Monthly Archives: September 2018

Used During the Mortgage Process

APR – This stands for Annual Percentage Rate. It enables you to compare the full cost of the mortgage. Rather than just being an interest rate, it includes up front and ongoing costs of taking out a mortgage. The formula for calculating APR is set by Government Regulations and therefore enables direct comparison of the cost of mortgages.

Capital and Interest Mortgage – This is when part of your monthly payment contributes to paying off the outstanding mortgage in addition to paying the interest on the mortgage. The payments are structured so that at the end of the term, your mortgage will have been completely paid off. For this reason this type of mortgage is also called a Repayment Mortgage.

Capped Rate – This is a mortgage where the lender agrees that the interest charged will never exceed a specific percentage. This deal lasts for a set period of years. After the set period, the rate usually reverts to the lenders standard variable rate. During the capped period, the interest charges can move up and down with the lenders interest rate – but cannot exceed the capped rate.

Cashback – An amount, either fixed or a percentage of a mortgage, which you can opt to receive when you complete your mortgage. The lender may well claw back this money through a higher interest rate.

CAT marks/standards – CAT stands for Fair Charges, Easy Access and decent Terms. They were created by the Government in an attempt to provide consumers with simple, clear financial products with straightforward, easy to understand terms. A CAT mortgage will have no arrangement fees, no redemption fees and will have interest calculated daily. It will also have a minimum loan of just £5000, offer you repayment flexibility and the mortgage should be portable should you move home. Finally, you will not have to buy the lender’s insurance products and there will be no penalties should you find yourself in arrears but can subsequently catch up.

Completion – This is end of the house buying process, when the funds are transferred and the keys are handed over. Happy moving!

Contract – A contract is a binding agreement between the buyer and seller. In the context of house buying, after the contract is signed by both the buyer and the seller it is then ‘exchanged’ between the respective solicitors for a set completion date. At that point, the contract is legally binding on both parties.

Conveyancing – This is the legal process in which property is bought and sold. You can do it yourself or hire a solicitor or specialised conveyancer to perform the tasks for you. The buying of a freehold is much less complicated than the buying of a leasehold.

Discounted Rate – This is where the lender makes a guaranteed reduction off the standard variable rate for an agreed period of time. After the discounted period ends, the mortgage usually moves to the lenders’ standard variable rate. Watch out for redemption penalties that overhang the initial discount period.

Early Redemption Charges – Redemption is when the borrower pays off the capital and the interest on the mortgage and thus owns the property outright. Early redemption fees are the charges incurred for paying off the mortgage early, either to buy the house outright, move or re-mortgage. Always ask about early redemption charges before you agree a mortgage.

Endowment – Endowments are life assurance policies with an investment element designed to pay off the outstanding capital on an interest-only mortgage. There are a few types of endowments, such as ‘with profits’, ‘unitised with profits’ and ‘unit-linked’. In the 1980s, these were sold by salesman who seemly suggested that these policies were “guaranteed” to pay off the mortgage at the end of the term. However, the investment returns on these policies have fallen to below what was previously considered to be the norm. Consequently, many policies are not worth what was originally forecast and may not fully repay the money borrowed at the end of the mortgages’ term.

Equity – In housing terminology, equity is the difference between the value of the property and the money owed on the property. So if the property is valued at £200,000 and you owe £150,000 on the mortgage, you have equity of £50,000. If you sold at that moment, you would receive £50,000. Should the value of the home be less than the mortgage outstanding then you have negative equity.

Freehold – Owning the freehold means that you own the total rights to the property and the land on which it is built.

HLC – This is the Higher Lending Charge (it was previously known as a Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee). It is levied by around three quarters of all lenders on clients who cannot afford to put down a deposit of 10% of the price of the property. In practice it is a type of insurance aimed at protecting the lender should you default on your mortgage when the value of your home is less than the capital you borrowed. The insurance only provides cover for the lender, not you, and typically costs £1,500.

