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What is a second mortgage? 5 tips you need to know

In certain circumstances, you may even have to think about getting a second mortgage. This is a mortgage typically taken out by homeowners who need cash for emergency repairs, working capital for business or investments, renovations, funding education, paying for a wedding, or even to consolidate other debts and lines of credit.

Let’s take a closer look at exactly what is a second mortgage, and what it means to you.

An overview of second mortgages

A second mortgage can mean two things: a mortgage you take out on a second home, some refer to literally as a second mortgage, and a mortgage which sits on top of a primary mortgage. The latter is the most accurate use of the term second mortgage, and is what we will be discussing today.

In this sense, a second mortgage is not a mortgage you get on a new home — it’s actually a secondary mortgage that you can take out on your existing property.

Second mortgages extract equity from a home, which allows homeowners to access capital when they need it. The basic form of second mortgage comes in the form of an lump sum loan.

With a standard equity loan, you can borrow up to 85 percent of the value of your home in major cities in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario. For most other cities in Canada, the maximum is typically 80 percent.

Over time, you will pay off the entirety of the loan and the interest, much like you would with a car loan. Regardless of the loan option you pursue, you should make sure you understand all the intricacies of second mortgages before getting started.

How a second mortgage works

What is a second mortgage and how does it work? As we mentioned above, a second mortgage is a secondary loan you can take out on top of your current home mortgage. They are typically held by a different mortgage lender than the one who lent you your primary mortgage. Getting a second mortgage enables you to access equity from your home without making any changes to your primary mortgage.

The distinction between primary and secondary mortgages is an important factor to keep in mind. Rather than simply increasing the principal of your initial mortgage loan, second mortgages have their own terms, rates and rules, which means you pay it off independently of your primary mortgage. When you get a second mortgage, you will continue to pay your primary mortgage, along with additional mortgage payments for your new loan.

Before you can apply for a second mortgage, you will need to find out how much equity you have in your home, your home’s value, and your credit score. All of these details will affect your ability to secure a second mortgage, and they also influence second mortgage rates and terms.

Next, you will need to shop around for the best rates from various banks and lenders. As always, it’s best to partner with a knowledgeable mortgage professional who tailor a loan product to your specific needs.

TALK WITH AN EXPERT 866-243-2207

After choosing a lender, you will fill out an application for a second mortgage. If you are approved, you can review the terms of your loan before signing an agreement.

In many ways, applying for a second mortgage is similar to applying for a primary mortgage. A major difference, however, is that second mortgage rates are typically higher than those associated with primary mortgages. This is because lenders that offer second mortgages typically have to assume more risk of delinquent payments or loan defaults.

The higher interest rate is also a result of the primary loan taking precedence over the secondary one. For example, should there be a forfeiture, the secondary lender will only get money after the primary one is paid in full. This makes secondary lending riskier.

Second mortgages can range greatly, but a borrower with good equity and credit history could get a 6.99% or 7.99% rate. While this may seem high, it’s low compared to most unsecured credit lines and credit cards

Below you will find some tips when it comes to second mortgages:

Tip #1 – Second mortgages are commonly used for…

Individuals and families may face a variety of circumstances that might lead them to consider a second mortgage loan. Generally, those who apply for a second mortgage do so out of necessity because they need capital quickly. In the interest of freeing up financial resources from home equity, they will assume the higher rates that come along with a second mortgage.

The following are some of the most common reasons people apply for second mortgages in Canada:

  • Working Capital: Getting access to your home equity is a primary funding method for those looking for working capital. This can include opening a new business or funding a current one, investing in businesses, retirement, or real estate, and any other forms of investing that requires a lump sum of capital.
  • Debt consolidation: If you have several loans and lines of credit from various lenders, banks or agencies, the payments, loan terms and interest rates may overwhelm you. When you have to concern yourself with numerous loans, you may be more likely to miss payments or pay excessive amounts of interest. A second mortgage loan allows you to pay off debts and consolidate loansinto one manageable mortgage agreement.
  • Renovations and repairs: It is common for home appliances and roofs to fail unexpectedly and necessitate emergency repairs. This kind of work on your home can be costly, and you might not have much time to save money for the repair. In other situations, you may simply want to make an improvement to the appearance or function of your home. Whatever the reasons, a second mortgage could allow you to finance these improvements.
  • Avoiding high penalties: Finally, a common use for a second mortgage is people who may have a first mortgage with a low rate locked in, and their penalty is high to break in order to access funds. It is far cheaper to get a 1-2 year second mortgage than pay a high breakage fee. This can provide access to funds for debt relief or investment capital. When the first mortgage matures, the two loans can then be blended into one.

Tip #2 – Helps those with bad credit

One of the top benefits of second mortgages is that it is possible to get one even if your credit history is mediocre or poor.

If you have paid off a significant amount of your primary mortgage loan, you have a record of making consistent and on-time payments and you have a lot of equity in your home, a lender may overlook your credit score (within reason) and approve you for a second mortgage.

Because a lender evaluates your suitability for a loan based on your equity and track record with your primary mortgage, you may even have an easier time getting a second mortgage than you would a standard loan—assuming you have been making your payments on time and you have plenty of equity.

