The Rise of the Second Mortgage

Posted on 27th January 2020
Tags: mortgage rates, home equity, lines of credit, second mortgages, home equity line of credit, second mortgage, second mortgages help, carbon footprint, ecological improvements, primary mortgage, resale value, tax benefit,

It used to be that the three long term commitments in a person’s life were their job, their marriage, and their mortgage. Over the years there has been a decline in the job-for-life ethos and social change has meant people may live together for many years without getting married. The mortgage, however, has stayed relatively similar to how it was, aside from the continuing cycle of rate changes.

What has become increasingly common is homeowners utilizing a second mortgage, either for a fixed sum or line of credit, for personal or property-based reasons.

How Second Mortgages Work

Primary (or “First”) mortgages are a straightforward concept, you borrow a lump sum to purchase a property and pay back the loan, with interest, using the house as a guarantee. A second mortgage takes a more refined approach.

A second mortgage is levied against the equity that has accrued in your property over time. The equity increases in value in several ways; it increases as you pay off your primary mortgage, as the real estate market grows in strength, and when you improve the property’s value through regular maintenance and improvements.

While a primary mortgage is a fixed amount lump sum, secondary mortgages can offer an additional line-of-credit option. With a line of credit, you make the same basic agreement with a lender, a total amount versus the equity value in your property, but you do not have to take the whole sum. Instead, it can be used as a fund that you draw upon as and when needed up to the maximum agreed with the lender.

With both types of loan, fixed and credit, lenders will determine your equity value and then allow you to borrow up to a certain percentage of it, usually topping out at around 80%. This is to protect lenders and borrowers from changes in the market and personal circumstances.

Second Mortgage Rates

Both the lump sum and credit options come with the expected rate options; fixed or variable. While there are many lenders, with many different options, the general rule of thumb is for lump sum loans to include a fixed rate option and for line-of-credit loans to be based on variable rates.

It is also worth noting that interest rates on secondary loans are higher than those on primary loans. This is to protect lenders in the event of foreclosure. If you have a primary mortgage with one lender, and a second with another, the primary mortgage gets paid off first by the foreclosure, with anything remaining going towards the secondary loan.

As with any kind of loan be prepared to do some extensive reading on the proposed fees and penalties associated with your loan. These can run the gamut from paying for credit checks in advance of a loan being approved, right through to closing fees at the end of the loan’s schedule or for early repayment.

What Second Mortgages Are For

As noted above one of the factors in increasing equity value is repairs and improvements to a property.

The core idea of borrowing to make these kinds of improvements is raising the value of your property by a sufficient amount that makes repayment of the loan easier when the time comes to sell. There can also be ancillary benefits to making ecological improvements to a property. Reducing the carbon footprint, or raising the energy profile, of a property can have a tax-deductible benefit to it. This varies across provinces, but it is worth considering if a loan for these alterations could have a tax benefit for you.

A second mortgage can also provide more personal support in the form of debt consolidation. Access to a lump sum can allow borrowers to pay off multiple debts and reduce the total amount of interest they are paying on those debts. By focusing the debt in this way, it becomes more manageable, the risk of defaulting any particular loan is reduced, and a continual series of on-time payments can improve your credit score.

Choosing a Second Mortgage Product

Second mortgages are no different to primary in that there is a great diversity of products available for lenders to choose between. Each with a different set of rates, schedules, penalties, and small print clauses. Borrowers want to get the best deal they can, one that matches their needs, but the sheer breadth of choice can be overwhelming.

At we have a dedicated team of experts who have decades of experience connecting borrowers to the products that fit their needs and expectations. They can do this because they work independently of any lending organization. They are not being incentivized to sell you a specific product, they work with you to find the right product for you.

Whatever your circumstances, whatever your reasons for considering a second mortgage, contact today to start exploring your options with one of our experts.

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