Homebuyers Report – A property survey aimed at providing more information than a mortgage valuation but less information than a full structural survey. It will help the borrower to decide whether to purchase and help the lender to decide how much to lend.

Interest Only Mortgage – This is a mortgage where your monthly repayments only pay the interest on the mortgage. Therefore, at the end of the mortgage you still have to repay the full sum you borrowed. You are advised to have a separate investment vehicle into which you make payments aimed at building up a fund capable of paying off the mortgage capital at the end of the term. Typical investments include ISA’s, a pension or an endowment policy.

IFAs – Stands for Independent Financial Advisor. These advisors are regulated by the Financial Services Authority. To be classified as “independent” they have to be able to offer you the full range of products from all financial product providers. They are not entitled to describe themselves as “independent” if they can only offer products from a restricted panel of financial companies. A Financial Advisor can be one man band or work for very large companies. Before they make any recommendation, an IFA must carry out a detailed fact find so they fully understand your financial circumstances. They can then make their recommendations to suit your personal circumstances.

ISA – An ISA is an Individual Savings Account, which is a tax-free method of owning shares, building up a cash savings account or a life assurance policy. You can use an ISA to build up a capital sum to repay an interest only mortgage.

Leasehold – If your property is leasehold, ownership of the property reverts to the Freeholder at a set date. Many houses were originally sold on 999 year leases which means that 999 years after the initial date of the Leasehold, ownership of the property reverts to the Freeholder. Building in multiple occupation such as apartments, are always sold on a leasehold and usually have a much shorter leasehold period – 100 and 125 years is quite common. Often, with a block of apartments, the apartment owners individually own the leaseholds whilst a management company, in which they hold shares, owns the freehold. These days, however, leaseholders who live in the property have the legal right to buy their freehold under terms laid down by UK law.

Life Insurance – This can also be called Term Insurance or, when specifically linked to proprty purchase, as Mortgage Protection Insurance. It is designed to pay a tax free lump sum in the event of your death to enable your mortgage to be repaid in full. There are a number of variants such as Level Term Life Insurance and Decreasing Term Life Insurance. At the outset you take out insurance for the full sum you have borrowed from your mortgage lender and for the same number of years as you have agreed on your mortgage. These insurance policies do not have any investment or surrender value. The premiums are based on a number of factors – the main ones being the amount of cover you need, your age, health and how many years you want to be insured for.

Lock-In Period – This is the minimum period you have agreed to stay with the lender. Depending on the deal, it could be as low as six months up to the whole of the term. Should you wish to repay the mortgage or remortgage during the lock-in period, you will invariably have to pay redemption penalties. Always make sure you know how long you are locked in for with your mortgage.

LTV – Literally means Loan to Value. This is a measurement of the mortgage amount against the value of the property or the price that you are actually paying. A £157,500 mortgage on a property for which you paid £175,000 would be a LTV of 90%. Lenders tend to charge a Mortgage Indemnity Premium on mortgages with a loan to value of anything about 75%. Some don’t so ask about this.

MIG – This has now changed its name to HLC. See above.

Mortgage – A mortgage is a long-term loan taken out in order to buy a property with repayment secured on that property. So if you don’t keep to the repayment terms, the lender can repossess the property, sell it and retain the money they are owed. Any balance is then paid to you. If the property is sold for less than you owe your lender, you still remain liable to repay the shortfall.

Mortgage Advisor – On October 31st 2004 the selling of mortgages in the UK came under the remit of the City watchdog, The Financial Services Authority (FSA). As from that date any person providing mortgage advice had to be registered with the FSA and abide by its rules of conduct, methods of operating and training programmes etc. The objective has been to improve life for the consumer by offering better protection, clear information and access to redress for poor advice.

Negative Equity – Negative equity is when the value of your home is less than the amount that you owe on your mortgage plus any other loans secured against it. It can happen very easily if you take out a 100% mortgage or if property prices fall. (Also see Higher Lending Charge)

Portable – This is a measure of how easy it is to move a mortgage from one property to another should a property move be required. This is vital if you are moving during your lock-in-period and wish to avoid redemption penalties.

