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Which Is Better For Home Improvement - Refinancing Or A Second Mortgage?

Aug 17, 2007
Finding the money you need to make those home improvements can lead to having to make some serious decisions. If you really want to make those home improvements, then you have basically two choices - either refinance a first mortgage, or get a second mortgage in order to get access to some of that equity.

While either choice could give you access to some cash for your project, only one choice will actually be better for you - depending on your circumstances. Here is what you need to know to make that decision.

You can get access to your cash by refinancing your first mortgage. If you find that you can get some better terms than what you already have, then this may be the way to go. Look for a lower interest rate that is about 1% or more lower than what you already have for a good deal.

Mortgage Insurance?

One thing that could help you decide would be if you are paying Private Mortgage Insurance, and now have more than 20% of the house's value in equity. By refinancing, you could get access to your equity with a cash out mortgage, and drop your PMI at the same time. In order to drop the PMI, though, be sure that you do not refinance for more than 80% of the attained value of your home. This means that you need to leave 20% of your equity intact.

Get the security of fixed rates

Another possible reason to refinance might be to get away from an adjustable rate mortgage - if you have one. Many people are now seeing the danger of these mortgages. They are great when the financial times are good, but horrible enough to cost you your home when economic times go a little sour. By refinancing your first mortgage, and using your equity for your home improvement project, you can gain the financial stability you need.

Refinancing with either a first or a second mortgage could be not worth your time, though, if you are not planning on staying there very long. The costs of refinancing are significant, and will take the average person at least three to five years to start to see a positive return on their investment.

Options of Second Mortgage

A second mortgage will give you two options - either a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Both of these will give you higher interest rates than on a first mortgage, and a second payment. Besides that, there are the same costs involved for the financing.

As a second mortgage, either one gives you the cash you need to beautify your home. Home improvements or repairs are tax deductible which means your actual rates are brought down some by the deduction. A HELOC will give you a greater flexibility since you draw out the money as needed (for a limited time), and only pay interest on the amount you use. So, if you are not sure you need the full amount of your equity, this method will save you some money, but be careful and be sure you understand how it will be amortized - and when.

Get the best mortgage deal

Refinancing or getting a second mortgage is a very common method of getting cash to fix up the home place. It also builds up the value in your home even more. Anytime you are thinking about either option, be sure to shop around getting several quotes, and then do a careful comparison of the fees (especially), as well as the interest rates.

The bottom line is that it depends on your own goals and financial situation as to which option may be better for you, but comparisons of quotes will let you know which option will best help you meet that goal.
About the Author
Joe Kenny writes for Rebuild.org, offering mortgage refinance, or for UK residents home improvement loans.
Visit today: Refinance with Rebuild.org
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