Home Equity LoanUnderstanding the Basics and Advantages

By: Alan Lim

You may have heard the term home equity loan but are not really sure whether this type of loan will work for you. The first step is to understand the concept of home equity. Equity is the difference between the current appraised value of your home and the amount that is owed on the home. So, for example; if your home has recently appraised for $200,000 and you only owe $100,000 on it then you have $100,000 in equity in your home.

Many homeowners like the idea of taking out a home equity loan when they need to fund a home improvement or make some other type of purchase because they can often obtain the money they need at an interest rate that is lower than charging it to a credit card. In addition, there are also possible tax advantages as well.

When you take out a home equity loan you are taking out a second mortgage that gives you the ability to convert the equity in your home into cash. You can then spend that cash on any number of expenses including college education, medical expenses, debt consolidation, home improvements and much more.

You will generally need to decide whether you wish to take out a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. These two terms are different. A home equity loan provides you with a one time lump sum of money that you will then pay off over a specified period of time at an interest rate that is fixed. It is much like your first mortgage.

A home equity line of credit, commonly referred to as HELOC, is more similar to a credit card. Instead of receiving the sum of money at one time, you will then have the ability to borrow up to a specified amount of money for the duration of the loan. That time period is set by the lender. As you pay off the principal amount of the loan, you can once again use the credit. In this regard, a HELOC is much like a credit card.

There are advantages to both a home equity loan as well as a HELOC. Many homeowners prefer the flexibility of a line of credit over a fixed rate equity loan. If they do not need all of the money up front, they are able to maintain control over how much money they draw down from the loan. The disadvantage to a line of credit is that it frequently features an interest rate that is variable. This means that the payment amounts will vary based on the prevailing interest rate.

In most cases, the draw period for a line of credit is between five and ten years while the repayment period ranges between ten and fifteen years. You will usually be able to access the funds of a line of credit with a credit card, check or electronic transfer that can be ordered by phone. TypicallyFind Article, an initial advance is required when the loan is set up.

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