American homeowners love home equity loans and many people have been inquiring about leveraging their second home or rental property with an equity loan or 2nd mortgage. Home prices seem to be leveling off with one major house price indicator at S&P finding prices up 3% from January 2023. Thousands of homeowners have taken out a HELOC to finance the down-payment required to buy an investment property, vacation house or second home.

Can I Take Out a HELOC or Home Equity Loan to Buy a 2nd Home and Rental Property in 2024?

This is a blistering pace, especially when you consider this growth was on top of an 11% rise that was reported at the beginning of 2024. Because of rising home equity, millions of homeowners wonder what they should do with their new-found wealth.

  • Fixed Home Equity Loan on Rental Property
  • Flexible HELOC on Second Home
  • Home Equity Line of Credit on an Investment Property

On average, the typical homeowner gained more than $25,000 in equity in the last few years.

How to Get an Equity Loan on a 2nd Home, Vacation House or Investment Property

heloc on second home

One option for that cash is to pull out equity. But if you already own a 2nd home, vacation home, or rental property, you also may be able to pull that cash out.

But with mortgage rates recently topping 6.5% for new and refinanced mortgages, you may not want to pull cash out with a refinance.

The new home equity loan guidelines have eased credit and equity requirements, so homeowners can once again consider an equity loan.

Instead, consider getting a home equity loan on your second home or vacation property.

Now could be the perfect time because fixed rates for home equity loans are still much lower than for credit cards or personal loans. The RefiGuide will help you shop for the best HELOC lenders offering a home equity loan on an investment property.

The key is to find a mortgage broker or lender willing to offer you a HELOC or home equity loan on a rental or investment property. Most banks and credit unions will not offer home equity loans and HELOCs on a investment property pose a higher risk for lenders because second mortgages are more likely to go unpaid if the borrower encounters financial difficulties. This risk is even greater for a rental property if you already have mortgages on both the investment property and your primary residence. As a result, lenders may impose stricter qualification requirements on borrowers.

Why Get a Home Equity Loan on a 2nd Home?

Some homeowners like the idea of taking cash out of a second home. That way, you are not removing equity from your primary residence. Using the vacation home or investment property for the home equity loan reduces the chances of being underwater on your property.

Luckily, many lenders these days offer home equity loans and other 2nd mortgages on second homes. Getting the loan may be more complex than if you attempt to refinance a home that you don’t live in. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to enjoy the low interest rates of a 2nd mortgage loan! You can!

What Are the Rules for Taking a Home Equity Loan or HELOC on a Second Home?

heloc on 2nd home

Taking out a loan on a second home, vacation home, or rental property you don’t reside in is a higher risk for the lender.

So, you should expect a higher interest rate and stricter lending rules for your home equity loan.

But do not worry, with enough planning, you will be able to qualify for your second mortgage.

Typically, getting a home equity loan on a second home requires putting down at least 10 percent.

More is better because you will get a lower interest rate.

That doesn’t affect getting a home equity loan on the home, but just FYI!

Also, you probably need to leave 25% or more of the equity in the second home.

That means you need quite a bit more equity than 25% to make the home equity loan worth doing.

Credit score requirements are also higher for second homes and the DTI limits are stricter.

More on requirements for credit lines and home equity loans on a second home:

  • You need to own the property for at least a year
  • Credit score of approximately 680 to 700
  • Larger down payment and a lower home to value ratio or LTV
  • Restrictions on where the property is located

While there are stricter requirements, you’ll be happy to know getting an equity loan on a second home is easier than for an investment property. So, you should be able to find lenders offering more 2nd mortgages on the vacation home if you have one.

Home Equity Loan on Investment Property Opportunities

Successful real estate investors utilize various tools to skillfully navigate and seize new opportunities. One such tool is home equity loans, which, while commonly used by homeowners for their primary residences, can also benefit real estate investors. Although obtaining home equity loans on investment properties can be challenging, savvy real estate investors can leverage this tool to cover expenses, address shortfalls, or even finance the buying additional investment and rental properties.

Does a HELOC have to be on a Primary Residence?

Most home equity loans and HELOCs are secured against primary residences, as mortgage bankers tend to favor loans tied to the borrower’s primary dwelling, assuming that repayment will be prioritized. Nonetheless, certain lenders extend 2nd mortgages and HELOCs to investment properties as well.

