Double Dealing: Unraveling the Mystery of Piggyback Loans

Piggyback Loans

In a financial world overflowing with jargon and complex terminologies, ‘Piggyback Loan’ stands out as both an intriguing and slightly playful term. But make no mistake—while its name might evoke a child’s game, a Piggyback Loan is a serious financial tool with potential benefits and pitfalls that every potential homeowner should understand. Dive in with us as we unravel the mysteries surrounding this loan structure.

What is a Piggyback Loan?

A Piggyback Loan is essentially a combination of two mortgages taken out simultaneously. Typically, a homebuyer takes out a primary mortgage for 80% of the home’s purchase price and a second one, the piggyback loan, to cover the part of the down payment they can’t afford. The most common structure is the 80-10-10, where the primary mortgage covers 80% of the home’s price, the piggyback loan covers 10%, and the final 10% comes as a down payment from the buyer.

The Allure of Piggyback Loans

So why would someone opt for two loans instead of one? Here are some compelling reasons:

  • Avoiding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Lenders typically require PMI when homebuyers can’t afford a 20% down payment. With a Piggyback Loan, buyers can circumvent this requirement, potentially saving a significant amount.
  • Greater Buying Power: For those hovering on the brink of affording their dream home, a Piggyback Loan can provide the necessary financial push.
  • Flexibility: Instead of being locked into a single loan structure, borrowers can potentially negotiate better terms or rates for their second loan.

Potential Pitfalls

While the advantages can be appealing, there are also downsides to consider:

  • Higher Interest Rates: The second loan usually comes with a higher interest rate than the primary mortgage.
  • More to Manage: Two loans mean two monthly payments, and potentially two different lenders. This can be a hassle and increase the risk of missed payments.
  • Risk of Negative Equity: If property values fall, you could end up owing more than your home is worth, as you’ve borrowed a higher amount.

Is a Piggyback Loan Right for You?

To determine if this type of loan is a good fit, consider the following factors:

  • Financial Stability: If you’re in a strong financial position with a stable income, you’re better poised to manage the complexities of two loans.
  • Market Trends: In a rising property market, the risks associated with negative equity diminish. Conversely, if the market is unstable or showing signs of a downturn, caution is advisable.
  • Long-term Goals: If you’re planning to stay in the home for a long time, the potential benefits like PMI savings might outweigh the risks. However, for shorter-term stays, the added complexities might not pay off.

Shopping for Piggyback Loans

If you’ve decided to explore this avenue, here’s how to proceed:

  • Research Lenders: Not all lenders offer Piggyback Loans. Start with your primary mortgage lender, but don’t hesitate to shop around.
  • Understand the Costs: Ensure you have a clear breakdown of all associated fees, not just the interest rate. This includes origination fees, potential penalties, and closing costs.
  • Negotiate: Everything is potentially negotiable, from interest rates to terms. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and doing so could save you thousands over the life of your loans.

Alternative Options

If you’re unsure about Piggyback Loans, consider these alternatives:

  • PMI: Yes, Private Mortgage Insurance is an added expense, but it’s temporary and can be removed once you have 20% equity in your home.
  • Larger Down Payment: If you can wait, saving for a larger down payment simplifies the home buying process.
  • Government-backed Loans: Loans like FHA or VA loans have lower down payment requirements and might be a good fit for some buyers.


In the vast world of mortgages, Piggyback Loans are a unique offering that can be both beneficial and complex. Like all financial decisions, it’s crucial to be informed, consider your personal circumstances, and consult with financial experts before diving in.

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