A second mortgage is similar in some respects to a HELOC as they use your home’s equity as collateral. The primary difference is how you receive the payment of your loan. A second mortgage is a lump sum, whereas the HELOC is a line of credit.

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A second mortgage works the same as a first mortgage, allowing a borrower to take out a lump sum of money and then make monthly payments to pay it back. You can use the second mortgage to make repairs on your house, to consolidate your bills, or to help with the down payment on the first mortgage to avoid needing to pay PMI.

HELOCs and home equity loans are often referred to as "second" mortgages because there is usually another mortgage against the property when they are taken out. Indeed, HELOCs and home equity loans generally carry higher mortgage interest rates because it’s assumed that they will be in second position, and therefore riskier to the lender.

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Home Equity Loan or Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) Second mortgages come in two basic forms: home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, or HELOC. They typically offer higher interest rates than primary mortgages because the lender assumes greater risk – in the event of foreclosure, the primary mortgage will be repaid before any seconds.

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What is a Home Equity Loan? A home equity loan – also known as a second mortgage, term loan or equity loan – is when a mortgage lender lets a homeowner borrow money against the equity in his or her home. If you haven’t already paid off your first mortgage, a home equity loan or second mortgage is paid every month on top of the mortgage you already pay, hence the name “second mortgage.”

Q: Second mortgage, HELOC or refinance – what’s your advice? A: "Generally most people take out a second mortgage for several factors. It could be to do home repairs, debt consolidation, help out with college funds, or just to have a safety net for any unexpected expenses.

One of the biggest differences between a second mortgage and a HELOC is the way the money is dispersed. If you get a second mortgage, you will receive the entire loan amount in one lump sum.

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