If you need a second mortgage or to refinance your home, you may be tempted to go with the lowest rates you can find regardless of other considerations. Second mortgages generally take the form of home equity loans or lines of credit (which work like a credit card secured on your home). It is, of course, always worth checking with your existing bank or lender, but they may not always offer you the best deal. Finding the best firm is hard - but five good suggestions are US Bank, Chase, Nationwide, Bank of America and Citibank. Here, we’ll review the best options for getting second mortgages to take advantage of lower rates.
Top 5 Firms for Diversified Index Funds:
- US Bank
- Bank of America
U.S. Bank offers both traditional home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (recommended if you plan on spending smaller amounts of money over a longer period). The home equity loan is disbursed in a single lump sum. US Bank does not charge application fees or closing costs, offers a rate estimate calculator and tools to help compare rates and is an equal housing lender. If you owe less than $150,000 on your current mortgage, their Smart Refinance has no costs and flexible terms.
- No application fees or up-front costs
- Rate-estimate calculator
- Smart Refinance program for debt less than $150,000
Chase primarily offers a home equity line of credit - which is variable rate and has a ten year draw period in which you can borrow as much or as little as you need and then a twenty year repayment period. They offer rate discounts to existing Chase customers. They do also offer traditional fixed rate second mortgages and have tools to compare rates, confirm eligibility and get custom quotes online. They are an equal housing lender.
- Rate discounts for existing customers
- Custom quotes online
- High-quality home equity lines of credit
Nationwide offers a variety of options in both loans and lines of credit and offers comparison charts to help customers pick between the two options. However, they are not currently opening home equity loans as they are redoing their options - supposedly they will open up again later in 2016. They have an A+ BBB rating and a good overall reputation.
- Various options
- Good reputation
- Closed until late 2016
Bank of America
Bank of America has had a poor reputation in the past - but they are also the largest lender in the market, so it is unsurprising that they have a large number of complaints. When size is taken into account, they are actually a well-reputed option. They offer some of the lowest rates from major lenders for both home equity loans or refinancing and lines of credit. They also offer a discount to customers who set up automatic monthly payments and a discount on lines of credit for making an initial withdrawal of at least $10,000. Their rates do vary according to where in the country you are located.
- Largest lender in the U.S. market
- Low rates
- Special discount programs
Citibank offers solid fixed rate home equity loans as well as lines of credit, and have online tools to compare the two. Their rates are a little bit higher than the other top lenders mentioned, but there are no up front fees, and fewer fees in general. Citibank loans less than most banks but has much better customer service. One major downside is that Citibank does not allow the use of a second home as collateral. It might be worth it, especially for smaller loans, and even at busy times Citibank’s phone system has no frustrating automated menus.
- Excellent customer service
- Lower loan limits
- Cannot use second home as collateral
If you are looking for a home equity loan or line of credit, you should consider these major banks as top options rather than wading through the morass of services that primarily advertise their low rates and little else. If you need one lump sum for a major project, you should get a fixed rate home equity loan. If you need smaller amounts over time, then consider a home equity line of credit.