Ever feel lost when people talk about subjects like a home equity loan? It certainly does sound something like what you would hear on a business news show. But for every homeowner or someone considering property purchase, home equity is an important concept to grasp. It really isn’t very complicated either. Therefore, piror to understanding a home equity loan, let’s first talk about home equity.
What is home equity?
Equity can simply be understood as the monetary value of something you own after you deduct the amount of outstanding loan you have on it. For example, if your house is worth $200,000 and you owe your finance company $50,000, then the equity of your home would be $150,000. So basically, the more loans you clear on your home the greater equity it will have. A surge in the real estate market and prices of property also helps in adding on to your home equity.
What is a home equity loan?
Now that you have an idea of what a home equity is, let’s get into a home equity loan. Simply put, it is the process of taking a second mortgage on your home. For example, if your have recently bought a house for $200,000 on mortgage, a home equity loan will allow you to secure a second mortgage of 25% of your first mortgage, which would be $25,000 in this case. Depending on the lender, one may even be given as much as 80% of the original mortgage for their second mortgage.
Six key aspects to consider
1. First of all, issue a home equity loan only if you must. It is always better to not have any additional loans than the one you already posses.
2. If you do feel you need to secure a home equity loan, then you will generally need to have a great credit score since this loan is mostly given to those who are considered “qualified borrowers,” i.e. those who have a good track record of paying back on time what they have borrowed.
3. Keep in mind that apart from the credit score, your home itself will also be on the line as collateral with the lender. So defaulting on your loan could result in losing your home.
4. One good advantage of a home equity loan is the fact that the interest rate is generally lower than those of credit cards. So if you do need to borrow money through a credit card for something large, then this would be a less expensive option. But make sure you do a proper comparison of the cost of borrowing money with other options that you might have.
5. The interest you pay on your home equity loan is also tax deductible, which can be a huge benefit when you are cash strapped. But there are limitations to this, so look into it carefully.
6. Shop around. Don’t jump into the first option you see on being issued a home equity loan. Find out how you can get the best interest rate (fixed or adjustable) and read the fine print on your withdrawal limit.