what you need to know about Home Equity loans

Here’s what you need to know about Home Equity loans and Home Equity line of credit

We’re publishing our Top Stories from the Year as we enter the holiday season. We hope you enjoy.

You may be eligible to borrow against equity if you own your home. The average American homeowner has $216,000 worth of equity. This is a substantial amount that could open the door to funding for home improvement, education, and other purposes.

Before you decide to borrow against your home equity, make sure to understand the basics of how it works. You should also consider the fact that your home is at risk. This means that you need to ensure that the loan’s purpose is something you care about. This will allow you to determine if a loan for home equity, a line of credit for home equity (HELOC), or another product is right for your needs.

What is home equity?

Your home equity is the amount of your home’s worth that you don’t have to repay a lender. Your home equity is the sum of the home’s value and the remaining mortgages or mortgages owed. Let’s say your home has a market value of $200,000. Your mortgage balance would be $120,000. If you have $200,000 in equity, your home equity will be $120,000 = $80,000.

Home equity is built when you make a downpayment on a house. A larger downpayment means that you have more equity to start with. As you make mortgage payments, your equity will continue to grow. You can make additional mortgage payments to increase your equity. Your equity could grow if your home’s value increases. This can happen because your property is improved or the real estate market in your region heats up.

To borrow money, you can use equity as collateral. Borrowing against your home equity can be cheaper than getting an unsecured loan, or buying on a credit card.

Home equity loans

A home equity loan is one way to tap into your home equity. Your credit score and income will impact the amount of money you can borrow. The amount you can borrow is usually limited to 85% of your equity. The money is paid in one lump sum. After that, you will make monthly payments until the loan is repaid. Your home is the collateral for the loan. The lender can claim title to your property if you fail to pay the loan. Fixed interest rates are common for home equity loans.

Fixed rate loans have the same interest rate throughout the loan period, while variable rate loans will change over time. Fixed rate loans are best for those who want predictability. Variable rate loans, on the other hand, may offer lower interest rates at initial and are a great option for short-term financing.

Compare a home equity loan to a cash-out refinance

You can cash-out refinance your mortgage by taking out a loan that is larger than your existing mortgage. The new loan is used to pay off your mortgage. You then receive the remaining cash in cash. The new mortgage is then paid monthly.

If you want to modify the terms of your mortgage (e.g., lower interest rate or longer loan term), you might prefer a cash out refinance over a home equity loan. If you are unable to qualify for a better term refinance or you want to avoid the higher closing costs associated with a mortgage refinance, you may want to consider a home equity loan.

Credit lines for home equity

A HELOC is a credit line that’s secured by your house. A credit limit is set and you can borrow multiple times if your limit is not exceeded. HELOCs are often subject to a draw period. This is when you can borrow money and pay interest. You may need to repay all of the debt within the draw period. Or, you might be able to make smaller payments over a repayment period.

Checks or credit cards can be issued by your lender to you in order to access funds from your HELOC. HELOCs are often offered with variable interest rates. As such, the cost of borrowing from a HELOC may fluctuate over time.

How to choose between a home equity loan and a HELOC

HELOCs and home equity loans are similar because they allow you to borrow against your home equity. To apply for one, you will need to give information about your income as well as your mortgage. Borrowers often use them for other purposes.

Home equity loans give you cash in one lump sum. This is a great option if you are looking for money to pay off a large purchase. Let’s say you want to buy all new kitchen appliances. You might consider a home equity loan to get the appliance you want at once. The fixed repayments can be budgeted easily.

A HELOC, on the other hand, can be used multiple time during the draw period. This gives you more flexibility. This is a benefit if you have ongoing expenses or don’t know how much money you will need. If you are remodeling your garage, for example, you might hire a contractor to do the flooring, then buy and install new cabinets and finally hire a painter. You can borrow what you need at each stage of the project with a HELOC so that you don’t have the burden of estimating all costs upfront.

More information on personal finance topics

Visit the Learning Center at TD Bank to learn more about home equity loans and home equity lines credit, as well as other topics related to personal finance.

We hope that you find this useful. This content does not provide financial, legal, tax, investment or advice. It also is not meant to suggest that a specific TD Bank product or service might be right for you. Talk to a qualified professional for advice specific to your particular circumstances.

Related Articles: