Refinancing a Second Mortgage Only

Can I refinance my second mortgage only, without consolidating it with the first?

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Bill's Answer: Answered by Mark Cappel

As the subprime fallout continues, many lenders are tightening their rules for second mortgages and equity lines of credit. Even then, I see no reason as to why you should not be able to refinance your second mortgage. If your current lender does not agree, you should be able to find other lenders who are willing to offer you good terms and a good rate.

The first step is to speak to multiple lenders. makes it easy, just enter your information in this form— Mortgage Refinance Quote — and you will be contacted by qualified lenders interested in your business. When you talk to perspective lenders, be sure to ask about a home equity line of credit (HELOC). You can use the HELOC to pay off your second mortgage, considering the interest rate is lower (so that your payments will be lower). After you speak with different lenders, you will also get a better picture of your chances of successfully refinancing only your second mortgage.

My other suggestion is to try to speak to your first mortgage provider for a solution. You will need to be aggressive on your part and contact whosoever concerned, multiple times, until somebody takes the time to listen to you. See what solutions they will have to offer (if any at all). If you find out that, even after you speak to multiple lenders and there is no solution then you will have no choice but to club your first mortgage with the second into one single loan. You might get a better deal this way.


Lenders and servicers do not like to foreclose on mortgages. Foreclosures cost more than can be made back, so lenders foreclose only as a way of limiting losses on a defaulted loan. If homeowners get behind on payments, lenders will most likely work with them to bring the loan current. In order to do so, however, the owner must stay in communication with the lender and be honest about the financial situation. The lender's willingness to help with current problems will depend heavily on past payment records. If the owner has made consistently timely payments and had no serious defaults, the lender will be more receptive than if the person has a record of unexplained late payments. For those falling behind in payments, or who know that they are likely to do so in the immediate future, they should contact the lender right away about meeting to discuss alternative payment arrangements.

For more information on second mortgages, please visit our second mortgage information page.

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Comments (11)

Emily G.
Mill Creek, WA  |  February 01, 2013
My husband and I have excellent credit. Our first mortgage is decent $336,000 through Citibank with a 4.25% interest rate but we have a 2nd through our credit union and it's killing us! It is a fixed 2nd and we owe $24,700 at 7.49%. We'd live to refinance the 2nd by itself or take out a HELOC in order to payoff the second. We think our home is worth about $380,000. Is this possible in today's market? Who/what bank or mortgage company would we talk to in order to make this happen? Please advise. Thank you.
February 06, 2013
When you say that the second mortgage is killing you, do you mean that you are having trouble paying for it, or is it just too expensive?

You basically have two options:
  1. Refinance the whole loan.
  2. Speak to the credit union and try to modify your current second mortgage

Refinancing both mortgages means paying upfront fees on the whole amount you owe. However, today's rates are low and you might find a deal that makes it worth your while. If your payments are too high then you can look into taking a 30-year FRM. I recommend that you get a mortgage quote. Make sure to look at the whole package, including interest rate, mortgage insurance and fees.

Your second mortgage is for a small amount of money compared to your first, so the fact that the higher interest rate is of marginal importance. But, if you are having trouble making your payments, then speak to your credit union about modifying the loan. However, in general, lenders don't like to change mortgage loans. If you can afford the payments, but don't like the high interest rate, then I recommend that you look at all your debt and make extra payments, if possible, to your debt with the highest interest rates. That might be your second mortgage or it might be credit cards.

Amanda W.
Chicago, IL  |  October 20, 2011
I have a second mortgage and my mortgage company won't work with me my payments. They told me to contact the Making homes Affordable program but I am okay with my first mortgage its my second that is killing me and when I tell my mortgage company this they tell me that I signed on to teh loan there is nothing they can do for me. I am fed up!
September 17, 2010
I am unaware of the $1,000 law, rule, or regulation you described as one all banks must follow. Ask the bank to cite the source of the rule. It strikes me as a company policy rather than a federal or state regulation.
September 16, 2010
We were trying to refi both our first mortgage and second mortgage which is a HELOC. We went through the entire process, got to underwriting, and they told us that we couldn't refi our second mortgage bc we took withdrew over $1000 in the past year. Is this a regulation that all banks follow? Where can I find that in writing?
Collin .
August 28, 2010
I totally agree to your point to the refinancing the second mortgage. I am planning for a second mortgage and now i am going to visit multiple lenders before choosing one of them. Thanks Collin paul
John S.
August 27, 2010
mortgage calculator how much can i afford is the only way to stop happenings of fraud in Mortgage. A strong law should be ammended world wide to stop this kind of things to happen again.
March 19, 2010
You're welcome.
Grees .
March 18, 2010
Thanks very much, that is what I have found, I have found some interest-only mortgages too.
October 29, 2009
I am assuming that the value of your house is less than the balance of the loans. If so, get started on the Making Home Affordable program. Regarding the second mortgage, see if GMAC is willing to negotiate that loan as well. Your alternative is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which if you default on the second mortgage may modify the second mortgage significantly. I urge you to consult with a bankruptcy attorney in your state to learn if bankruptcy is an option for you.
Chan .
October 29, 2009
I have first and second mortgage with GMAC and due for refinance next year since both loan was ARM( 1st five year. It was jumbo loan and i bought house at the peak time of real estate bubble with zero down payment. This year i lost job and was unemployed for almost 9 months. I withdrew my only saving 401k just to stay current and secure roof above my head. Now i got job but have no saving left to refinance next year. My second loan (HELOC) is of only 130000. Is there options available.... where i can just refinance second loan ? So that i will end up paying high payment when my ARM gets adjusted next year as it will take another 3 years for me to recover financially.
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