Piggyback Loans: A Creative Solution to Navigate California’s Real Estate Market


In the face of California’s high property prices, prospective homebuyers often look for creative financing solutions to navigate the market. One such innovative tool is the piggyback loan. This article aims to demystify piggyback loans, helping you understand their benefits, considerations, and whether they might be the right solution for your homeownership journey.

Understanding Piggyback Loans

A piggyback loan, also known as an 80-10-10 loan, involves taking out two mortgages simultaneously when buying a home. The first mortgage covers 80% of the home’s value, the second loan covers another 10%, and the remaining 10% is covered by the homebuyer’s down payment.

The primary purpose of a piggyback loan is to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is typically required when the down payment is less than 20% of the home’s value. By splitting the mortgage into two loans, borrowers can meet the 20% threshold without having to provide a significant down payment.

Benefits of Piggyback Loans

Avoiding PMI

The most compelling advantage of a piggyback loan is the ability to avoid PMI, which can be a significant monthly expense. PMI usually ranges from 0.5% to 1% of the entire loan amount annually. By using a piggyback loan, you could save hundreds of dollars each month.

Lower Down Payment

By taking out a second loan, you can put down less money upfront while still avoiding PMI. This feature can be advantageous in a state like California, where home prices are notoriously high.

Potential Tax Benefits

Depending on your specific financial situation, the interest paid on both loans may be tax-deductible. Consult a tax advisor to fully understand these potential benefits.

Considerations for Piggyback Loans

Higher Interest Rates

The second mortgage in a piggyback loan often comes with a higher interest rate than the first. This increased rate reflects the higher risk for the lender, as the second loan is subordinate to the first in the event of default.

More Complexity

Piggyback loans can add complexity to the home buying process, as you’ll have to manage two separate loans and make two separate payments each month.

Risk of Underwater Mortgage

If home values decrease, you could potentially owe more than your home is worth because you made a smaller down payment. This situation is known as being “underwater” on your mortgage.

Role of a Mortgage Broker

Securing a piggyback loan requires understanding various factors, such as comparing interest rates, calculating potential PMI costs, and understanding your overall financial health. A mortgage broker can provide invaluable assistance in navigating this process. They can help identify suitable lenders, assist with the application process, and provide personalized advice based on your unique situation.

Expanding Your Financing Horizons with Piggyback Loans

Homeownership in California can sometimes seem out of reach due to the state’s high property values. However, with tools like piggyback loans, that dream can become a reality. Such financial solutions require a good understanding of the real estate market and a solid grasp of personal finance, but they can provide a viable alternative to traditional mortgage arrangements.

Navigating this complexity is made easier with the guidance of a mortgage broker. They can provide a broader view of the mortgage landscape, helping you understand how different loan structures can impact your finances in the long term.


Piggyback loans offer an innovative strategy for aspiring homeowners to navigate California’s expensive real estate market. While they come with unique benefits, such as avoiding PMI and lowering your down payment, they also present certain challenges, such as higher interest rates and additional complexity.

As with any mortgage decision, it’s essential to fully understand your options and seek professional advice. A mortgage broker can provide expert guidance, ensuring that your pathway to homeownership aligns with your financial goals and circumstances. Remember, securing a home loan is not just about buying a house—it’s about investing in your future.


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