Can I Use a Home Equity Loan to Buy Another House?

home equity loan to buy second house

The home equity loan is one of the best kept secrets for purchasing a second home or rental property. Savvy homeowners and real estate investors have been taking out home equity loans to mee the down-payment requirements of vacation homes and investment properties for decades. If you are wondering how to leverage a HELOC or home equity loan to buy a second property, then keep reading.

How a Home Equity Loan Can Help You Buy a Second Home or Investment Property

The prospect of owning multiple properties can be appealing for various reasons, including investment opportunities, vacation homes, or accommodating a growing family. One common question that arises is whether you can use a home equity loan to buy another house. The answer is yes, you can use a home equity loan for this purpose. However, there are several factors to consider, including the benefits, risks, and the process involved in obtaining a home equity loan for purchasing another property.

Talk to the Pros: The RefiGuide published a helpful article on how to find the top rated HELOC lenders this year. This is useful because banks and credit unions usually have strict rules on what is allowed with a home equity line of credit.

What is a Home Equity Loan?

A home equity loan is a type of loan that allows homeowners to borrow against the equity they have built up in their home. Equity is the difference between the current market value of the home and the outstanding mortgage balance. For example, if your home is worth $500,000 and you owe $350,000 on your mortgage, you have $150,000 in equity. Home equity enders typically allow you to borrow up to 80-85% of your home’s equity.

Many people think home equity loans are for debt consolidation and while that is a popular reason for people to borrow money, it’s not the only purpose. Many people are taking out home equity loans to purchase second houses and rental properties. In high cost areas. like California, Hawaii, Colorado, New York and Virginia, borrowers are taking out HELOCs and home equity loans to cover the down-payment requirements on a second home or investment property.

Key Features of Home Equity Loans

Lump-Sum Payment: Unlike a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), which provides a revolving credit line, a home equity loan is disbursed as a lump sum.
Fixed Interest Rate: Home equity loans generally come with a fixed interest rate, meaning your monthly payments remain consistent over the life of the loan.
Fixed Repayment Term: These loans have a set repayment term, usually between 5 and 30 years.

Using a Home Equity Loan to Buy Second Homes

Access to Large Amounts of Cash: By tapping into your home equity, you can access a significant amount of money, which can be used as a down payment or even to purchase another property outright.
Potentially Lower Interest Rates: Home equity loans often have lower interest rates compared to other types of loans, such as personal loans or credit cards, because they are secured by your property.
Investment Opportunities: Buying another house can be a lucrative investment, whether you’re looking to rent it out, flip it for a profit, or hold onto it as a long-term asset.
Diversification: Owning multiple properties can diversify your investment portfolio, potentially reducing risk and increasing financial stability.

Increased Debt: Taking out a home equity loan increases your overall debt load. This can strain your finances, especially if you experience changes in income or unexpected expenses.
Risk of Foreclosure: Your home serves as collateral for the home equity loan. If you fail to make payments, you risk losing your primary residence.
Market Fluctuations: Real estate markets can be unpredictable. The value of your properties could decrease, affecting your equity and overall investment.
Closing Costs and Fees: Home equity loans come with closing costs and fees, which can add up and reduce the amount of money available for purchasing the new property.

The Process of Using a Home Equity Loan to Buy an Investment or Rental Property

Step 1: Determine Your Home Equity
Before you can apply for a home equity loan, you need to determine how much equity you have in your home. This involves getting an appraisal to find out the current market value of your property and subtracting the outstanding mortgage balance.

Step 2: Calculate How Much You Can Borrow
Lenders typically allow you to borrow up to 80-85% of your home’s equity. For example, if your home is worth $400,000 and you owe $200,000, you have $200,000 in equity. If the lender allows you to borrow up to 80% of your equity, you could potentially borrow $160,000.

Step 3: Shop Around for Home Equity Lenders
Not all lenders offer the same terms and interest rates for home equity loans. It’s important to shop around and compare offers from multiple lenders to ensure you get the best deal. Pay attention to the interest rates, repayment terms, and any fees associated with the loan.

Step 4: Apply for the Home Equity Loan
Once you’ve selected a lender, you’ll need to complete the application process. This typically involves providing documentation such as proof of income, credit history, and details about your current mortgage and property. The lender will also conduct an appraisal to determine the current value of your home.

Step 5: Receive the Funds
If your application is approved, the lender will disburse the loan amount as a lump sum. You can then use these funds to purchase another house.

Step 6: Repay the Loan
Home equity loans have fixed repayment terms and interest rates. You’ll need to make monthly payments over the life of the loan. It’s important to budget for these payments to ensure you can meet your financial obligations.

Considerations Before Using a Home Equity Loan

Assess Your Financial Situation
Before taking out a home equity loan, assess your financial situation carefully. Consider your income, expenses, existing debts, and overall financial goals. Ensure you have a stable income and a solid plan for repaying the loan.

Evaluate the Real Estate Market
Research the real estate market where you plan to buy another house. Look at trends, property values, rental demand, and economic factors that could affect your investment. Make sure you’re making an informed decision based on current and projected market conditions.

Understand the Tax Implications
Interest on home equity loans may be tax-deductible, but this depends on how the funds are used and current tax laws. Consult with a tax advisor to understand the potential tax benefits and implications of using a home equity loan to buy another house.

Have a Contingency Plan
Real estate investments come with risks, and it’s important to have a contingency plan in case things don’t go as expected. Consider what you would do if property values decrease, rental income isn’t as high as anticipated, or you encounter unexpected expenses.

Alternatives to Home Equity Loans

While a home equity loan can be a viable option for purchasing another house, it’s worth exploring other alternatives as well:

1. Cash-Out Refinance

A cash-out refinance allows you to refinance your existing mortgage and take out additional cash based on the equity in your home. This can provide funds for buying another property while potentially lowering your overall interest rate.  The Federal Housing Administration offers FHA mortgage refinance with cash back.


The Home Equity Line of Credit is a unique type of 2nd mortgage loan that provides a revolving line of credit that you can draw from as needed. This HELOC interest payment can offer more flexibility compared to a lump-sum home equity loan. Lets explore more on how you can I use a HELOC to buy another house in 2024.

3. Personal Loan

If you don’t have enough equity in your home or prefer not to use it as collateral, a personal loan can be an alternative. However, personal loans typically come with higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms. Compare the HELOC and personal loan.

4. Investment Property Loan

Some lenders offer loans specifically for purchasing investment properties. These private money loans may have different requirements and terms compared to traditional mortgages or home equity loans.

Summary on Buying a Second House with a Home Equity Loan or HELOC

Using a home equity loan to buy another house can be a smart financial move, offering access to significant funds at potentially lower interest rates. However, it also comes with risks, including increased debt, the potential for foreclosure, and market fluctuations. Before proceeding, carefully assess your financial situation, evaluate the real estate market, and explore alternative financing options. By doing so, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals and helps you build a successful real estate portfolio.

Take a few minutes and complete our free loan quote form and you will be able to shop the best home equity lenders online with no hassles or fees.

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