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Debt Consolidation Mortgage: What Is It and How Does It Work? 

Written by Allison Martin

Allison Martin is a personal finance enthusiast and a passionate entrepreneur. With over a decade of experience, Allison has made a name for herself as a syndicated financial writer. Her articles are published in leading publications, like, Bankrate, The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, and Investopedia. When she’s not busy creating content, Allison travels nationwide, sharing her knowledge and expertise in financial literacy and entrepreneurship through interactive workshops and programs. She also works as a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) dedicated to helping people from all walks of life achieve financial freedom and success.

Updated May 15, 2024​

6 min. read​

You’re saddled with high-interest debt and want to pay it off sooner rather than later. If you have a substantial amount of home equity, you could be in luck. A debt consolidation mortgage is worth considering as it lets you convert a portion of your equity into cash to consolidate pesky debt balances and streamline the repayment process.

Here’s what else you need to know about these mortgages, including the key benefits and drawbacks and how to decide if they’re best for you.

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What Is a Debt Consolidation Mortgage?

A debt consolidation mortgage is a type of cash-out refinance explicitly used to eliminate outstanding debt. It combines multiple debts into a single, larger home loan. The idea is to simplify the debt repayment process by having a single monthly payment, often with a lower interest rate than you previously paid on your existing debts.

As with any mortgage, it’s secured against your property. So, defaulting on the monthly mortgage payments puts your home at risk of foreclosure.

How Does Debt Consolidation Mortgage Work?

When you opt for a debt consolidation mortgage, you essentially refinance your existing mortgage. But an added step distinguishes it from a traditional rate-and-term refinance. Instead of simply swapping out mortgages, this type of transaction also entails pulling out some of the home equity you’ve built up in cash, giving you a larger balance on the new home loan than you started with.

Your home equity is the portion of the property you truly own or the current value of your home minus the outstanding mortgage balance. And the more equity you have, the more funds you may have access to.

Most lenders allow homeowners to access up to 80 percent of the home’s value through a debt consolidation mortgage. So, if your home is worth $425,000 and you owe $275,000, you could potentially pull out up to $65,000 ($425,000 * .80 – $275,000) in cash. The lender would remit $275,000 to pay off your old loan, and the remaining $65,000 would be disbursed to you to consolidate your debt following closing. Doing so would leave you with a new mortgage balance of $340,000 ($275,000 + $65,000).

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) act as second mortgages and are also an option to consolidate debt using your equity. More on these shortly.

Types Of Debt Consolidation Mortgages

There are several debt consolidation mortgages available:

  • Conventional Cash-Out Refinance: As previously mentioned, a traditional cash-out refinance replaces your existing mortgage. You can borrow more than you currently owe on your home loan and use the extra cash to pay off other high-interest debts. Keep in mind that conventional cash-out refinances may have higher interest charges over the loan term.
  • FHA Cash-Out Refinance: If you have an FHA loan, this option allows you to refinance up to 80 percent of your home’s value. It provides you with a lump sum for the difference to pay off debts.
  • VA Cash-Out Refinance: If you’re a veteran or active military, a VA cash-out refinance also lets you swap out your current mortgage with a new one for more than you owe and use the difference to pay off debt. VA loans can sometimes offer 100 percent financing.
  • Home Equity Loan: A home equity loan is an installment loan used to pay off debt. It acts as a second mortgage, and the amount you’re eligible for is based on your home equity—typically no more than 85 percent. Home equity loans come with fixed interest rates, which give you predictable monthly payments.
  • Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): Similar to a credit card, a HELOC offers a line of credit based on your home equity that replenishes as you make payments. You only pay interest on the amount you withdraw and use for debt consolidation. It usually has a variable interest rate, so the monthly loan payments will likely fluctuate over time.
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Who Can Qualify For A Debt Consolidation Mortgage?

The eligibility criteria vary by lender. Still, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind before applying for a debt consolidation mortgage:

  • Credit score: Lenders often require a score of at least 620 to approve you for a debt consolidation mortgage. You could qualify with a score as low as 580 if you choose a government-backed loan, but a higher score generally means better interest rates and loan terms.
  • Home equity: You also should have at least 20 percent in home equity. As a reminder, it’s the portion of your home you’ve paid off and serves as collateral for your new mortgage.
  • Income: You’ll need to show that you have a reliable income to manage the new loan payments and your other expenses. Lenders will assess this through your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
  • Current debts: Assess your current debts. A debt consolidation mortgage can be particularly advantageous if you have high-interest debts.

