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Wrap-Around Mortgages Explained: Everything You Need To Know

Lauren Nowacki5-minute read

November 18, 2021

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When a buyer can’t qualify for a traditional mortgage, it can make for a rough sale for both the buyer and seller alike. While the situation may seem impossible, there may be another financing option for both parties to close the deal.

A wrap-around mortgage can get the buyer the financing needed to purchase the home, and can even make the seller a profit. However, there are several risks involved, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before using it to buy or sell a home.

Let’s take a closer look at wrap-around mortgages.

What Is A Wrap-Around Mortgage?

A wrap-around mortgage is a home loan that allows the seller to maintain their existing mortgage while the buyer’s mortgage “wraps” around the existing amount owed. As a type of secondary mortgage financing, wrap-around loans mean that the buyer will make monthly payments directly to the seller, often at a higher interest rate than the original mortgage.

How Does A Wrap-Around Loan Work?

In a typical real estate transaction, the buyer purchases the home with a mortgage provided by a mortgage lender. The seller then uses the proceeds of the sale to pay off their existing mortgage on the home.

With a wrap-around mortgage, the seller keeps the existing mortgage on the home, offers seller financing to the buyer and wraps the buyer’s loan into the existing mortgage. In this situation, the seller takes on the role of the lender.

The buyer and seller agree to a down payment and loan amount, sign a promissory note that lays out the terms of the mortgage and then the title and deed pass on to the buyer. Though the seller continues to make payments on the original mortgage, they no longer own the home.

The buyer pays the seller a monthly mortgage payment (usually at a higher interest rate), while the seller continues to pay their mortgage payment to the original lender. The wrap-around mortgage takes the position of a second mortgage, or junior lien. Because of this position, the original lender can still foreclose on the house if the seller fails to pay the existing mortgage.

The seller usually pays the original mortgage with the payments they receive from the buyer. Most wrap-around mortgages will have higher interest rates than a conventional mortgage, so the seller will typically make a profit from the second loan.

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Wrap-Around Mortgage Example

Here’s an example of how a wrap-around mortgage is used.

Michaela is selling her home for $160,000 and has an existing mortgage balance of $40,000 at a 4% fixed interest rate. She decides to finance a loan for the buyer, Alex, to purchase her home. Both Michaela and Alex agree to a $10,000 down payment and $150,000 wrap-around mortgage from the seller at a 6% fixed interest rate.

Alex pays Michaela monthly for the second mortgage, which Michaela uses to pay off her original mortgage and keeps the difference between the two payments. Thanks to the 2% difference in interest rates, Michaela makes a profit.

Why Would Someone Use A Wrap-Around Mortgage?

Making a profit is one reason a seller may agree to a wrap-around mortgage. Another reason is that these types of loans can help sellers who are having difficulty selling their homes. It helps open the pool of buyers by making the home accessible to those who don’t qualify for a traditional mortgage.

For buyers, this type of loan can be easier to qualify for and more flexible, helping them purchase a home that otherwise may be unattainable.

The Risks Of Wrap-Around Mortgages

While a wrap-around mortgage can benefit both parties, there are risks that buyers and sellers should consider before proceeding with this type of transaction.

It’s wise for both parties to work with an experienced real estate attorney, who can provide assistance through the process and reduce the risk for everyone involved.

For Buyers

As stated before, the original mortgage continues to be the primary loan. The wrap-around mortgage is a junior lien. That means if the seller stops making payments and goes into default on the existing mortgage, the original lender can foreclose on the buyer’s new property, meaning the buyer can lose their home, even if they’re current on their mortgage payments to the seller. Buyers can help prevent this risk by making their payments directly to the original lender, as long as their loan terms allow it.

For Sellers

First, there’s the legal risk. If the seller still has an existing mortgage, especially one that’s still relatively high, the original lender must agree to this secondary loan.

Most lenders require the loan to be paid in full once the home is sold and changes ownership. This would prevent the wrap-around mortgage from even happening. Before negotiating the terms of the loan or sale, sellers must review their original loan documents to make sure they’re even able to complete this type of real estate transaction.

Once they’re sure they can go forward with a wrap-around mortgage, they bear full responsibility for making sure the existing mortgage is paid. If the buyer stops making payments to them, the seller must use their own money to continue making the original mortgage payment.

Other Financing Options

If you’re a buyer who’s having trouble qualifying for a conventional loan or a seller having trouble finding buyers who qualify, there may be other financing options that can help.

FHA loans can be a great option for qualified home buyers who have lower credit scores or not much cash to close, as these loans have lower down payment and credit score requirements compared to other loans and often allow closing costs to be rolled into the loan.

VA loans for qualified active military or veterans often help buyers who don’t have the money for a down payment. These loans are some of the few that don’t require a down payment. These loans also usually have lower interest rates and don’t require private mortgage insurance (PMI).

USDA loans make purchasing a home in a qualified rural area more affordable by not requiring a down payment. Compared to a conventional loan, this loan option usually comes with a lower interest rate and lower-cost PMI, which you can roll into your loan amount.

The Bottom Line: Learn The Process Of Wrap-Around Mortgages

In a wrap-around mortgage situation, the buyer gets their mortgage from the seller, who wraps it into their existing mortgage on the home. The buyer becomes the owner of the home and makes their mortgage payment, with interest, to the seller. The seller uses that payment to pay their existing mortgage to the original lender.

Depending on the terms of the loan, the seller can make a profit from the difference in the two payments, the one to them and the one to their lender. This is typically done by the seller charging more interest on the wrap-around mortgage than the interest charged on the original mortgage.

This loan can be beneficial for both parties but comes with several risks. To mitigate those, the buyer and seller should work with an experienced real estate attorney.

Most homes are purchased through more traditional lending options. If you’re in the market for a new house and secure a mortgage with less risk from a reputable lender, get approved with Rocket Mortgage® to begin your home buying journey.

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Lauren Nowacki

Lauren Nowacki is a staff writer specializing in personal finance, homeownership and the mortgage industry. She has a B.A. in Communications and has worked as a writer and editor for various publications in Philadelphia, Chicago and Metro Detroit.