A second mortgage is a loan that is secured by the equity in your home. When you obtain a second mortgage loan the lender will place a lien on your house. This lien will be recorded in 2nd position after your primary or 1st mortgage lender's lien, hence the term second mortgage.
A second mortgage can either be a fixed-rate loan or an adjustable-rate credit line. Interest rates and loan program terms will vary from lender to lender so it is important to shop around and compare before committing to any one offer. A second mortgages are ideal when you just want to tap into your equity, plan to move soon, or are unsure about the amount you want to borrow. Another plus of a second mortgage loan is that the interest you pay back on the loan may be tax deductible. Consult your tax advisor regarding your personal situation but in most cases the interest is 100% fully deductible as long as the combined loan to value of your 1st and 2nd mortgage do not exceed the value of your home. Loan proceeds from a second mortgage loan can be used for just about anything. Many consumers take out 2nd mortgage loans to consolidate debt, do home improvements or pay for their kids college education. Whatever you decide to do with your loan proceeds it is important to remember that if you default on your payment you can lose your home so you will want to make sure that you are taking the loan out for a worthwhile purpose. A second mortgages aren't for everyone. You should weigh the cost of PMI and payments when choosing your financing options. Borrowing more than 80% of your home's value will subject you to private mortgage insurance. Your monthly payments should also be a factor in your decision. By taking out equity when refinancing your home, you will have a lower payment than if you had both a mortgage and 2nd mortgage payment. Also, if you refinance in the future, you will have to pay off your 2nd mortgage.