e-book Home Equity Loan: How to Get the Best Home Equity Loan Deal

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While many people use home equity loan products to remodel their homes or complete a major renovation project, other people tap into their home equity in order to make important repairs to their property such as adding a new roof or fixing a leaky basement. Still, there are plenty of other ways to use home equity to your advantage.

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Here are some possibilities to consider:. Which one should you get? Before deciding, make certain that you understand the differences between an equity loan and a home equity line of credit, as well as the various pros and cons. A home equity line of credit would make more sense if you need to borrow a smaller amount over a longer period of time.

For example, you might choose a HELOC to finance an ongoing series of modest home improvement projects. The results provide a rough estimate of how much you could expect to borrow, plus your loan ceiling. Download worksheet. But a lot would depend on your credit score and the value of your primary residence. Since your primary home would serve as collateral through a home equity loan, you could benefit by bypassing a lot of the closing costs and insurance fees that mortgages bring.

If your credit and income are strong, interest rates tend to be lower on your second home through a home equity loan. Otherwise, interest rates could be higher to ensure that lenders are covered if the borrower hits a bump in the road — in which case the borrower is much more likely to cease payments on the second home than the first. If you own your home outright and are interested in using a home equity loan as a down payment for the second, you could have some more flexible options as well.

The bad news is the lender will deduct the remainder of your loan from the ultimate sale. Refinancing directly affects your primary mortgage.

Home-Equity Loan Definition

Cash-out refinances allow you to take out a higher mortgage and receive the difference in cash. What kind of credit score do you need for the best rate on a loan or home equity line of credit? It may depend on the lender, your level of home equity, and other factors. The best rates on equity loans typically go to applicants with higher credit scores.

Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit – HELOC

Your lender may be willing to work with you even if your credit has a few minor dings or blemishes. In some cases, homeowners with bad credit may be able to get a loan or line of credit. Fortunately, you do have the power to raise your credit score. With some fiscal discipline and the right strategic steps, you could improve your credit score and, by extension, your chances of qualifying for the best home equity loan rate.

While some home equity lenders require minimum credit scores, not all do. It may be possible for some borrowers to get a home equity loan or HELOC with bad credit, but they probably will not get favorable interest rates. Not to mention that these loans are also secured by your property. If you have bad credit, consider one of the alternatives to equity loans. If you need to consolidate multiple debts, consider taking out a consolidation loan or a personal loan.

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score. While the tax law changes that passed in late initially left experts believing consumers could no longer deduct interest from home equity loan products on their taxes, we now know this is not the case.

According to the Internal Revenue Service IRS , homeowners can still deduct home equity interest — if they used the funds to build a home or substantially improve it. If you have a home equity loan, your best option is to pay down as much of the principal as possible. Reducing the principal will reduce the amount of interest you pay — even if the percentage remains the same.

What is Home Equity?

If your HELOC includes an interest-only draw period, then the most you can do is make monthly payments in full and on time. Attack the principal as much as possible, in order to reduce the amount of interest you owe. For example:.

In short, despite some recent increases , interest rates are still pretty favorable and rising home values could increase your borrowing power. Is now a good time to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit? A lot depends on your personal financial situation, your objectives and goals, and your tolerance for risk. More from Investor Toolkit: Should you pay off that mortgage before retirement?

Shopping for a Home Equity Loan: 6 Steps for Success

Choose carefully the 'trusted contact' your advisors ask for Company pensions may be making a comeback. The tax rules have changed. Under the new tax law, the home equity interest is only tax-deductible if you're using the money for home renovations on the property tied to the loan.

It may still make sense for you to use a HELOC for other purposes, such as debt consolidation or college tuition, but there's no longer a tax benefit to doing so. You'll need to shop around. Get a quote from your current lender, as well as from at least two others, including a credit union and an online bank. Use those quotes to negotiate to make sure that you're getting the best deal.

The typical HELOC has a year draw period in which you can take out money as you need it, paying interest only on the money you use. At the end of the draw period, you'll have a year repayment period on the outstanding principle. Since more HELOCs are variable-rate loans, you'll want to know the current interest rate as well as the lifetime cap — the maximum possible rate you'll pay if interest rates go up. There are real risks involved.

Open the Door to Your Home’s Equity

If you're unable to make payments, your lender could foreclose. While interest rates are relatively low now, they're on the rise. If you have a variable-rate loan, your monthly payment amount will go up along with interest rates. It could be significantly higher in 10 years when you must start repaying the principle.

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Minimize the impact of the rate increase on your budget by paying off principle before the rate resets. Also, while home prices have been on a tear in recent years, there's no guarantee they'll continue to rise. If the housing market falters and the value of your home declines, you could end up underwater, owing more than your home is worth. The more equity you keep in your home, the more protected you are against market fluctuations. While less common than HELOCs, home equity loans are another way of borrowing against the value of your home.

Also known as "second mortgages," home equity loans typically allow you to take out a onetime loan at a fixed rate. That fixed rate is higher than current HELOC rates, but you'll have payment certainty for the life of the loan. Another option is a cash-out refinance. This may make sense if the interest rate you're paying on your mortgage now is higher than current rates, but refinancing often carries higher fees and a more complicated application process than getting a HELOC. Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox. Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and services.

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