. Why? Because with both loans, you’ll end up paying interest and putting your home at risk. Using them as backup cash for something that didn’t happen yet isn’t a good strategy. However, if you’re in a bind now and it can be a few months or more before you can recover, then applying for a HELOC or a second mortgage is a viable option.

Which Is Better?

The best answer for this will depend on your specific circumstances. Just remember that their nature and payment schemes are way different so having a clear idea of your future financial situation is paramount to intelligently choose between a HELOC and second mortgage.

Choosing between financing options can be confusing. This is why you need assistance from mortgage professionals who have a long track record of helping people get approved for loans while making sure that payment terms are doable for you. Contact us today to apply for a second mortgage or apply for a home equity line of credit.

The Smartest Way to Tap Your Home Equity

Tapping your home equity is often the most convenient way to come up with a significant amount of cash in a relatively fast way. There is no need to sell taxable holdings and incur extra taxes and all you need is an approval.

Here are 3 ways to tap your home equity with secondary home loans:

Apply for a Second Mortgage

A second mortgage also goes by home equity loan and is considered to be the most structured among the home loans, more or less mirroring your primary mortgage.

Second mortgages can have a variable or a fixed interest rate with the rate oftentimes higher than the first mortgage. They can have a set term and are often amortized in the beginning. Note that payments are very much like in primary mortgage with the principal and interest listed separately. A second mortgage also can’t be further drawn upon after being issued.

Get a Home Equity Line of Credit

A home equity line of credit, also referred to as a HELOC, is the most flexible secondary home loan in this list. There is often a minimum amount that has to be dispersed although no funds is usually released upon approval because a HELOC acts like a credit card, not a lump sum loan.

When you are approved for a HELOC, you’ll have the flexibility to just withdraw whatever amount you need as long as it does not exceed your limit. Most HELOCs nowadays come with a debit card and/or a checkbook making your life even easier when it comes to accessing your funds. Another feature is that you can avail of future amortization because of this loan type’s structure. Payment isn’t as strict because you can choose to just pay for the interest each month as long as you can pay for your entire balance at the end of the loan term.

Go For a Cash-Out Refinance

A cash-out refinance is different from the two other secondary home loans above because this option doesn’t necessarily involve a second loan. In a cash-out refinance, the homeowner can just refinance the home for a larger sum and get the difference as a cash-out. A downside would be that this type of loan can have really high closing costs depending on several factors.

Tap Your Home Equity in A Smart Way

Don’t forget that failure to pay any of the 3 secondary home loans above will mean losing your home to foreclosure; so choosing an option that fits your ability to pay, and not just your desired amount to borrow is crucial. Amounts that will be granted to you will also be dependent on several factors such as the desirability of your location, your home’s value, and your ability to pay. You’ll have to have an idea of your future cash flow before signing anything. To be on the safe side, it is best if you can consult with refinancing or second mortgage experts before deciding on one.

Need help and more information about the smartest ways to use your home equity? Contact us and we’ll assist you soonest!