A second mortgage or second charge mortgage can be a useful financial tool, but it comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a detailed look at the pros and cons of a second mortgage.

What Are the Pros or Benefits of a Second Mortgage?

It Can Provide Access to Additional Funds

A second mortgage can allow you to release equity from your property without needing to remortgage or disturb the terms of their first mortgage.

You Can Get Lower Interest Rates Compared to Unsecured Loans

Generally, the interest rates for second charge mortgages are lower than those for unsecured loans or credit cards because the loan is secured against property.

There’s a Flexible Use of Funds

The funds can be used for a variety of purposes, such as home improvements, debt consolidation, education expenses, or other significant expenditures.

You Get to Keep Your Existing Mortgage Terms

If the first mortgage has favourable terms such as a low rate, or it has high ERCs (early repayment charges) taking out a second charge mortgage can allow you to keep that first mortgage in place while still accessing additional funds.

There’s the Potential for Higher Loan Amounts

Because the loan is secured against the property, lenders may be willing to offer larger loan amounts compared to unsecured borrowing.

What Are the Cons or Downsides of a Second Mortgage?

The Interest Rate Will Like by Higher Than for a First Charge

Second charge mortgages typically come with higher interest rates than first mortgages because they are considered higher risk by lenders

There’s the Risk of Repossession

If you fail to keep up with repayments on your second charge mortgage, your home could be repossessed, just as with a first mortgage

There May Be Some Additional Costs and Fees

Taking out a second charge mortgage involves costs such as arrangement fees, legal fees, valuation fees, and possibly higher insurance premiums

It Can Be a Complex Application Process

The application process can be more complex and time-consuming than for unsecured loans, involving property valuations, legal checks, and extensive documentation. The easiest way to combat this is to use a mortgage broker who can handle the process for you

Your Overall Debt Levels May Increase

Adding a second charge mortgage increases your total debt burden, which can strain your finances and make it more challenging to manage overall debt, especially if interest rates rise

There Are LTV (Loan-to-Value) Limitations

The amount you can borrow is limited by the equity in your property and the lender’s maximum LTV ratio. If property values fall, this could affect your borrowing capacity

Some May Have Potential Early Repayment Charges

Similar to first mortgages, second charge mortgages may have early repayment charges, making it costly to pay off the loan early or refinance.

Summary Table of Benefits and Downsides of Second Mortgage

Pros of a Second Charge Mortgage

Disadvantages of a Second Charge Mortgage

Access to additional funds

Higher interest rates compared to first mortgages

Lower interest rates compared to unsecured loans

Risk of repossession

Flexible use of funds

Additional costs and fees

Retain existing mortgage terms

Complex application process

Potential for higher loan amounts

Impact on overall debt levels


Loan-to-Value (LTV) limitations


Potential early repayment charges

Do the Benefits Outweigh the Downsides of a Second Mortgage?

A second mortgage offers several advantages to homeowners. It allows them to tap into the equity they have built up in their property, providing a substantial amount of money for various flexible purposes such as home improvements, debt consolidation, or major expenses. Compared to unsecured loans or credit cards, second mortgages can definitely be worth it as they often come with lower interest rates because they are secured by the property.

There can also be tax benefits, as the interest paid on a second mortgage may be tax-deductible, especially if the funds are used for home improvements, although tax regulations should be confirmed with a tax advisor. Using a second mortgage to consolidate high interest debt can also reduce overall interest costs and potentially improve the homeowner's credit score by paying off higher interest debts.

Of course, a second charge is still a big undertaking and comes with notable drawbacks, such as the risk of repossession and the fact you’re taking on more debt. Ultimately whether a second charge mortgage is right for you will come down to what you need the funds for and if it benefits your current and future circumstances overall. The simplest way to figure this out is to consult a second charge mortgage broker.

Find Out if a Second Charge Is Right for You

A second mortgage can provide a valuable financial tool for homeowners looking to leverage their home’s value to achieve their financial goals, while retaining their existing mortgage terms.

Contact us on 0330 433 2927 to speak to a second charge expert and find out whether this kind of loan could be suitable for you.