Second mortgages are also a great way to clean up bad debt, such as high interest consumer debt, debt that is in collections, or even tax arrears.

Tip #3 – Private lenders are often more flexible

All federally regulated banks must operate within certain laws and guidelines. These rules reduce risk for the lender, but they often cause them to overlook reliable borrowers simply due to minor disqualifications.

Because every person is different, it’s important to ensure that your case is examined individually so that you have the best chance of getting the loan you need at a fair rate. To accomplish this, your best course of action can be to work with a private lender.

A private lender is a business—rather than a traditional bank or financial institution—who agrees to finance your loan. In the past, private lending was equated with individuals loaning out money at high interest rates. Although some still do this, private lenders include professional organizations, like CMI, who can offer a variety of loan products at competitive rates.

Tip #4 – Common costs associated

As with any loan, you may be subject to additional fees, including closing, legal, and appraisal fees.

When it’s all said and done, you may be on the hook for several thousands of dollars worth of fees, so make sure you know what to expect from your lender before you sign anything. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced broker who can guide you in the right direction.

TALK WITH AN EXPERT 866-243-2207

Tip #5 – Know how to find a second mortgage (talk to a professional)

Financial choices are not always totally clear, and it’s important that you examine all the options available to you to determine which decision is best for you and your family.

As a general rule, you should not make a big decision about your finances if you feel pressured or rushed. That said, you are considering a second mortgage because you are in a tough financial spot, and likely need some quick cash. This why it’s so important your partner with a knowledgeable and reputable broker to help guide you through the process in a timely manner.

Considering that there are so many different factors at play when it comes to second mortgages, you also shouldn’t attempt this process on your own. Look for guidance from a mortgage professional who you trust and who is looking out for your best interests.

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Shadow Lending Growing as Canadians Chase Housing Dream

Mortgage broker Samantha Brookes is trying to figure out how to get one of her clients out of a housing-fueled debt hole.

The couple, a 59-year-old Toronto city worker and her husband, 58, have so much debt that they stopped making payments on the C$410,000 ($318,000) mortgage for their suburban home. They wanted to refinance but regulations imposed last year will disqualify them. In a few weeks, they won’t even qualify for an uninsured loan at an alternative lender as more rules come into effect.

They opted for a third route: adding a second mortgage with an interest rate of 10.5 percent to pay off their debt. Their salvation came from a private unregulated lender, a move many other Canadians are making as the government tries to rein in a home-price surge that’s driven household debt to a record. But like a giant game of Whac-A-Mole, the risk to the financial system from tapped out borrowers is merely shifting — this time to a market where there’s no oversight from the country’s national bank regulator and new stress-test rules don’t apply.

“We’re transferring risk from the regulated segment to the unregulated segment of the market,” Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, said by phone from Toronto. “If we have a significant correction, clearly the unregulated markets will suffer even more because that’s where the first casualties would be. And then you will see it elsewhere.”

Erik Hertzberg / Bloomberg

Brookes says more than 90 percent of her business in the last two months has been lining up funding from non-bank and private sources, or shadow banks — versus a 50-50 mix previously. “People aren’t going to stop buying, they’ll just find different ways of doing it.”

For the government, it may be a case of careful what you wish for. Anxious to prevent a repeat of the kind of taxpayer-funded bank bailouts that occurred in the U.S. after its housing crash a decade ago, the federal government has been moving to reduce its exposure to the mortgage-insurance market.

Read More: Canada’s Bank Regulator Toughens Mortgage Qualifying Rules

Rules last year added a stress test for insured loans backed by the government. That sent more buyers to the uninsured space, where a 20 percent down payment is required. As of Jan. 1, these borrowers will also need to qualify at a rate two percentage points higher than their offered rate, a move which could lower mortgage creation by as much as 15 percent, Canada’s bank regulator has said.

Earlier changes have already had a dramatic effect. Uninsured mortgages made up about three-quarters of new loans at federally regulated banks this year, up from two-thirds in 2014, according to the Bank of Canada. Roughly 90 percent of new mortgages in Toronto and Vancouver this year are now uninsured, in part because government insurance is forbidden on homes priced over C$1 million ($780,000) and prices have risen, the bank said.

Initial Bite

On the one hand, taxpayer risk has dropped as insured mortgage origination fell 17 percent in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, the bank said in its semi-annual financial system review. About 49 percent of all outstanding mortgages are now uninsured, up from 36 percent five years ago. The credit quality of some of the loans at the big banks have also improved as borrowers buy less expensive homes, the Bank of Canada said.

The rules, along with other measures such as a foreign-purchase tax, have had an initial bite — with Toronto house prices falling 8.8 percent from May to November and the average price of a home posting the first annual drop since 2009. Vancouver prices have reclaimed new heights after cooling earlier this year.

But the risks to the financial system haven’t gone away. In the uninsured space, mortgages are increasingly going to highly indebted households and for amortizations for longer than 25 years, the central bank said. And like Brookes’s clients drowning in house debt, more borrowers are turning to lenders whose activities fall outside federal regulatory scope.

