Real Estate

How to Buy a Second Home With No Down Payment

By Tom Burchnell
buy second home no down payment

Wondering how to buy a second property with no money down? Explore the possibilities further in our comprehensive guide.

Buying your first home is one of life’s biggest milestones, and a lot goes into achieving it. But after you’ve made a large down payment, begun making your home loan payments, and poured extra money into upgrades and repairs, you might start to wonder if there’s a way to relive the magic with a second house.

Whether you’re daydreaming of a vacation home or an investment property, you might want to know how to afford a second home or how to buy a second home with no down payment. 

If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this short guide, we’ll go over how to buy a second home without putting money down. As a homeowner, you have options, like a home equity loan alternative —but it’s important to know the risks and benefits of each as you start your search for a second property.

Can I Buy a Second Home Without a Down Payment?

The first question we have to answer is whether it’s even possible to buy a second property without a down payment. The short answer is yes. However, you can’t just walk into a bank and ask for a mortgage without a down payment requirement  (well, you can, but chances are you won’t get a positive response). 

The reality is that when we talk about how to buy a second home with no down payment, what we’re really talking about is how to buy a new home without having to take cash out of your savings. This approach can be particularly appealing for those interested in real estate investing, as it allows for the acquisition of a rental property with minimal upfront capital.

Your options for buying a second real estate property will depend on factors other than the balance in your checking and savings accounts. These include:

  • Credit score – Your mortgage lender will check your credit score to determine the risk of loaning you money for your second property investment. You’ll likely need a score over 700 before a loan officer will consider giving you a second home mortgage.
  • Debt-to income ratio – Your debt-to-income ratio is another factor lenders use to determine whether to lend you money. The lower the ratio, the better. If yours is too high, you’ll either need to pay down some debt or find a way to raise your income before you’re likely to be approved for a loan.

If these factors both look good, you’re in a positive spot to secure a new and conventional mortgage. Next, we’ll look at some of the ways you can finance your down payment.

4 Ways to Buy a Second Home with No Down Payment

Finding a bank that will lend out money without a 20% down payment can be a difficult road. 

Thankfully, your home equity gives you options for making a down payment. 

Below, we’ll look at the pros and cons of four popular methods for providing the down payment required for your new mortgage loan, keeping in mind the total purchase price of your second home.

1. Home Equity Financing

Tapping into the equity of your current home can give you access to cash. Wondering how to use home equity for a second property? Two such ways you can do this are:

  • A HELOC – A home equity line of credit (or HELOC) allows you to turn the equity in your current home into credit. Unlike traditional credit, HELOCs generally have a lower APR since they are backed by the equity in your current house. You can use this credit to provide the down payment for your second home.
  • A Home Equity Loan – Similar to a HELOC, a home equity loan can provide you with cash for the equity you have in your current home. Unlike a HELOC, this cash is not in the form of a line of credit but is rather a lump sum loan which you will have to pay back. It thus functions as a “second mortgage” on your first home. This option can be particularly useful if you’re considering a home equity loan for debt consolidation, allowing you to manage your finances more effectively while also preparing for the purchase of your second home. However, if you’re looking for a home equity loan alternative, especially if you’re concerned about additional debt or the risks of a second mortgage, you might want to consider other options like a sale-leaseback program.

While both of these payment assistance options can work well to provide you with upfront cash to cover your down payment, you do need to be careful. Several risks factors apply:

  • Both home loan types are subject to a payment mortgage lender approval, so factors such as credit and DTI will play a major role in whether these options are available to you and what interest rate you’ll pay.
  • Taking out an equity loan isn’t exactly free. You’ll need to pay closing costs and appraisal fees. If you don’t have cash on hand to cover these costs, you may be able to roll them into your equity loan. Keep in mind that means paying interest on the additional sum.
  • Because these loans use your first home as collateral, failure to pay them back could lead to foreclosure proceedings and the loss of that home.

2. Cash-Out Refinancing

Another payment assistance option that is similar to the above is a cash-out refinance.

Wondering how to do a cash-out refinance? A cash-out refinance replaces your existing mortgage rate with a new loan for a larger amount. Since this mortgage loan comes with new terms, it could potentially carry a lower interest rate, lower monthly mortgage payment, or a longer repayment period. You’ll have less equity in your first home, but the extra cash out will enable you to make a minimum down payment in a second.