Repayment Mortgage – This is the same as a Capital and Interest mortgage – see above.

Searches – During the conveyancing process, the buyer has to be sure that the seller has title to the property and identify any matters may affect the prospective owners ownership of the property. For example, whether the property is affected by any proposed road building, whether there are preservation orders affecting the property, is it a listed building and has it been built in accordance with planning conditions and building regulations. Searches will also show whether there are mines under or close by the property. This information is obtained by the person undertaking the conveyancing from HM Land Registry and the relevant Local Authority. These investigations are collectively known as “Searches”.

Self-Certification – Should you have difficulty in providing documentation that “proves” your income to a prospective mortgage lender, you may need a self-certification mortgage. In essence you personally certify what your full income is. If you receive high bonuses, or work seasonally or on commission, or are self-employed this may be your best option. You declare your income plus some evidence that your declaration is reasonable. Ideally lenders want to see as much guaranteed income as possible. To compensate the lender for the increased risk they are taking on a self-certified mortgage, they will charge you a higher rate interest, typically 1% over their standard variable rate.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (commonly known simply as Stamp Duty) – You pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on property like houses, flats, other buildings and land. If the purchase price is £120,000 or less, you don’t pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax. If the price is more than £120,000, you pay between one and four per cent of the whole purchase price, on a sliding scale.

Upto £120,000 – No duty payable

£120,001 to £250,000 – 1% duty payable*

£250,001 to £500,000 – 3% duty payable

£500,001 and over – 4% duty payable

*If you’re buying a property an area designated by the government as ‘disadvantaged’, you don’t pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax if the purchase price is £150,000 or less.

Did you know? Stamp Duty was originally introduced by William of Orange when he was King of England.

Structural Survey – The most thorough report you can get on the condition of the property you are considering to buy. The surveyor will look in detail at the inside and outside of the property and will tell you if the property is structurally sound. All major and minor defects in the building will also be listed and should tell you what maintenance work may be needed either now or in the future. You should make sure the scope of the survey is agreed in writing before you commission it. Should the survey identify problems, use them to negotiate a reduction in the price before you exchange contracts.

Variable Rate – This is when the interest rate you pay on your mortgage can go up or down depending on changes to the lender’s standard variable rate. If you have a variable rate mortgage your monthly mortgage payments will change whenever the lender changes the interest rate.

Valuation – This is where a valuer appointed by your proposed lender, visits the property in order to estimate its current value. This value is then used by the lender as a basis for its security and to calculate its Loan to Value Ratio. The borrower never sees the valuation. With some mortgage deals the lender absorbs the cost of the valuation but in many cases the borrower has to pay upfront.

Exclusive Mortgage Lead Info Guide

Before understanding all about exclusive mortgage leads we will first try to define mortgage leads and then we will proceed further. This article will provide you with all the basics that you need to know about exclusive mortgage leads with its advantages and will help you identify the differences between exclusive mortgage leads and Non-exclusive mortgage leads.

Mortgage is generally defined as a method of using property as security for the payment of a debt. Many mortgage lead generators are available in the market either online or offline to help mortgage consumers to pay their debt. So, the mortgage consumer will browse through the net for internet mortgage lead generators using search engines. By filling up a normal mortgage form, the mortgage consumer’s details will be passed on to the mortgage lenders who are willing to lend loans. The mortgage lenders will then sort those leads and get in touch with the mortgage consumers for loans. Among the various mortgage lead generators available nowadays finding the right place really would be tiring. But it is advisable to go through many companies offering mortgage leads and then settle on one reputed mortgage lead generator and mortgage lender.

The true definition of exclusive mortgage leads is defined as the leads that are only sold once to a mortgage lender. When mortgage consumers buy mortgage leads on exclusive basis, the same leads will not be sold to any other mortgage lead generators or mortgage lenders. A great writer once said “East or West, home is the best”. It is human nature that all of us would like to own a beautiful home. For some it’s easy but to most others it may seem to be the ripe grapes. Hence the prime motive of these mortgage lead companies is that, they will help those disabled to fulfill their dream.

