What Is a Wraparound Mortgage?

Wraparound Mortgages Explained

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A wraparound mortgage is a type of secondary financing where the buyer’s new mortgage "wraps" around the seller’s original home loan. The buyer makes mortgage payments directly to the seller, who pays their original lender.

A wraparound mortgage arrangement offers benefits for both the buyer and the seller. But there are risks involved. Learn more about how wraparound mortgages work and whether this type of home financing is right for you, whether you’re buying or selling.

Definition and Examples of a Wraparound Mortgage

A wraparound mortgage is a type of home loan where the buyer’s new mortgage essentially “wraps” around the seller’s original mortgage. It’s a type of secondary financing where the mortgage is provided by the seller rather than a traditional bank or mortgage lender.

As the buyer makes mortgage payments to the seller, the seller uses that money to continue paying off their original mortgage loan. However, the home now belongs to the buyer.

How a Wraparound Mortgage Works

In a standard home purchase, the buyer gets a loan from a bank or mortgage lender to pay for the property. The seller uses the money provided by the buyer to pay off their existing mortgage and is no longer involved with the property.

However, in this type of creative home financing, the seller retains their existing mortgage and offers seller financing. The new wraparound mortgage includes the balance of the original loan plus the additional funds required for the purchase.

The buyer then makes monthly payments to the seller, who uses some of that money to pay their original loan and keeps the rest. The seller often makes a profit because of the larger loan amount and also because wraparound mortgages typically charge higher interest rates.

For example, let's say you're looking to purchase a home and the seller offers a $200,000 wraparound mortgage with a 4% interest rate. The seller has $125,000 left on their mortgage with a 3% interest rate. If you agree to this wraparound mortgage, you’ll make your monthly payments directly to the seller, and they’ll continue making their payments to their mortgage lender. In this scenario, the seller makes a profit because your monthly payment is higher than theirs due to the differences in the interest rates and loan amounts.

Wraparound mortgages are typically junior liens, which means that if the seller defaults on their loan, the original lender can foreclose on the property—and the buyer could lose their home.

Wraparound Mortgage vs. Second Mortgage

Wraparound Mortgage Second Mortgage
The secondary loan includes the original loan amount plus an additional amount The secondary loan is in addition to the original mortgage loan
Used as a form of seller financing Typically used by homeowners to access their home equity
Not typically offered by lending institutions Typically offered by lending institutions in the form of a home equity loan or home equity line of credit

Pros and Cons of a Wraparound Mortgage

  • Easier to qualify for and more flexible for the buyer

  • Profitable for the seller

  • The original lender can foreclose even if the buyer is current

  • The seller must continue to make payments even if the buyer doesn't

  • Not all lenders allow wraparound mortgages

Pros Explained

  • Easier to qualify for and more flexible for the buyer: In general, seller financing can make it easier to get approved for a mortgage even if you can't qualify for a traditional loan. It may also give you more flexible loan terms than those you might get through a traditional lender.
  • Profitable for the seller: Sellers often charge higher interest rates on wraparound mortgages than what they're paying on their existing mortgage. Also, the wraparound loan amount is typically higher, so they can make a profit on the interest and the difference in the loan principal.

Cons Explained

  • The original lender can foreclose even if the buyer is current: A wraparound mortgage is a junior loan, which means that even if the buyer is making payments on time, the original lender can foreclose if the seller stops paying.
  • The seller must continue to make payments even if the buyer doesn't: If you've sold a home using a wraparound mortgage, you're still obligated to make your mortgage payments, even if the buyer stops paying you. Because their loan is a junior loan, they don't face the risk of foreclosure unless you stop making your payments. But missing your payments can damage your credit, which puts you in a tricky spot.
  • Not all lenders allow wraparound mortgages: Many mortgage lenders require sellers to pay off their mortgage when they sell the property, so a wraparound mortgage may not be an option for all sellers.

Is a Wraparound Mortgage Worth It?

A wraparound mortgage can have some solid benefits for both buyers and sellers. If you're a prospective buyer who’s struggling to qualify for a loan, a seller financing option like a wraparound mortgage can help you realize your dream of being a homeowner sooner than if you waited to improve your credit or save up a larger down payment.

But even if you make your payments on time, you face the risk of the seller defaulting on the original mortgage—in which case, you'll be kicked out of the home and it will go into foreclosure. To mitigate this risk, you can request to make your payments directly to the lender, but it's not always possible.

As a seller, a wraparound mortgage can provide a tidy profit, and if you're having trouble selling the home, this type of seller financing can open up more opportunities. However, you're still on the hook to make payments on the original mortgage, even if the buyer stops paying you. And while you won't be removed from the home if you default (since you already live elsewhere), it can damage your credit score and make it harder for you to qualify for other loans.

Before agreeing to a wraparound mortgage, both the buyer and seller should carefully weigh the risks of relying on the other to make their payments on time.

How To Get a Wraparound Mortgage

A wraparound mortgage is a form of seller financing, so you'll need to speak with the seller of the home you're interested in buying to see if it's an option.

Eligibility requirements can vary based on the seller's discretion and the terms of their mortgage, but it's generally easier to get approved for seller financing than for a traditional mortgage loan.

Key Takeaways

  • A wraparound mortgage is a type of secondary home loan provided by the seller.
  • The loan wraps around the original mortgage loan and typically has a higher loan amount and interest rate.
  • The buyer makes payments to the seller, and the seller continues to pay their original lender.
  • Wraparound mortgages can be easier to qualify for as a buyer and allow the seller to make a profit.
  • Both parties carry risk with this type of loan in the event that the other stops making payments.