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Secured Loans Primer

Aug 17, 2007
A secured loan is essentially a loan that is taken out against your home or other collateral. In the context of this guide, when talking about secured loans and secured lending, reference is being made to that of a lender placing a legal charge over a property.

The most common type of secured loan is that of a mortgage. It is not within the financial capability of most people to purchase a property outright so most of us will therefore need to secure a mortgage.

Again, in the context of this guide, when talking about secured loans and secured lending, reference is being made to secondary secured loans, or second charges as they are commonly known within the industry. Borrowers who apply for a secured loan/second charge are doing so to follow that of their first mortgage.

How Do Secured Loans Work?

To the average lender, secured loans offer a very appealing prospect. They are able to lend out large sums of money with the additional security of a property - They will subsequently have open to them a number of legal remedies in the event of the borrower defaulting there obligations and payments. This will of course include home repossession.

A lender will register a secured loan by way of a legal charge with which the applicant must give consent to in order for an application to complete. The charge is then registered at the Land Registry by the lenders solicitors.

When it comes to remortgaging, most secured lenders will require the outstanding balance to be redeemed at the same time as the first mortgage. An exception to this is when a second charge lender grants a deed of postponement, thus allowing the existing second charge loan to run alongside that of the new mortgage lender.

What Are The Characteristics Of A Secured Loan?

The characteristics of a secured loan share many similarities to that of a mortgage. The most common one being that if your do not keep up the repayments on the secured loan, your home may be repossessed.

In the case of taking out a secured loan, it is a common myth that your home will be safe so long as you meet the repayments on your first mortgage. This is not true. If you fail to meet the repayments on your secured loan, even if you are up to date on your mortgage, the lender can seek possession of your property through the courts.

Secured loans can be arranged on loan sizes that usually range from 5,000 to 250,000, depending on the lender. Flexible terms are also available on secured lending, ranging from 5 up to 30 years. Some lenders will have schemes available allowing you to borrow more than the value of your property (combined with that of your first mortgage) of up to 125%. These schemes are not too common and it is believed that this is more of a marketing ploy rather than a viable or an advisable option to many borrowers.

How Does A Debt Consolidation Secured Loan Work?

A debt consolidation secured loan enables borrowers with significant levels of debt to consolidate some or all of these outstanding commitments into one loan amount and subsequently, one monthly payment. Debt consolidation is seen by many as an extremely effective short term solution to relieving the pressures of debt.

It is highly likely that by arranging a secured loan to clear off other unsecured debts such as credit cards, personal loans and hire purchases, the borrower is able to achieve a lower rate of interest than that applied to their unsecured commitments.

Not only will this take the effect of reducing the monthly payments but also secured loans can be arranged over a longer term than that of their unsecured counterparts. By extending the term of the loan will also mean that lower monthly payments can be achieved.

This is often viewed as a short term solution as in the long term, increasing the term of the debts may mean that you end up paying more interest. The other potential disadvantage of these types of loans is that consolidated debts that were once unsecured would then transform to being secured on the property.

What Are The Benefits Of A Secured Loan?

There are many benefits to be realised in taking out a secured loan. Many lenders and brokers alike will not charge any upfront fees, house valuation costs or legal fees. Compared to the fees associated with a remortgage, the secured loan option can be a very appealing one to borrowers.

Such fees associated with a remortgage will include valuation and administration fees, higher lending charges, discharge fees, title insurance and telegraphic transfer fees. This list is by no means exhaustive however they may not all be applicable in every case.

The timescales involved along with the various fees involved can be a put off for some homeowners considering a remortgage.

Perhaps the biggest appeal to most homeowners who are seeking finance is the speed at which a secured loan application can complete. At the top end of the scale, an application can take just a matter of days to complete. However for the majority, two to three weeks is a sensible timeframe to look for.

The benefits of secured loans when looked at against comparable unsecured loans are that it is highly likely that you will obtain a more favourable rate of interest on secured lending. As discussed earlier, this is due to the fact that the lender will in this case secure the loan by legal charge over the property reducing their perceived level of risk and subsequently reducing the rate of interest.

A secured loan will also offer a more flexible repayment period than that of an unsecured loan between 5 and 30 years with many lenders. If it is the intention of the borrower to obtain the very lowest monthly payment then this could be large benefit to them.

How Do I Know Whether I Should Take Out A Remortgage Or Secured Loan?

Each case must be assessed on its own merits. It is impossible to answer this question without careful consideration and assessment of the borrowers circumstances, needs and objectives.

The obvious example would be where a borrower seeking finance has a large early repayment charge to redeem their mortgage. In this case it may not be appropriate to remortgage. ERCs (Early repayment charges) can be as high as 7% of the outstanding mortgage balance which can of course result in thousands of pounds.

By arranging a secured loan in this instance might mean that you would be paying a slightly higher rate than that of the mortgage, however it could potentially save thousands of pounds of charges.

Another example of when taking out a secured loan might be of more benefit to the borrower would be a case where the first mortgage was originally taken out before the individual started to miss payments or run up another form of bad credit. It is highly likely in this instance that raising finance through a remortgage would mean paying a higher non-conforming/sub prime rate on the entire amount of borrowing.

By arranging a secured loan might mean that the borrower can still enjoy the prime high street rate applied to the first mortgage whilst only paying a higher non-conforming/sub prime rate on the new secured loan the additional finance.

Can I Apply For A Secured Loan With A Bad Credit History?

There are many schemes available today to cater for nearly every type of borrower regardless of credit history. If there is available equity in your property and you can meet the affordability criteria then it is highly like that you will be eligible for a secured loan. Bad credit will usually be defined between having one or more of the following:

# Mortgage arrears
# Rental arrears
# Secured loan arrears
# County Court Judgements
# Individual voluntary arrangements
# Bankruptcy

The more severe your credit history then the higher the interest rate that you will be charged. This again is a reflection of the higher level of risk perceived by the lender.
About the Author
James Copper enjoys writing on all areas of personal and commercial finance. He works for Any Loans who source Loans for people with credit problems.
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