Home Equity Loan vs. Mortgage: What's the Difference?

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Home Equity Loans vs. Mortgages: An Overview

Mortgages and location equity loans are some ample loans that usage a location arsenic collateral, aliases backing, for nan debt. This intends that nan lender tin prehend nan location if you don’t support up pinch your repayments. However, location equity loans and mortgages are utilized for different purposes and astatine different stages of nan location buying and homeownership process.

Key Takeaways

  • Mortgages and location equity loans are some ample loans that usage spot collateral.
  • With a location equity loan, nan borrower takes retired a indebtedness erstwhile they already ain nan location and person equity.
  • A location equity indebtedness tin beryllium utilized for a assortment of purposes, specified arsenic paying aesculapian bills aliases backing a renovation.
  • A accepted owe is utilized to bargain a property.
  • Home equity loans are fixed-rate loans, whereas a owe tin beryllium fixed complaint aliases variable.

Investopedia / Sabrina Jiang


A conventional mortgage is erstwhile a financial institution, specified arsenic a slope aliases in installments union, lends money to you to acquisition nan property.

With galore accepted mortgages, nan slope lends as overmuch arsenic 80% of nan home’s appraised worth aliases nan acquisition price, whichever is less. For example, if a location is appraised astatine $200,000, nan borrower would beryllium eligible for a owe of arsenic overmuch arsenic $160,000. The borrower would person to salary nan remaining 20%, aliases $40,000, arsenic a down payment.

In different cases, specified arsenic pinch government-backed indebtedness programs that supply down costs assistance, you whitethorn get a indebtedness for much than 80% of nan appraised value.

Unconventional owe options see Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages, which let you to put arsenic small arsenic 3.5% down arsenic agelong arsenic you salary owe insurance. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), require a 0% down payment.

The liking complaint connected a owe tin beryllium fixed (the aforesaid passim nan word of nan mortgage) aliases adaptable (changing each year, for example). You repay nan magnitude of nan indebtedness positive liking complete a fixed term. The astir communal position for mortgages are 15, 20, aliases 30 years, though location are different terms.

Before getting a mortgage, it's important to shop nan champion owe lenders to find which 1 will springiness you nan champion complaint and indebtedness terms. A mortgage calculator is besides awesome astatine showing really different liking rates and indebtedness position impact your monthly payment.

If you autumn down connected payments, nan lender tin prehend your location done foreclosure. The lender past sells nan home, often astatine an auction, to recoup its money. Should this happen, this owe (known arsenic nan “first” mortgage) takes privilege complete consequent loans made against nan property, specified arsenic a location equity loan (sometimes known arsenic a “second” mortgage) aliases home equity line of in installments (HELOC). The original lender must beryllium paid disconnected successful afloat earlier consequent lenders person immoderate proceeds from a foreclosure sale.

Home Equity Loans

A location equity indebtedness is besides a type of mortgage. However, you return retired a location equity indebtedness erstwhile you already ain nan spot and you person accumulated equity. Lenders mostly limit nan magnitude of a location equity indebtedness to nary much than 80% of nan full worth of your equity.

As nan sanction implies, a location equity indebtedness is secured—that is, guaranteed—by a homeowner’s equity successful nan property, which is nan quality betwixt nan property’s worth and nan existing owe balance. For example, if you beryllium $150,000 connected a location weighted astatine $250,000, you person $100,000 successful equity. Assuming that your credit is bully and that you different qualify, you tin apt return retired an further indebtedness utilizing a portion of that $100,000 equity arsenic collateral.

Like a accepted mortgage, a location equity indebtedness is an installment loan repaid complete a fixed term. Different lenders person different standards arsenic to what percent of a home’s equity they are consenting to lend. Your credit rating helps to pass this decision.

Lenders usage nan loan-to-value (LTV) ratio to find really overmuch money you tin borrow. The LTV ratio is calculated by dividing nan indebtedness by nan appraised worth of nan house. If you paid down a bully woody of their mortgage—or if nan home’s worth has risen significantly, your loan-to-value ratio would beryllium higher and you could apt get a larger location equity loan.


Home equity loans are mostly offered pinch a fixed rate, while accepted mortgages tin person a fixed liking complaint aliases adaptable liking rate.

Second Mortgages

In galore cases, a location equity indebtedness is considered a second mortgage. If you already person an existing owe connected nan residence. If your location goes into foreclosure, nan lender holding nan location equity indebtedness does not get paid until nan first owe lender is paid.

So, nan location equity indebtedness lender’s consequence is greater, which is why these loans typically transportation higher liking rates than accepted mortgages.

However, not each location equity loans are 2nd mortgages. If you afloat ain your property, you whitethorn determine to return retired a indebtedness against nan home’s value. In this case, nan lender making nan location equity indebtedness is considered a first lienholder. An appraisal mightiness beryllium nan only request to complete nan transaction if you ain nan location outright.

Tax Deductions for Mortgages and Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans and mortgages tin person akin taxation deductions pinch their liking payments arsenic a consequence of nan Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Before nan Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, you could deduct only up to $100,000 of nan indebtedness connected a location equity loan.

Now, liking connected a owe is taxation deductible for mortgages of up to either $1 cardinal (if you took retired nan indebtedness earlier Dec. 15, 2017) aliases $750,000 (if you took it retired aft that date). This caller limit applies to immoderate location equity loans arsenic good if they were utilized to buy, build, aliases amended nan home.

Homeowners tin usage a location equity indebtedness for immoderate purpose. But if you usage a indebtedness for immoderate intent different than buying, building, aliases improving a home (such arsenic to reorganize indebtedness aliases salary for your child's college), you cannot deduct nan interest.

Is a Home Equity Loan a Second Mortgage?

A location equity indebtedness is simply a type of 2nd owe that allows you to get money against nan equity that you person successful your home. You person that money arsenic a lump sum. It’s besides called a 2nd owe because you person different indebtedness costs to make successful summation to your superior mortgage.

What’s nan Difference Between a Home Equity Loan and a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)?

There are aggregate cardinal differences betwixt a home equity indebtedness and a HELOC. A location equity indebtedness is simply a fixed, one-time lump sum that repaid complete time. A HELOC is simply a revolving statement of in installments utilizing a location arsenic collateral that tin beryllium utilized and paid disconnected complete and complete again, akin to a in installments card.

Does a Mortgage aliases a Home Equity Loan Have Lower Interest Rates?

A owe will usually person a little liking complaint than a location equity indebtedness aliases a HELOC. A first owe holds nan first privilege connected repayment successful nan arena of a default and is simply a little consequence to nan lender than a location equity indebtedness aliases a HELOC. However, a location equity indebtedness will apt person little closing costs.

The Bottom Line

If you person an highly debased interest rate connected your existing mortgage, you astir apt should usage a location equity indebtedness to get nan further costs that you need. But location are limits connected its taxation deductibility, which see utilizing nan money for nan purposes of improving your property.

If owe rates person dropped substantially since you took retired your existing mortgage—or if you request nan money for purposes unrelated to your home—you whitethorn use from a mortgage refinance. If you refinance, you tin prevention connected nan further money that you borrow, arsenic accepted mortgages mostly transportation little liking rates than location equity loans, and you whitethorn beryllium capable to unafraid a little complaint connected nan equilibrium that you already owe.

Consider consulting a master financial advisor who tin guideline you done nan champion options for your situation.

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