These include credit unions and mortgage-investment corporations, pools of money from individual shareholders, which aren’t subject to the new rules, Tal said. Credit unions hold about 17 percent of uninsured mortgages, according to the Bank of Canada.

‘Sub-Optimal’

Canada’s patchwork regulatory system also doesn’t encourage comfort, Tal said. Banks are regulated by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, but credit unions and brokerages are overseen provincially. Mortgage-finance companies are semi-regulated, and MICs and other private lenders are unregulated.

MICs currently make up about 10 percent of mortgage transaction volume, or 6 percent of dollar volume, according to research from Tal at CIBC said. Transaction volume will likely grow to about 14 percent under the new rules, and in the event of defaults in a housing correction, those MIC investors would be open to losses, he said.

“Anything over 10 percent is sub-optimal,” he said. “You don’t want this market to be too big because you don’t want to increase the blind spots.”

Sound underwriting is an important element in maintaining a strong and stable Canadian financial system and OSFI will continue to monitor the country’s housing and mortgage markets under the new rules, Annik Faucher, spokeswoman for Ottawa-based organization said in an email.

Need Solutions

Like her clients, Brookes said borrowers will get creative to get around the new rules. Options include companies like Alta West Capital, Fisgard Asset Management Corp. and Brookstreet Mortgage Investment Corp. or just a wealthy individual willing to lend at interest rates starting around 12 percent.

Fisgard didn’t respond to request for comment, Brookstreet declined to comment while Chuck McKitrick, chief executive officer at Calgary-based Alta West said MICs are regulated by the country’s securities commissions and various real estate bodies.

“We’re scrutinized a hundred different ways,” said McKitrick. “There’s very little difference between us and other regulated entities.”

Despite the expectation that MICs will see more business, McKitrick said the big financial institutions will adapt to new regulations to keep lending. Shawn Stillman, a mortgage broker at Mortgage Outlet Inc., said banks could lower their mortgage rates so homebuyers would still qualify under the new stress-test rules.

“The bank doesn’t care because they’re still going to make their fees and get their money,” Stillman said by phone from Toronto.

Alta West predominantly lends to entrepreneurs and new Canadians, groups that typically have a harder time getting a mortgage at one of the big banks. Its rate of mortgages in arrears is about 2 percent, he said. That compares with about 0.2 percent at the big banks and about 0.4 percent for the credit unions, according to data compiled by the Canadian Credit Union Association.

“People need solutions — it could be temporary, but at least they have a home over their head,” Brookes said.

Source: Bloomberg.com – By Allison McNeely and Katia Dmitrieva 

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Can’t Get a Bank Mortgage? How Do Private Mortgages Work?

Not everyone can qualify for a mortgage these days. Government regulations targeting down payments, investment properties and high-ratio buyers mean that more Canadians won’t qualify for a home loan.

It’s often said that housing is the bedrock of the Canadian economy. But for years, federal regulations have clamped down on the ability to qualify for a mortgage. The self-employed, individuals living in rural areas and those with past credit troubles have long struggled with home financing. Now that struggle is extending to other segments of the population.

Against this backdrop, more and more Canadians are turning to private mortgage lenders for their home financing needs. Although many borrowers think of private mortgages as a last-resort option, they are a viable option for many people.

Private Mortgage Lenders Operate Differently from Banks

A private mortgage is simply a home loan offered by an individual or company other than a bank or traditional finance provider.

One of the biggest benefits of working with a private lender is they operate differently from traditional banks on many levels. Since they get their money through individual investors or groups of investors, they have the freedom to set their own lending criteria. This means they are more flexible in the application process and don’t have to deal with the stringent guidelines set forth by the major institutions. This means that if your situation falls outside conventional lending guidelines, a private mortgage could be your best bet.

Private mortgages are often suitable if you:

  • Are self-employed
  • Want to purchase raw land or unique property
  • Have less than ideal credit
  • Want to invest in real estate
  • Need access to equity in your home, but don’t want to refinance your first bank mortgage due to excessive penalties
  • Need to consolidate high interest rate debt
  • Are looking to renovate existing property
  • Looking for a short-term loan

How Private Mortgages Work

If you’re exploring a private mortgage, the first step is to seek out a broker who provides alternative lending services. The broker will assess your situation and determine if you are eligible for a loan. In particular, they will assess your ability to make the loan payments on time.

From there, the broker will then search for the best mortgage solution that meets your specific needs. They will then structure the deal and put in place an exit strategy so that you know how long the private mortgage will last.

It’s important to note that private lenders usually lend on location. That’s because private mortgages are uninsured, which means the lender falls back on the property should a default occur. That’s why location of the property is extremely vital in determining whether you qualify for a private mortgage and the rate that you’re offered.

Broker fees and legal fees generally apply when securing a private mortgage.

Private mortgages are growing in popularity as more borrowers fall outside the traditional lending guidelines set forth by the major banks. The good news is there are plenty of options for those looking for an alternative lending solution to finance their next property or major purchase.

Source: Canada Mortgages Inc. – 1 September, 2017 / by Sam Bourgi

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