How Does A Second-Charge Mortgage Work?

How Does A Second-Charge Mortgage Work?

A second-charge mortgage is an extra loan that you may take out without impacting your current mortgage, using the value of your home as security. It is an extra loan on top of your main mortgage, which means you can keep your original mortgage deal.This blog explains the mechanics of second-charge mortgages, explores their advantages and disadvantages, and provides a step-by-step guide on how to apply.

What Are Second-Charge Mortgages?

A second-charge mortgage is a loan you take out in addition to your existing mortgage. For this, you use equity in your home as collateral. It allows you to borrow money without changing your primary mortgage.The main difference is the order of repayment. Your first charge mortgage is your primary loan, which gets paid first if you sell your home. A second charge mortgage is paid after the first mortgage.In January 2024, over half of the second charge mortgages (58%) were taken out to consolidate existing loans. Additionally, 12% of these loans were used for home improvements, and 22% were used for both consolidating debt and making home improvements.

How Do Second Charge Mortgages Work?

Here is how it works:This loan is secured against the part of your home you own outright. If your home is worth more than what you owe on your first mortgage, the difference is your equity.To qualify, you need to:
  • Be a homeowner
  • Have enough equity in your property
  • Prove that you can afford the repayments by showing your income and financial stability
Lenders will let you borrow up to 95% of your home’s equity. For example, if you have £50,000 in equity, you will be able to borrow up to £47,500.The amount you can borrow varies, but it is usually between a few thousand pounds and several hundred thousand pounds based on your equity and the lender’s policies. The repayment terms can range from 5 to 25 years. This gives you a flexible period to pay back the loan.

Reasons to Consider a Second-Charge Mortgage

The following reasons make it a good choice to consider second-charge mortgages:
  1. No Early Repayment Charges:
If you have an existing mortgage with early repayment charges, a second-charge mortgage can help you avoid these fees. It lets you access extra funds without paying penalties for changing your primary mortgage.
  1. Low-Interest Rate:
If your current mortgage has a low-interest rate, you may not want to remortgage and lose that benefit. A second-charge mortgage allows you to keep your low rate on the first mortgage while borrowing additional money at a different rate.
  1. Suitable for Poor Credit Ratings:
If your credit rating has dropped or you have a variable income, it can be difficult and expensive to remortgage. A second-charge mortgage is easier to get because it relies on the equity in your property rather than your credit score alone.

How Can You Use Second-Charge Mortgages?

  • To renovate or expand your home
  • To combine your existing debts into one manageable payment
  • To invest in your business without affecting your primary mortgage
  • To use the equity from your current home to buy another property, such as a holiday home or a buy-to-let investment

The Application Process

You can apply for a second charge mortgage by following these steps:

Talk to a Mortgage Adviser

The first thing you should do is talk to a mortgage adviser. They can tell you if a second-charge mortgage is right for you and help you with the process.

Gather Documents and Financial Info

To apply, you need to collect these documents:
  • Your ID
  • Proof of income
  • Current mortgage details
  • Expenses and debt information
The lender will examine these to determine whether you can afford the extra loan.

Know What the Lender Wants

Different lenders have different rules for second-charge mortgages. It is important to know what they are and compare their offers. Look at:
  • How much you can borrow based on your home’s equity (Loan-to-Value ratio)
  • Interest rates and whether they are fixed or variable
  • How long you have to repay the loan
Your mortgage adviser can help you understand these details and pick the best lender and loan for you.

Advantages of Second Charge Mortgages

  • Quick access to funds
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Potentially lower interest rates compared to unsecured loans
  • No need to disturb the existing mortgage arrangement

Risks and Considerations

  • Property is at risk if repayments are not kept up
  • The higher overall debt burden
  • Comparatively higher interest rates
  • The impact on credit score


A second-charge mortgage can be a handy way to get extra money by using the value of your home without changing your main mortgage. Remember, risks are involved, such as putting your property at risk if you can’t keep up with payments.