By financen | February 16, 2012 - 9:35 am - Posted in Mortgage

It may not be true for everyone, but for most people a second mortgage is a bad idea. Finance companies also call them home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. They do have benefits if used properly, but there is a lot of downside to them as well.

Unlike traditional home loans and first time buyers Mortgages, a second mortgage is a loan taken out on a home that already has a mortgage.

This is easier to do today than in the past because customer-hungry loan companies are devising new ways to create business. Therefore, the companies have been allowing second mortgages that take the total of both loans up to 125 percent of the value of the home. That is where the first problem begins.

When the total of your mortgages is more than the value of your house, you are ‘under water’ in the home. In other words, if you have to sell it, you will not get enough money out of it to pay your home loans off. For most people, this means living there for many more years if they can afford to, or if not, suffering a foreclosure.

Another problem is that it is harder to get any other kind of loan such as an auto loan. This, among other things, is because the loan may max you out on your available credit. Your debt-to-income ratio may be too high, meaning you do not have enough income to qualify for more credit until you pay the mortgages down. First time buyer mortgages are also hard to get if you have too much debt.

  • Who Owns Your Mortgaged Home?

Until you pay it in full, the provider of your first home loan owns the house. If you fail to pay the provider, it can foreclose on it and take it back. When you get a home equity loan, that provider now has a loan on the house as well and it can take the house from you too.

However, to do that, the loan company would have to pay off your first loan. If you owe too much money for the company to do that, it may decide to sue you instead.

  • How a Second Mortgage Makes Life Tougher

Obviously, a home equity line of credit is one more monthly payment you have to make. While you think you can easily make it now, a time may come when it becomes a burden. By then, it may be too late. The problem worsens with the next issue – not having the ability to refinance your house.

If you are thinking you can just refinance your house to get out of the problem, you are probably wrong. It may be three or more years after you take out the second mortgage before you can refinance. That allows time to build enough equity again to get a new loan.

Of course, as with all credit, interest is a big issue. It is even more money out of your pocket that you could be using for other things such as retirement funds. Additionally, every loan has fees and those take awhile to overcome, even with a low interest rate.

Second mortgages are not all bad, as long as you know what you are up against. It may be better to take one out and pay off credit cards rather than to pay high interest rates. If you do, just be sure you do not acquire the same debt again, or you will double your trouble.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 9:35 am and is filed under Mortgage. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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