5 Risky Mortgage Types to Avoid

Owning a home provides a sense of security, stability, and an investment opportunity. Many people finance their homes with mortgages to achieve this ambition. While mortgages are a common and often necessary financial tool, not all mortgage types are created equal.

5 Risky Mortgage Types to Avoid
5 Risky Mortgage Types to Avoid

Some mortgage options come with a higher degree of risk and can lead to financial pitfalls if not thoroughly understood. In this article, we will look at 5 risky mortgage types to avoid and it would be best if you read on for further enlightenment.

What Makes a Mortgage Risky?

Mortgages pose higher risks when their terms create uncertainty for both the lender and borrower regarding successful repayment. One prevalent reason for borrowers defaulting on their loans is the frequent inability to make monthly payments, often due to income reduction or their mortgage arrangement permitting interest rate or monthly payment hikes beyond the borrower’s financial means. This occurs when borrowers can no longer manage the increased financial burden imposed by their mortgage terms.

5 Risky Mortgage Types to Avoid

Here are 5 risky mortgage types to avoid;

Adjustable-rate Mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) initially offer a stable interest rate, commonly referred to as a teaser rate, for a set period, which can range from six months to a decade. This initial rate is typically lower than the interest rate attached to a 15- or 30-year fixed mortgage. Subsequently, after this initial term, the interest rate adjusts at regular intervals, which can be annually, semi-annually, or even monthly.

However, loans with fixed interest rates for shorter durations than their overall terms pose a significant risk due to potential interest rate fluctuations. If interest rates rise, your monthly mortgage payments will increase, potentially creating an additional financial burden that may become unsustainable depending on your financial situation at the time. This unpredictability is particularly concerning for individuals with fixed incomes or those who do not anticipate substantial income growth.

Interest-only Mortgages

Borrowers who choose interest-only mortgages have access to a special payment structure that allows them to pay just the interest on the loan for a specified period, usually between five and ten years. Borrowers are temporarily excused from making any principal payments during this interest-only period, which could initially sound enticing. But it’s crucial to examine the risks involved, especially as the mortgage moves from this early stage to a more traditional amortizing arrangement that includes both principal and interest payments.

The minimal equity accumulation during the initial interest-only period is one of the major hazards associated with interest-only mortgages. Borrowers could find themselves in a situation where they have made payments but not considerably decreased the balance they owe due to no contribution to the loan’s principal.

Balloon Mortgage

Balloon mortgages demand relatively modest monthly payments over a short period, usually five to seven years.  However, what sets them apart is the substantial “balloon payment” demand that is payable after the term. This significant lump sum may put a burden on borrowers, possibly requiring a refinance or property sale.

Managing balloon mortgages becomes more difficult due to financial uncertainty, which makes long-term planning difficult. They restrict equity accumulation, similar to interest-only mortgages, which disadvantages people looking for stable home ownership. while balloon mortgages offer short-term affordability, the looming balloon payment, coupled with financial unpredictability and minimal equity growth, requires careful consideration and financial planning.

Subprime Mortgage

These loans frequently have high interest rates and fees and are intended for customers with bad credit or little income. While subprime mortgages can offer a path to homeownership for people who might not be eligible for conventional mortgages, they come with several risks.

Subprime mortgage borrowers are more likely to fall behind on their payments, which may lead to foreclosure and harm to their credit. High-interest rates can also have significant long-term implications. When considering subprime mortgages, prospective homeowners should exercise caution and look into other financing choices, such as enhancing their creditworthiness.

Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages, primarily targeted at seniors aged 62 and above, present an avenue for accessing home equity. Homeowners have the option of receiving recurring payments, a lump sum, or a line of credit under these financial agreements. But when the homeowner sells the house, moves, or dies, the loan balance becomes due.

Reverse mortgage risks include progressive interest accrual over time, which could reduce a homeowner’s equity. Additionally, these loans frequently result in a significant reduction in the inheritance that the heirs could get, which affects the legacy left behind. Reverse mortgages also have complicated conditions and fees that might be difficult to understand, which could lead to unanticipated financial commitments.


While mortgages are a common and often necessary means of achieving homeownership, it’s crucial to understand the risks associated with various mortgage types. Mortgages all carry their own set of risks that, if not carefully considered, can lead to financial difficulties.

Before committing to a mortgage, it is critical to conduct thorough research and consult with a reputable financial advisor to make an informed decision that corresponds with your financial objectives and circumstances. Remember that homeownership should be a source of financial stability and security, not a path to financial stress.



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