HELOC, Refinance or Second/Third Mortgages? Which one should you choose to go with? If you have decided to tap into the equity in your home, the three can seem to be interchangeable at times and for many consumers can be a difficult decision on which one to select. We have laid out seven questions to guide you through the decision, for your unique situation. We’ve also broken this down into three categories, Equity, Payment and Availability.
1. HOW WILL I RECEIVE THE MONEY?
• HELOC: Home Equity Line of Credit-withdraw as needed
• Refinance: Lump Sum
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: Lump Sum
2. WHAT IS THE INTEREST RATE?
• HELOC: Prime Rate + premium 0.5%-1.5%
• Refinance: Best fixed or variable rate (dependent on what you and your broker decide)
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: 6.95%-19.95% typically with lender/broker fees
HOW IS THE INTEREST CALCULATED?
• HELOC: interest accrues on what you withdraw from your home’s equity.
• Refinance: interest accrues on the full loan amount that was taken out.
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: interest accrues on the full loan amount that was taken out.
3. WHAT IS MY PAYMENT?
• HELOC: You pay back the interest only, however, most banks will have a minimum rule so even if your HELOC value is $0 you will still have to pay a nominal fee each month.
• Refinance: You will pay the interest, plus the principle principal loan amount.
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: You can pay interest only payment or pay the interest plus the principle principal loan amount.
4. HOW MUCH EQUITY DO I NEED TO HAVE IN MY HOME IN ORDER TO ACCESS IT?
• HELOC: 20% minimum
• Refinance: 20% minimum
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: 5-10% minimum
5. HOW MUCH EQUITY CAN ACCESS?
• HELOC: You can access up to 80%
• Refinance: 80% of your home’s equity is accessible
o HELOC portion can be up to 65% of your home’s equity
o Mortgage portion must be 15% – as per Bank of Canada guidelines
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: 1st mortgage + 2nd/3rd mortgages up to 95% of home value
6. ARE THERE FEES ASSOCIATED WITH IT?
• HELOC: No fees associated with it
o At times
• Refinance: Prepayment penalty of Interest Rate Differential or 3 months interest* depends on your current mortgage terms.
o At times
• Second/Third Mortgage: There are several fees associated with a second mortgage including:
• Appraisal fees
• Legal fees
• Lenders fees
• Broker Fees
***One final note on refinancing: With the new stress-testing you will have to qualify at a higher rate and you will also have to consider that lenders can no longer insure the product… meaning there are many different rates with different lenders.
Once you answer each of these questions and review your options, you can decide which one is best suited for your needs. You can also always call a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker and discuss it. DLC brokers are well versed in each of these options and can direct you towards the best option for your situation. We’ve seen a variety of situations with our clients and have helped each of them reach their goals.