In an ideal world, your refinance will allow you to access more favorable and conventional loan terms. However, there are potential disadvantages to consider:

  • Poor terms – The goal is to find a lower mortgage rate than you presently pay. However, changing market conditions, a low credit score, or diminished income could have the opposite effect. You may end up with more interest and a higher monthly payment for your new home purchase.
  • Taking on debt – While this option does free up cash you can use to purchase a second house, you’ll owe more on your first house. Since you’ll also begin a new repayment period (often 30 years), you may be in debt for longer than you would have with your original mortgage.

3. Government-Backed Loans

Government-backed loans make it possible for some homeowners to purchase homes without a downpayment.

To use these, you will have to meet all eligibility requirements. The type of loans you may be eligible for include:

  • USDA loans – A USDA loan is a 0% down loan that is given on certain USDA eligible tracts of land. Most of these locations will be in rural areas, though some are also available in suburban locations. However, a USDA loans must usually be used on a primary residence, so your new home may need to become your primary residence, making your current home into a secondary home. This could affect the terms of your current mortgage.
  • VA loans – Current or former members of the military may be eligible for a VA loan for second homes, which is also 0% down. Check the service time requirements to find out if you are eligible for a VA loan.

An FHA loan is typically associated with first-time home buyer programs, but a second FHA loan can also be used to buy another real estate property. There are many different types of FHA loans, and while most require a 3.5% down payment option, an FHA loan can still make it possible to buy a second home with a low amount of money down.

4. Sale-Leaseback

Want to access your equity without taking on more debt? A sale-leaseback program makes it possible to convert your home equity into cash which you can then use to purchase your second home. 

The benefits of a sale-leaseback offer you a few advantages when purchasing your second home, including:

  • The ability to make a strong offer – In today’s competitive market, nothing beats cash. Likewise, sellers often expect buyers to sacrifice traditional contingencies (for example, the option to back out of the deal without a penalty if your first home doesn’t sell). Since a sale-leaseback program removes the mortgage on your primary home from the equation, you’ll have cash-on-hand and zero risk of ending up with two mortgages.
  • No interest – Most of the above options effectively add to your debt—and you’ll need to pay interest on the borrowed money. In contrast, selling your home allows you to pay off your mortgage and access earnest cash. That’s less debt and less interest.
  • No risk of foreclosure – Since a sale-leaseback solution isn’t a loan, you won’t risk foreclosure. You simply stay on as a renter until you’re ready to relocate.

What to Consider

Now that you know how to buy a second home without a down payment, the next step is choosing the right option.

Before you start browsing listings, you need to take an honest look at your finances. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much can you afford to make in a monthly mortgage payment?
  • How much debt are you comfortable taking on (related to the cost of the home, property tax, and more)?
  • Could you stay current on all your debt if you lost your job?
  • How will taking on a second mortgage affect your retirement plan?
  • Is leasing one home a more practical option?

Weigh the pros and cons of each option against your financial situation to arrive at the best solution.

Get the Cash You Need with a Sale-Leaseback

Your home is probably one of the most valuable things you own. Being able to access your home’s value can be useful whether you’re buying a second home, thinking of moving, or just doing renovations that require cash. Sale-leaseback programs allow you to convert your home’s equity while staying in your home.

If you’re ready to turn your home’s equity into cash, consult a financial advisor to learn more.

Key Takeaways

Looking to purchase a second home but wondering how you can do so without the funds for a down payment? Learn more about your options in this guide. If you are still unsure of alternative options to purchase a second home and secure funds for a down payment after reading this article, consult a financial advisor to discuss your options.

This article is published for educational and informational purposes only. This content is based on research and/or other relevant articles and contains trusted sources, but does not express the concerns of EasyKnock. Our goal at EasyKnock is to provide readers with up-to-date and objective resources on real estate and mortgage-related topics. Our content is written by experienced contributors in the finance and real-estate space and all articles undergo an in-depth review process.


  1. Chase. How to get a mortgage on a second home. 
  2. Chase. Beginner’s guide to cash-out refinance. 
Second Home
Vacation Home
Tom Burchnell
Written by Tom Burchnell
Director of Product Marketing

This article is published for educational and informational purposes only. This article is not offered as advice and should not be relied on as such. This content is based on research and/or other relevant articles and contains trusted sources, but does not express the concerns of EasyKnock. Our goal at EasyKnock is to provide readers with up-to-date and objective resources on real estate and mortgage-related topics. Our content is written by experienced contributors in the finance and real-estate space and all articles undergo an in-depth review process. EasyKnock is not a debt collector, a collection agency, nor a credit counseling service company.