Home equity loans are heavily marketed by lenders because owning your own home is a sign of stability and responsibility. Lenders know that you have worked hard to get your home and are probably not going to put yourself in danger of losing your home by not making the payments, so lending money with your home as collateral is not as big a risk for the lender. A home equity loan is a loan that allows you to tap into the equity of your home.
The equity you have in your home is the difference between the value of the home and the amount you owe on it. So if you have a $100,000 home and your mortgage balance is $60,000, then you have $40,000 in equity. You may be able to get a home equity loan or home equity line of credit against this amount. A home equity line of credit is a lot like a home equity loan, except that you draw against the credit line as you need it. That way, you only have to pay interest on the amount you have actually used.
A home equity loan can be fairly simple to obtain. However, it does take a little time. Since you are borrowing against the value of your house, you will need to get an appraisal to convince the bank that the house is worth what you think. There are some good reasons to consider getting a home equity loan, and there are also some bad ones. You should not use funds from a home equity loan to buy a fancy sports car or go on an expensive vacation. You are putting your home at risk with this loan, so make sure that the benefits will outweigh the risks.
Here are some reasons you might consider getting a home equity loan:
1) To consolidate debt. You can use a home equity loan to pay off your credit cards and car payments. This usually results in a lower total monthly payment, which can be a huge help if you are struggling to make your payments. The interest on the home equity loan may also be tax deductible. However, make sure you don’t pay off your debts and then go right out and start charging again. You’ll be right back in the same situation in no time, this time with no equity left to borrow against.
2) To make improvements on your home. Home improvements can help increase the value of your home, so you may be able to recoup some of the cost when you eventually sell your home. Using the money from a home equity loan to add a bedroom, bathroom or garage, or even to modernize the kitchen, can be improvements that will pay for themselves in the long run.
3) Finance your children’s education. If you need to, you can use money borrowed against the equity in your home to help pay the costs of your children’s college education. Make sure you apply for financial aid first though. There’s no point in paying more than you have to.
4) Purchasing a car. Yes, you can use a home equity loan to buy a car. This will often get you a better rate than you would get on a regular car loan. However, this is not always the case. Car dealerships often offer special rates on cars they are trying to get rid of. Check around before making a decision to borrow against your home for a car. Make sure you really need the car and can afford the payments before using your home equity loan to finance it.
Home equity loans are available through most banks and other lending institutions. There are plenty of lenders that will even allow you to apply online, making it even easier to get access to the funds you need.