In common, when a prospective homeowner approaches a mortgage lender for a mortgage loan, she will be asked to fill up a ‘Form of request’ for the loan, Known as the ‘Mortgage lead’. After carefully assessing the application and if it qualifies, the mortgage lender approves the loan. Since this is time consuming, people seek the help of mortgage lead generators to develop the lead and submit it to the mortgage lender. Hence in this way, the process of mortgage lead generator to send the mortgage lead form signed by the mortgage consumer to only one appropriate mortgage lender for mortgage loan is called as Exclusive mortgage leads.

Let us now look at some differences between exclusive mortgage leads and non-exclusive mortgage leads. Based on the advantages and disadvantages of exclusive mortgage leads, the following points are some benefits and main differences from that of non-exclusive mortgage leads.

  • The benefit of exclusive mortgage leads is that the mortgage consumer will face only less competition making the close rates higher than other leads. But in non-exclusive mortgage leads the competition is higher.
  • The data is shared only with one mortgage lender and hence the mortgage consumer has no choice to select some other mortgage lender if it’s an exclusive mortgage lead program. Coming to Non-exclusive mortgage leads the mortgage consumer’s details are shared with many mortgage lenders so that the consumers will have more options to choose from.
  • Non-exclusive mortgage leads are less expensive than exclusive mortgage leads but the confidentiality ratio is high in exclusive mortgage leads than non-exclusive mortgage lead. Hence to conclude if the mortgage consumer has a good credit profile, the chances of his or her dream home coming true are greater. Exclusive mortgage leads are a gateway through which mortgage lead generators and mortgage lenders build their business and reputation.

Mortgage Refinancing Questions

Mortgage Refinancing is way to replace the existing mortgage with another mortgage. The replacement can happen with the current mortgage lender or a different mortgage lender. Mortgage Lenders created numerous mortgage options which add to the complexities of mortgage. Here are a collection of common questions and answers about mortgage refinancing.

What are the steps to mortgage refinancing?

First, you analyze your current financial situation. This tells how well your financial situation. After, you shop for the best mortgage. Most mortgage lenders have a website. Borrowers can research on the internet. Once the borrower found an advantageous mortgage, the borrower applies for the mortgage refinancing.

How to choose the right mortgage lender, or mortgage broker for mortgage refinancing?

The mortgage lenders differ in mortgage options such as interest rates, mortgage terms, down payment, closing costs, and more. To choose the right mortgage lender requires many mortgage refinance calculations and considerations.

What do I need to complete mortgage refinancing application?

Borrowers need to supply the full names, current addresses, previous addresses, social security numbers, employers information, gross monthly income, property information, asset information, and liabilities information.

When should you do mortgage refinancing?

The life of the mortgage is divided into several mortgage terms. When the mortgage matures at the end mortgage term, the borrower refinances the mortgage. This process is repeated until the mortgage is completely paid out.

The borrower does not necessarily have to wait for the maturity date of the mortgage. Sometimes, the mortgage lender offers a mortgage that is too good to pass. When mortgage lender offers a very good mortgage, the borrower can refinance the mortgage.
If the new mortgage can reduce the life of the mortgage, and reduce the mortgage payment on pay period, it is advantageous for the borrower to refinance the mortgage.

What are the costs involve in mortgage refinancing?

The borrower may have to pay the penalty to refinance a mortgage before the mortgage reaches the end of the mortgage term. Since the mortgage lender loses the interest to be paid to them, the mortgage lender charges penalty. However, a low interest rate on the new mortgage may offset the penalty.

The borrower can pay for the discount points as well. It is the amount to bring down the monthly mortgage payment, or any mortgage payment. Each discount points means one percent.