What About a Cash-Out Refinance on a Second Home?

There are stricter requirements, but you don’t have to necessarily be locked into one type of loan to get access to the cash you want. You also could consider a home equity line of credit or cash-out refinancing. Which loan option is best depends on your situation and financial goals. Read more about cash out refinance requirements on investment properties.

Consider an Equity Loan If…

As we explained earlier, first mortgage rates for new purchases and refinances are higher than they have been in several years. With rates recently exceeding 5%, you may not want to refinance your second home to pull out cash.

It is probably better in this rate environment to get a home equity line or HELOC to pull out your money.

Also, a 2nd-mortgage doesn’t require you to restart the payment period and increase how long you pay your mortgage. This also extends how long you pay interest, which could save you thousands of dollars over the long term.

Whether you should get a credit line or HELOC depends on several factors. Let’s take a look:

  • Get a home equity loan if you prefer taking a large chunk of equity out of the second home at one time. You will pay the money back at a fixed interest rate over a set period, usually 20 or 30 years.
  • Consider a home equity lines of credit if you want to pull the money out over time. You can access as much as you want up to your credit line at any time. Also, repay the money over time and the credit line can be accessed again, just like a credit card. You have an interest only draw period, then a repayment period paying principal and interest. HELOCs also offer interest only payments that increase your cash flow with lower monthly payments during the draw period.

Whether you get a home equity loan or HELOC, you will have two monthly payments, so make sure you have the money and organization to make that happen.

Why Are There Different Lending Rules for 2nd Homes?

If you were buying and selling real estate before 2008, you probably remember it was easier to pull cash out of first homes and even second homes. But after the mortgage crash of 2008 and 2009, lenders realized lending guidelines were lax and that led to too many defaults.

Instead of getting a second home mortgage with 100% or even 105% (!) of your home’s equity with loose credit rules, lenders weren’t even offering second mortgages on second residences. Unlike your primary home, home loans for second homes are a higher risk for the lender.

Also, second mortgages are always a higher risk for the lender. This is because the loans are in the ‘2nd lien’ position, meaning they may get paid less or slower if you default. For these reasons are why getting a second mortgage on a second home is more difficult today.  And you will pay a higher interest rate.

Can I Deduct the Interest Paid on a HELOC for an Investment Property?

Interest paid on your rental property HELOC or home equity loan might be eligible for tax deduction, potentially lowering your taxable income. However, to qualify for this deduction, the loan must be utilized for property improvements. You should talk to an experienced tax consultant that understands your specific situation. Whether you need a HELOC or home equity loans on investment properties, the RefiGuide can help you find the best brokers and lenders in the business.

Can I Use Cash Out from a Home Equity Loan to Invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust?

Yes, you can use the money from a home equity loan or HELOC to invest in a real estate investment trust, also known as, REIT. However, we suggest being careful, as going into debt to make an investment can be risky. A home equity loan is a type second mortgage, that is secured to your property. Therefore it is crucial not to overleverage your finances without a clear understanding of the potential return on the borrowed funds.

The Bottom Line on Taking Out a HELOC or Equity Loan on a Vacation Home or Investment Properties

Let’s remember that home equity loans can be a valuable tool for real estate investors. However, it’s important to carefully consider various factors to determine if it’s the right time to use this option. There are many benefits why you should choose a home equity loan on a second home or rental property over other financing options.

Generally, using a home equity loan to buy a rental property or second home is most effective when the funds are used for a cash offer. The lump-sum proceeds from your home equity loan or HELOC might cover the entire purchase price or supplement other assets, helping you reach the necessary amount.

You have the option to obtain a HELOC on a second home, granted you adhere to the lender’s criteria. This implies that you are not obligated to sell your vacation property to leverage the equity it has accumulated. Instead, you can access the value of a second home through methods such as a cash-out refinance, home equity loan, or HELOC line of credit.

If you already own a second home and want to access equity to pay for a major expense, you may be able to do so with a HELOC or second mortgage. There are more credit requirements and stricter lending rules, but you can still access the cash you need with a second mortgage on your second home. So complete the quick quote form and the RefiGuide will connect you with experienced mortgage lenders today so you can get started.