heloc vs 2nd mortgage

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Most HELOCs are second mortgages. An increasing number, however, are first mortgages, as yours would be if you used it to refinance your existing first mortgage. Using a HELOC as a substitute for a first mortgage can save a lot of money in the short-run, but is very risky. See Take a Flyer With a HELOC?

The Differences between a Home Equity Line and a Second Mortgage. The primary difference between a home equity line of credit and a second mortgage is the way the funds are distributed. A second mortgage is always distributed as a lump-sum payment.

Many people consider using their home equity to finance large financial needs, but mortgage industry jargon has confused the meaning of certain terms – including second mortgage home equity loan and home equity line of credit (HELOC). A second loan, or mortgage, against your house will either be a home equity loan, which is a lump-sum loan with a fixed term and rate, or a HELOC, which features variable rates and continuing access to funds.

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Before opening a second mortgage and considering the HELOC vs. home equity loan decision, it’s important to identify your financial situation and whether such an action is feasible. Taking out a home equity loan to cover extra home maintenance expenses could help you knock out many costs in a shorter amount of time than you predicted.

The term HELOC is not interchangeable with the term "second mortgage." A "first" or "second" mortgage only refers to the loan’s claim position, not its terms. 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.

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Additional Second Mortgage Uses. In addition to getting around PMI payments, some other common reasons people get a second mortgage include: consolidate other higher interest debts into a single lower interest payments; creating a home equity line of credit (HELOC) home repairs & improvements