Using A Reverse Mortgage

Alternatives to Long Term Care Insurance: Using a Reverse Mortgage and Other Methods to Pay for Long-term Care Costs

Because long-term care insurance requires you to be in good health, this planning option is not available to everyone, especially older applicants for whom the premiums may also be prohibitive. If you are at least 62 years of age and you own your home, you could use a reverse mortgage to pay for care at home or for a long-term care insurance policy that otherwise may be unaffordable.

A reverse mortgage is a means of borrowing money from the amount you have already paid for your house. You are freeing up money that would otherwise only be available to you if you sold the house. You can stay in the house until you die, without making monthly payments. The loan is repaid when the borrower dies or sells the home. The balance of the equity in the home will go to the homeowner’s estate.

Payments can be received monthly, in a lump sum or the money can be used as a line of credit. The funds received from a reverse mortgage are tax-free.

While the eligibility age is 62, it is best to wait until your early 70’s or later. The older the borrower, the larger the amount of equity available. There are maximum limits set by the federal government each year as to how much of the equity can be borrowed. Usually only about 50% of the value of the home is made available in the form of a reverse mortgage.

You can use the funds from a reverse mortgage to cover the cost of home-health care. Because the loan must be repaid if you cease to live in the home, long-term care outside the home can’t be paid for with a reverse equity mortgage unless a co-owner of the property who qualifies continues to live in the home.

Use Your Home to Stay at Home Program
The National Council on the Aging, with the support of both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is laying the groundwork for a powerful public-private partnership to increase the use of reverse mortgages to help pay for long-term care. The ultimate goal of the Use Your Home to Stay at Home(TM) program is to increase the appropriate use of reverse mortgages so that millions of homeowners can tap home equity to pay for long-term care services or insurance.

Reverse Mortgages Can Help with Long-Term Care Expenses, Study Says

A new study by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) shows that using reverse mortgages to pay for long-term care at home has real potential in addressing what remains a serious problem for many older Americans and their families.

In 2000, the nation spent $123 billion a year on long-term care for those age 65 and older, with the amount likely to double in the next 30 years. Nearly half of those expenses are paid out of pocket by individuals and only 3 percent are paid for by private insurance; government health programs pay the rest.

According to the study, of the 13.2 million who are candidates for reverse mortgages, about 5.2 million are either already receiving Medicaid or are at financial risk of needing Medicaid if they were faced with paying the high cost of long-term care at home. This economically vulnerable segment of the nation’s older population would be able to get $309 billion in total from reverse mortgages that could help pay for long-term care. These results are based on data from the 2000 University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study.

“There’s been a lot of speculation whether reverse mortgages could be part of the solution to the nation’s long-term care financing dilemma,” said NCOA President and CEO James Firman. “It’s clear that reverse mortgages have significant potential to help many seniors to pay for long term care services at home.”

According to the study, out of the nearly 28 million households age 62 and older, some 13.2 million are good candidates for reverse mortgages.

“We’ve found that seniors who are good candidates for a reverse mortgage could get, on average, $72,128. These funds could be used to pay for a wide range of direct services to help seniors age in place, including home care, respite care or for retrofitting their homes,” said Project Manager Barbara Stucki, Ph.D. “Using reverse mortgages for many can mean the difference between staying at home or going to a nursing home.”

Seniors can choose to take the cash from a reverse mortgage as a lump sum, in a line of credit or in monthly payments. If they choose a lump sum, for example, they could pay to retrofit their home to make kitchens and bathrooms safer and more accessible – especially important to those who are becoming frail and in danger of falling. If they choose a line of credit or monthly payments, an average reverse mortgage candidate could use the funds to pay for nearly three years of daily home health care, over six years of adult day care five days a week, or to help family caregivers with out-of-pocket expenses and weekly respite care for 14 years. They could also use it to purchase long-term care insurance if they qualify.

“Up until now, though, most of these seniors have not tapped the equity in their homes — estimated at some $1.9 trillion — to pay for either preventive maintenance or for services at home,” noted Peter Bell, executive director of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. Noting that the average income of men aged 65 and over is $28,000 and $15,000 for women, he added, “This study shows that unlocking these resources can help millions of ‘house rich, cash poor’ seniors purchase the long-term care services they feel best suit their needs.”