Pros of Debt Consolidation Mortgage

Consolidating your debt with a new mortgage comes with its fair share of benefits.

Combining Multiple Debt Payments into One

Instead of juggling several payments each month, you get a single monthly mortgage payment, which simplifies financial management.

Potential Interest Rate Savings

You could also get a better interest rate than you’re currently paying. Mortgages typically have lower rates than credit cards, so that you can save money over the life of the loan.

Improved Credit Score

Consolidating debt can improve your credit score. As you pay down revolving credit lines, like credit cards, with a consolidation loan, your credit utilization ratio drops, positively affecting your score.

Cons of Debt Consolidation Mortgage

As with any mortgage product, there are also drawbacks to consider.

Risk of Losing Home

You’re putting your home on the line when you transfer unsecured debts into a secured debt consolidation mortgage. If you default on the mortgage, you risk foreclosure.

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Possibility of Higher Interest Costs Over Time

Although consolidating debt into a mortgage can lower your monthly payments, it may result in higher total interest costs over the life of the loan. Spreading repayment over a more extended period can accumulate more interest, even if the rate is lower than what you originally paid on your debts.

Extending the Debt Repayment Period

Mortgages are typically repaid over a long period, up to 30 years. Consolidating short-term debts into your mortgage may extend the debt repayment period significantly. This can keep you in debt longer than necessary.

How To Prepare A Debt Consolidation Mortgage Application

To successfully prepare your application, you’ll need to thoroughly understand your financial situation and ensure your finances are in order. It’s also worth seeking professional advice or speaking with the lender first before formally applying to answer questions or address any concerns you have.

Assessing Your Financial Situation

To start, review your outstanding debts, including credit card balances, personal loans and other obligations. Gather all documentation related to your debts and tally up your monthly payments.

Also, take a look at your credit score, as it plays a pivotal role in your approval odds and what rates and terms you qualify for.

Tips To Prepare Your Finances

Aim to lower your existing debt levels, which may improve your debt-to-income ratio and potentially qualify you for lower rates. Also, confirm there are no errors on your credit report that could hinder your eligibility for a loan.

Most importantly, estimate the potential new mortgage payment and compare it to your current monthly payments to ensure it’s affordable.

Seeking Professional Help

Reaching out to a financial advisor or a mortgage broker can be beneficial. They can assist you with finding the best products for your situation and offer guidance on how to present your application to lenders in the most favorable light. Remember, they have expertise in refining your application, which might increase your chances of approval.

You may also seek the help of an experienced and reputable lender like Top Flite Financial if you’re seeking debt consolidation mortgage refinance. Their team of experts can provide you with tailored solutions to help you manage and consolidate your debt effectively. After reaching out to Top Flite Financial for assistance with debt refinance, their team of experts will work closely with you to evaluate your financial situation and create a customized plan that aligns with your goals. Through open communication and personalized attention, they will guide you through the process of consolidating your debt in a way that is manageable.

Contact Top Flite Financial today by answering a few simple questions to learn more about their debt refinance options and start working towards a brighter financial future.

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Common Requirements For A Debt Consolidation Mortgage

As aforementioned, you’ll generally need to meet these standard requirements to qualify for a debt consolidation mortgage:

  • Credit score: Generally, a score of at least 620 is needed for a conventional consolidation loan, though some programs, like an FHA cash-out refinance, may accept scores as low as 580. Higher credit scores could secure more favorable interest rates.
  • Home equity: Lenders typically require you to retain a certain percentage of equity post-refinance. You’ll often need at least 20 percent equity in your home to borrow against it, which ensures you have a vested interest in it.
  • Ability to repay the loan: As a borrower, you must provide evidence of your ability to repay the new loan. This means you’ll need to show proof of income (i.e., pay stubs, tax returns), an employment history, and an acceptable debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
  • Home appraisal: Lenders will also perform a home appraisal to verify the current value of your property. This helps them determine how much you can borrow in a debt consolidation loan.

Meeting these requirements doesn’t guarantee approval, as lenders will evaluate your overall financial picture, including your existing debts. Reach out to your potential lender to ensure you understand all the specific conditions attached to their loan products.

Is Debt Consolidation Mortgage Right For You?

Deciding whether a debt consolidation mortgage is suitable for your situation involves careful consideration of your financial situation, along with the pros and cons of these home loan products.

Be sure to assess your financial stability and the equity you’ve built in your home. You should also be comfortable with using your home as leverage and have the means to afford the new monthly mortgage payments.

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