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Adding a Second Mortgage to Acquire Investment Property
Nationwide Staff

In a March article in the Los Angeles Times staff writers Tom Petruno and Kathy M. Kristof noted that real estate is still the number one choice of investment in California according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll. They stated that when "asked how they would invest most of a $1 million windfall, 36% of respondents picked real estate." Maybe you're thinking that it would be a great investment for you as well.

The biggest problem for most potential investors is coming up with the cash. You will need a minimum down payment of 10 percent if you are purchasing investment property. If you don't have the cash available, but you own a home with equity, a home equity loan or cash out second mortgage on your primary residence may get you the money you need.

A second mortgage on primary residence resident is typically the easiest second to get. The equity in your home is the fair market value of the property minus the amount you owe on the mortgage. You'll want to look at a variety of products to see what works best for you. An adjustable rate home equity line of credit can be a good decision if you plan on "flipping" the property and selling it within the next seven years, otherwise you are gambling on the interest rates. A fixed rate equity loan gives you more security, but may mean higher payments.

Adding a second mortgage to your primary residence to purchase investment property can make good sense if you are certain you can make the payment on the second mortgage indefinitely. Under the right conditions, it could even be a tax write off. If you decide that it is the right way to invest, just be sure you get the second mortgage before you make an offer to buy the second home so that you know what funds are available to you. Also be sure to work with a reputable mortgage lender that will take the time to explain all your options and help you make the best decision. A bad choice of mortgage product could cost you not only your investment property, but your primary residence as well, so be sure to educate yourself.

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