What is it about Reverse Mortgages that instills apprehension in some Older Americans?

Fears persist despite the enthusiastic endorsement of groups such as AARP and the National Council on Aging.

A major reason is likely to be the fact that a lot of misinformation has been circulating about this very attractive financial tool for those that qualify. Older Americans often consult friends and relatives who are likely to be misinformed themselves.

Since the Reverse Mortgage can be a beneficial and safe alternative for Older Americans, it’s important to correct the major misconceptions associated with them and allow older homeowners to make an informed decision about whether a Reverse Mortgage makes sense for them.

Probably the most common misconception is ” If I obtain a reverse mortgage I might lose my home”. I frequently hear this when I’m advising elders about planning options related to long-term care. The fact is that the federal government requires that the home must stay in the name of the borrowers only. Since the Reverse Mortgage is a mortgage, a lien is placed on the property like all other mortgages. This assures that the lender will eventually be repaid but for only the amount owed which is principle, interests, and closing costs, just like any other mortgage.

The great advantage of this type of mortgage is that -unlike traditional mortgages-there are no monthly payments. Not having to worry about monthly bills has to be one of the greatest gifts one could wish for in retirement.

More than ninety-five (95) percent of Reverse Mortgages approved are the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loans. These loans are guaranteed the full protection of the United States Government through use of a two (2) percent insurance fee paid on all FHA Reverse mortgages.

Another misconception is that Reverse Mortgages are costlier than other mortgages. The truth is that closing costs average only about one (1) percent more than a traditional FHA mortgage would be on the same property. The Reverse Mortgage may even be lower in cost due to the fact that conventional mortgages can charge more than the two (2) percent origination fee allowed on all Reverse Mortgages.

Another cost factor is of course, the interest rate. The FHA Reverse Mortgage interest rate is based on the one (1) year United States Treasury note instead of the prime rate, which most conventional mortgages use as their base. This gives the FHA Reverse Mortgage an interest rate LOWER than most adjustable conventional mortgages.

Another myth about reverse mortgages is that the home goes to the lender after the loan becomes due at death or when the last survivor permanently leaves the home. In my experience, the loan amount of approved is generally about half of the appraised value of the home. (The older the homeowner, the greater the amount available for borrowing because it’s assumed that the funds will be available for a shorter period.

All of the equity left after payment to the lender, goes to the estate or heirs of the borrower. This is exactly the same procedure followed with regular conventional mortgages.

Since the Reverse Mortgage is a “non-recourse” loan the most the estate will be required to pay to the lender is the value of the home at the time of repayment. This is true even if the home value decreased or the borrower lived to an unusually old age.

Another attractive feature of this financing tool is that the requirements for getting a Reverse Mortgage are not nearly as restrictive as other loans. Since no re-payment is made as long as one (1) surviving borrower remains in the home, there are NO income or credit requirements. Another requirement is that both spouses must be sixty-two (62) or older with no upper age restriction. The only other requirement is that the borrowers alone must own the home with no others on the deed. The home may also be in a revocable trust as long as the eligible borrowers are the only trustees.

All property types are Reverse Mortgage eligible except manufactured (mobile) homes built before June 15, 1976 and co-operatives (Co-ops). Co-ops are expected to be eligible in the future when FHA issues final approval. Homes with existing mortgages that can be paid from the equity can obtain Reverse Mortgages.

Still another misconception is that a Reverse Mortgage is taxable and affects Social Security and Medicare. That is NOT the case. Reverse Mortgage proceeds are not taxable because they are not considered income but is, in fact, a loan.

It should be noted that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid might be affected if you exceed certain liquid asset amounts. We can show you how to structure the loan so that a Reverse Mortgage will not affect these benefits.

Now that the myths of Reverse Mortgage have been removed, a qualified homeowner may ask, how can I get more comprehensive information? Is your local bank the answer? Only a few lenders have been approved for participation by the federal department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the program. Most local and regional banks do not offer Reverse Mortgages.

