What Is a Wrap-Around Mortgage?

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 What Is a Wrap-Around Mortgage?

A wrap-around mortgage, often simply referred to as a “wrap mortgage,” is a type of secondary financing for the purchase of real property. Under this arrangement, a seller with an existing mortgage (a mortgage is a security interest in real property held by a lender as a guarantee of repayment of a loan) lends the buyer the difference between the purchase price and the existing mortgage’s balance. The buyer agrees to make monthly payments to the seller based on this larger, “wrapped” amount.

Essentially, the seller becomes the mortgage lender, and the original mortgage remains in place. The payments the buyer makes to the seller are then used to cover the existing mortgage payment and provide profit for the seller.

What Are Some Advantages and Disadvantages of Wrap-Around Mortgages?

Wrap-around mortgages have gradually gained traction in the real estate market, particularly among sellers and buyers who prefer a more personalized approach to financing. This mortgage structure allows both parties to bypass some of the traditional constraints of real estate transactions, offering a host of benefits. Let’s dive deeper into these advantages.

Seller Financing Opens Doors to More Buyers

One of the most significant benefits of a wrap-around mortgage is the opportunity it provides for seller financing. With this model, sellers take on the role of a lender, offering direct financing solutions to potential buyers. This approach can be particularly beneficial in markets where buyers may struggle to secure traditional financing. By extending financing options, sellers can attract a broader range of potential purchasers. This includes those who might not meet conventional lending criteria.

A Profitable Venture for Sellers

Beyond merely facilitating the sale of a property, wrap-around mortgages present an avenue for sellers to maximize their returns. As they step into the shoes of a lender, sellers can charge interest on the amount they finance to the buyer. Often, the interest rate they set can be competitive, if not higher, than what they are paying on their original mortgage. This differential can translate to additional income over the life of the wrap-around mortgage.


In a traditional real estate transaction, terms are often dictated by external factors like prevailing market rates, bank policies, and broader economic conditions. Wrap-around mortgages, on the other hand, offer a refreshing degree of flexibility. Since the agreement is primarily between the buyer and seller, both parties have the liberty to negotiate terms that best suit their individual needs. Be it the interest rate, payment schedule, or duration of the mortgage, there’s room for tailored solutions that might not be feasible in standard mortgage setups.

A Potential Reduction in Closing Costs

Anyone who has navigated the traditional real estate landscape knows that closing costs can quickly add up. From appraisal fees to lender charges, these expenses can take a chunk out of a buyer’s budget.

However, wrap-around mortgages can provide relief in this area. Since this type of mortgage might bypass traditional lenders, many of the customary closing cost fees may either be significantly reduced or eliminated altogether. This saving can make property acquisition more affordable for the buyer and enhance the appeal of the property from a selling standpoint.


While wrap-around mortgages offer several benefits that can make them attractive to both buyers and sellers, they are not without their challenges. Like all financial agreements, they come with inherent risks and potential downsides. Understanding these can help potential participants make informed decisions. Here’s a closer look at the disadvantages that might arise in wrap-around mortgage scenarios.

The Underlying Risk for Buyers

The most immediate concern for buyers revolves around the security of their investment. In a wrap-around mortgage arrangement, the buyer’s stake in the property is inherently tied to the seller’s commitment to servicing the original mortgage. If, for any reason, the seller fails to make payments on this primary loan, the original lender can foreclose on the property. This can be catastrophic for the buyer, who may lose their home despite having been consistent in their payments to the seller. Essentially, the buyer’s security is, to some extent, hinged on the seller’s financial responsibility and diligence.

Due-on-Sale Clauses

One contractual detail that can trip up unwary participants is the due-on-sale clause. Common in many standard mortgage agreements, this provision states that if the borrower (the seller, in the context of a wrap-around mortgage) sells the property, the full balance of the original mortgage becomes due immediately. This clause can be activated when setting up a wrap-around mortgage, leading to a potentially sizable financial burden for the seller. This sudden demand for full payment can destabilize the entire transaction and pose a clear risk for both parties.

Interest Rate Considerations

While wrap-around mortgages offer flexibility in terms of setting interest rates, this freedom can sometimes work to the buyer’s disadvantage. Depending on market conditions and the negotiation dynamics between the buyer and seller, the buyer might find themselves agreeing to an interest rate that is higher than what’s currently available in the broader market. This discrepancy can lead to increased costs over the life of the mortgage.

Potential Delays in Building Equity

Equity – the portion of the property that the buyer truly “owns” – is a crucial consideration in any real estate investment. In wrap-around mortgage arrangements, since buyers are effectively servicing the seller’s original mortgage, their progress in building equity can be slower. Until the original mortgage’s principal is significantly reduced or paid off, the buyer may find that their equity in the property grows at a sluggish pace.

Are Wrap-Around Mortgages the Same As Second Mortgages?

No, wrap-around mortgages and second mortgages are different. While both involve a secondary loan, a wrap-around mortgage encompasses both the new and original loan amounts, making the seller the lender. In contrast, a second mortgage is a separate loan taken out on a property’s equity that stands alongside the primary mortgage but doesn’t encompass or “wrap” it.

Are Wrap-Around Mortgages Legal?

With their unique structure and benefits, wrap-around mortgages often lead prospective participants to question their legal standing. Wrap-around mortgages are indeed legal instruments in many places. These financial agreements have been used to facilitate property sales, especially in situations where traditional lending might not be the optimal solution.

However, the scope and acceptance of wrap-around mortgages are not universal. Different jurisdictions may have specific laws, regulations, and guidelines that influence the execution and enforceability of wrap-around mortgages. It’s crucial for buyers and sellers to be aware of the state and local regulations that apply to their property transactions. Some states might be more accommodating of wrap-around mortgages, while others could have restrictions or additional requirements in place.

For example, Texas has enacted a law that regulates wrap-around mortgage loans and requires the seller to be licensed or registered as a residential mortgage loan originator or lender. The law also mandates certain disclosures, reporting, and escrow requirements for wrap-around transactions. The purpose of the law is to protect consumers from predatory lending practices and ensure compliance with federal and state laws.

On the other hand, Louisiana has a law that exempts wrap-around mortgages from the application of the laws on usury and interest upon interest, as long as the interest rate of the wrap-around mortgage is not higher than the rate allowed for conventional mortgages. The law also provides that the wrap-around mortgage shall not be considered a novation or extinguishment of the original mortgage unless expressly agreed by the parties.

Do I Need an Attorney for Issues With a Wrap-Around Mortgage?

It’s highly recommended to consult an attorney when dealing with complex financial transactions like wrap-around mortgages. An attorney can help ensure that the agreement is legally sound, rights are protected, and any potential risks are thoroughly addressed.

If you’re facing issues or have concerns about wrap-around mortgages, don’t wait. Find a qualified mortgage lawyer through LegalMatch today to get the guidance you need.

Save Time and Money - Speak With a Lawyer Right Away

  • Buy one 30-minute consultation call or subscribe for unlimited calls
  • Subscription includes access to unlimited consultation calls at a reduced price
  • Receive quick expert feedback or review your DIY legal documents
  • Have peace of mind without a long wait or industry standard retainer
  • Get the right guidance - Schedule a call with a lawyer today!

16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer