How Mortgage Debt Differs From Other Types of Debt | Elevate (2024)

Good debt vs. bad debt

Some types of debt are considered “better” than others and the distinction of whether they’re deemed “good” usually centers on benefits like these:

  • Builds or improves your credit.
  • Adds stability to your financial situation.
  • Grows in value and gives you the opportunity to build wealth.
  • Offers potential tax breaks.
  • Produces a return on your investment.

On the flip side, there are many forms of debt that people call “bad” debt. It’s generally the kind of debt that’s considered not as helpful generally include potential risks like these that may works against you:

  • Higher interest rates and less favorable terms, which increases your cost of borrowing.
  • Borrowing to pay for something that decreases in value.
  • Has unrealistic repayment plans.
  • Borrowing for avoidable discretionary spending
  • Raises your debt-to-income ratio too much.

Negatively affects your credit score.

Examples of good debt would include mortgages, home equity loans and HELOCs and, also to some extent, student loans. If you use a HELOC for home improvement, for example, you may still be able to deduct the interest if the money is used for improving your residence. HELOCs, just like your primary mortgage, are backed by your property. Student loans often come with lower interest rates and greater flexibility — plus investing in your education could boost your career opportunities and income (albeit at a cost).

Examples of “bad” debt could include longer-term auto loans (you’re buying a depreciating asset), credit cards (which levy high interest charges if balances are carried), certain kinds of personal loans and payday loans or title loans.

The Bottom Line

Not all debt is created equal. And the differences between good debt and bad debt aren’t always absolute. An unaffordable mortgage is probably a bad debt. On the other hand, a $900 loan to pay for your root canal is probably a good reason to borrow.

That said, having $100,000 in mortgage debt is very different from having $100,000 in credit card debt. The bottom line is that mortgage debt can deliver long-term financial gains at a lower cost of borrowing as you enjoy the benefits of homeownership and home value increases over time. Non-mortgage debt can also be beneficial if managed wisely, but it’s generally more costly and viewed less positively — and with higher risk — by lenders.

How Mortgage Debt Differs From Other Types of Debt | Elevate (2024)


How Mortgage Debt Differs From Other Types of Debt | Elevate? ›

Is a mortgage considered debt? A mortgage is a type of secured debt because the real estate you're financing is used as collateral against the loan. Non-mortgage debt is any other type of debt that's not secured by real estate, such as personal loans, student loans, auto loans and credit cards.

What is the difference between debt and mortgage? ›

What is difference between debt and mortgage? Debt is a broad term that encompasses all financial obligations, including loans, while a mortgage specifically refers to a legal agreement where property is used as collateral to secure a loan. Mortgages are a type of debt related to property loans.

What makes a mortgage different from other loans? ›

A loan refers to any type of debt and is a sum of money that is borrowed and then repaid over time, typically with interest. In contrast, a mortgage is a loan used to purchase property or land.

What are two reasons that a home mortgage would be a better type of debt than credit card debt? ›

Here are a few reasons why mortgages are different from other kinds of debt:
  • Having a mortgage can improve your credit score. ...
  • It's one of the lowest interest rate loans you'll ever get. ...
  • Mortgages get preferential tax treatment. ...
  • It's protected from interest rate volatility. ...
  • It's a safe emergency fund.

What type of debt is a mortgage? ›

Mortgages. Type of loan: Mortgages are installment loans, which means you pay them back in a set number of payments (installments) over an agreed-upon term (usually 15 or 30 years).

Why is a mortgage not considered debt? ›

Is a mortgage considered debt? A mortgage is a type of secured debt because the real estate you're financing is used as collateral against the loan. Non-mortgage debt is any other type of debt that's not secured by real estate, such as personal loans, student loans, auto loans and credit cards.

Is mortgage debt considered debt? ›

However, debts vary widely with regard to the way they work, their terms, and their impact on your financial health. Debt comes in several forms, including mortgages, student loans, credit cards, or personal loans, but most debt can be classified as secured or unsecured and as revolving or installment.

Is mortgage debt better than credit card debt? ›

Mortgages typically have far lower interest rates than credit cards do. If you're struggling with significant credit card debt, using your mortgage to help pay off your balances may lead to interest savings over time.

What is the difference between a debt and a loan? ›

Debt can involve real property, money, services, or other consideration. In corporate finance, debt is more narrowly defined as money raised through the issuance of bonds. A loan is a form of debt but, more specifically, an agreement in which one party lends money to another.

What are the three main types of mortgages? ›

Here are some of your options when it comes to accessing a mortgage. When purchasing a house, there are three main types of mortgages to choose from: fixed-rate, conventional, and standard adjustable rate.

What are the two bad types of debt? ›

Examples of bad debt include unchecked credit card debt and payday loans.

Which debt to pay first? ›

Prioritizing debt by interest rate.

This repayment strategy, sometimes called the avalanche method, prioritizes your debts from the highest interest rate to the lowest. First, you'll pay off your balance with the highest interest rate, followed by your next-highest interest rate and so on.

What are the two good types of debt? ›

Examples of good debt may include:
  • Your mortgage. ...
  • Student loans can be another example of “good debt.” Some student loans have lower interest rates compared to other loan types, and the interest may also be tax-deductible. ...
  • Auto loans can be good or bad debt.

Is a mortgage a debt or an asset? ›

A liability is a debt or something you owe. Many people borrow money to buy homes. In this case, the home is the asset, but the mortgage (i.e. the loan obtained to purchase the home) is the liability. The net worth is the asset value minus how much is owed (the liability).

What are mortgage debt instruments? ›

Mortgages. These debt instruments are used to finance the purchase real estate—a piece land, a home, or a commercial property. Mortgages are amortized over a certain period of time, allowing the borrower to make payments until the loan is paid off. Lenders also receive interest over the life of the loan.

Which type of debt is most often secured? ›

Common types of secured debt for consumers are mortgages and auto loans, in which the item being financed becomes the collateral for the financing. With a car loan, if the borrower fails to make timely payments, then the loan issuer can eventually acquire ownership of the vehicle.

Is a car payment considered debt? ›

Back-end DTI focuses on all of your monthly debt, not just housing. This could include your mortgage as well as auto loans, student loans, personal loans and credit cards. It does not include daily expenses such as groceries, utilities or medical bills (in many cases).

Is rent considered debt? ›

Rent is an expense of living which is normally paid monthly on the first day of the month. If you haven't paid your rent by the second day of the month, it would be considered a debt.

Can I have debt and buy a home? ›

Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

Your lender must confirm that you can pay your current debts and comfortably afford your monthly mortgage payment. If your DTI is too high, you may struggle to cover the monthly payment. Most lenders cap the DTI ratio at 50%. You likely won't qualify for a loan if your DTI is over 50%.


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