AARP, the Federal National Mortgage Association, American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Council On Aging provide consumer information about reverse mortgages. The ABA passed a resolution supporting Reverse Mortgages in August of 1995.

Second Mortgage

Opting for a second mortgage is a decision which warrants a great deal of consideration. Before entering into a second mortgage, homeowners should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of taking on a second mortgage and should also carefully review the different options available. A second mortgage is often enticing because these closed-end loans can be used for any purpose and may even be tax deductible but caution should be exercised because defaulting on these loans can put the home under which the second mortgage was secured in jeopardy.

The Benefits of a Second Mortgage

We have already stressed the importance of carefully weighing the available options in deciding whether or not to take on a second mortgage. In this section we will outline the benefits of a second mortgage. Although a second mortgage may increase the amount the homeowner pays in the long run, there are other worthwhile benefits to this type of mortgage. Some of these benefits include:

· Debt consolidation

· Tax advantages

· Home improvement possibilities

· Favorable interest rates

Debt consolidation is just one of the many advantages to a second mortgage. A second mortgage is typically secured based on the equity in the home but it can often be used for any purpose. This gives homeowners the opportunity to consolidate several debts including high interest credit card debt, under the umbrella of a second mortgage. Debt consolidation can greatly increase monthly savings by allowing the homeowner to repay high interest debt at the lower interest rate associated with the second mortgage.

There are also tax advantages to securing a second mortgage. As we mentioned credit card debt and other debts may be consolidated under a second mortgage. This is beneficial because tax laws may enable the homeowner to deduct the interest on their second mortgage.

The opportunity to make improvements to the home also exists with a second mortgage. As previously mentioned, a second mortgage can be used for a variety of purposes. Many homeowners take out a home equity line of credit which enables them to cash out on the equity of their home for purposes such as home improvement.

Finally, favorable interest rates are another reason for homeowners to opt for a second mortgage. In making this decision the homeowner should calculate the cost of taking out the second mortgage and compare this cost to the long terms savings potential. If the long term savings potential exceeds the cost of the second mortgage, it is a worthwhile investment.

Types of Second Mortgages

In making the decision to take out a second mortgage there are two main options which homeowners should consider. The most popular types of second mortgage include a home equity line of credit or a closed-end second mortgage. In this section we will explain these two options.

A home equity line of credit is essentially a revolving line of credit which enables the homeowner to take advantage of the equity in his home. The maximum amount for this credit line is usually based on a percentage of the appraisal value, usually 75%-85%, of the home minus the balance remaining on the original mortgage. Home equity loans are ideal for homeowners who wish to have a revolving credit line at their disposal and who are secure in using their home as collateral in securing this loan.

The significant difference between a closed-end second mortgage and a home equity line of credit is the closed-end mortgage offers a fixed loan amount to be repaid over a fixed amount of time while the homeowners can withdraw additional funds from the home equity line of credit whenever there is existing equity in the home. The closed-end second mortgage is ideal for homeowners with a one time specific need for funds.

Considerations before Taking on a Second Mortgage

We have discussed the benefits of a second mortgage and the types of mortgages available but homeowners should also evaluate the risks of taking out a second mortgage. Some of these risks include:

· Losing the home if the second mortgage is not repaid

· The costs of taking out a second mortgage

· Prepayment penalties

Perhaps one of the greatest risks of a second mortgage is the threat of losing the home if the mortgage is not repaid in a timely fashion. It is important to remember the collateral for a second mortgage is often the home itself. Becoming default on the second mortgage can result in loss of the home.

There are certain expenses associated with taking out a second mortgage. These costs may include application fee, loan origination fees, appraisal fee, survey costs, home inspection fees, title fees, homeowner’s insurance and mortgage insurance. These fees could be equal to 3%-10% of the outstanding principal on the first mortgage. Before investing in a second mortgage, the homeowner should ensure the overall cost savings of the second mortgage will exceed the fees associated with taking out the second mortgage.