What Is a Piggyback Mortgage?

A piggyback mortgage is additional debt that can include any additional mortgage or loan beyond a borrower’s first mortgage loan, which is secured with the same collateral. Common types of piggyback mortgages include home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

Key Takeaways

  • A piggyback mortgage is any additional loan taken out on a property following a first mortgage.
  • Examples include second mortgages, home equity loans, and HELOCs.
  • Piggyback mortgages are used to help with covering down payments on a property or to avoid paying PMI.

Understanding Piggyback Mortgage

Piggyback mortgages can serve several purposes. Some piggyback mortgages are allowed to help a borrower with a down payment. Generally, most borrowers will only have the capacity to take on one or two piggyback mortgages since all of the loans are secured with the same collateral.

A piggyback mortgage can also be used to avoid having to pay for private mortgage insurance, or PMI. In this case, a second mortgage or home equity loan is taken out at the same time as the first mortgage. With an "80-10-10" piggyback mortgage, for example, 80% of the purchase price is covered by the first mortgage, 10% is covered by the second loan, and the final 10% is covered by your down payment. This lowers the loan-to-value (LTV) of the first mortgage to under 80%, eliminating the need for PMI. For example, if your new home costs $180,000, your first mortgage would be $144,000, the second mortgage would be $18,000, and your down payment would be $18,000.

Types of Piggyback Mortgages

Down Payment Mortgages

Down payment mortgages are a type of piggyback mortgage that gives a borrower funds for a down payment. Second mortgages are typically only allowed when they use funds from a down payment assistance program. All sources of down payment funds used in securing a mortgage are required to be disclosed to the first mortgage lender. Generally, second mortgages from many alternative lenders are not allowed since they are beyond the parameters of the first mortgage’s terms and greatly increase the default risks for a borrower. Down payment assistant mortgages may also be known as silent second mortgages

Second Mortgages

Generally, a borrower can only get a second mortgage using a subordinated piece of collateral when that collateral has home equity. Home equity is primarily a function of the value that a borrower has paid on their home. It is calculated as the home’s appraisal value minus the outstanding loan balance.

Many borrowers find themselves in an underwater mortgage in the early phases of a mortgage loan repayment since the property can decrease in value and the mortgage balance has not yet been substantially paid down. If a borrower does have home equity in their home, they have a couple of options for a second mortgage home equity loan. These second mortgage products include either a standard home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. Both a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit are based on the available equity in a borrower’s collateral.

Home Equity Loans

A standard home equity loan is a non-revolving credit loan. In a standard home equity loan, a borrower can receive the equity value upfront as a lump sum principal payment. The loan will then typically require monthly installments based on credit terms customized by the lender. Borrowers use a home equity loan for various purposes including college costs for their child, home improvements, debt consolidation or emergency capital expenses.

Home Equity Lines of Credit

A home equity line of credit is a revolving credit account that provides a borrower with greater spending flexibility. This type of credit account has a maximum credit limit based on the borrower’s home equity. The account balance is revolving which means borrowers control the outstanding balances based on their purchases and payments. A revolving account will also be assessed monthly interest which adds to the total outstanding balance. In a home equity line of credit, borrowers receive a monthly statement detailing their transactions for the period and a monthly payment amount they must pay to keep their account in good standing.