Home Equity Mortgage Loans Q&A

Home equity mortgage loans can be very helpful when you need a lot of money to pay for things like a unexpected medical expenses, college tuition or any other large expense. This type of loan is often confused with other more common types of loans, so we will try to demystify it by answering some common questions.

Question: Are there any other names for this type of loan?

Answer: Yes. They are often known as home equity loans, and sometimes as second lien loans.

Question: How does this type of loan work?

Answer: They are made against the equity of your home, reducing the equity in your home. They are always made by the same lender who holds your first mortgage lien.

Question: Do I have to make separate payments for these loans?

Answer: Not necessarily. Second lien loans can be bundled with your first lien payments. Any amount over your first lien payment will automatically be applied to your second lien.

Question: What kind of qualifications are there for this type of loan?

Answer: You must have a good credit history and a reasonable amount of equity in your home to be approved for this type of loan.

Question: How are these loans different from other types of loans?

Answer: These loans come in two varieties. The first is a closed end loan, where you receive a single payment similar to a regular loan. The second variety is an open end loan and acts more like a credit line. You can borrow money at any time up to the limit of the equity in your home.

Question: What are the specifics about a closed end loan?

Answer: You receive one payment after the loan is closed, and no more. The maximum amount you can borrow is 100% of your equity, or more if your lender offers you an over equity loan. This will be determined by your lender based upon your income level, credit history and how much equity you have in your home. The interest has a fixed rate that can be amortized up to 15 years. Depending upon the loan conditions determined by the lender, it may be possible to make balloon payments to reduce the amortization.

Question: What are the specifics of the open end loan?

Answer: Open end loans are sometimes referred to as home equity lines of credit. In essence, you have full control over when and how much you borrow from the loan. The credit limit is usually limited to 100% of your home equity and is computed similar to closed end loans. The interest has a variable rate, and the term may be extended up to 30 years.

Question: Are there any special costs associated with this type of loan?

Answer: Yes. Lenders will commonly add processing fees to home mortgage equity loans.

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