A home equity loan gives you the financial power to do a lot of things that you may not be able to do otherwise. By tapping into the equity in your home, you have access to possibly many tens of thousands of dollars - depending on how long you have lived there. But, with the right planning, there are some uses for that home equity that may result in much higher long-term dividends than others. Here is what you need to know about a home equity loan.
The longer you have lived in your home - the more equity you have built up in it. If you are fortunate enough to live in an area that is rapidly increasing in value - as some areas are, then your home could provide you with a lot of equity. Several types of home equity loans will quickly give you access to it. The different types of loans that can help you the most are those that best fit in with your own plans.
You may be able, for instance, to refinance your first mortgage and get a much better deal - and get access to your equity, too. Primarily, this would be with a cash out mortgage. You simply refinance your mortgage for a lower interest rate on what you still owe, and then add to it how much you want to take out of your equity. At the same time, if you take about 5 years off of the length of the original terms, you can save tens of thousands of dollars more.
Another way is to get a second mortgage. This usually comes in the form of what is typically called a home equity loan, or you can also get a home equity line of credit. Both of these will give you access to your equity, but will also require an additional payment each month. A home equity loan is a straight lump sum loan, while a home equity line of credit gives you a little more flexibility by allowing you to withdraw only the amount of cash you need from an account with a pre-approved credit limit. You also will only pay interest on the amount you withdraw.
Any of these options will give you access to your equity, and you are free to use the money as you wish in any of them. You can take that fantastic trip you've always wanted to go to Hawaii or to the Bahamas, you can pay for a college education with it, medical bills, and even consolidate some of your other debt. These choices, however, may not be your best option.
Your best option is to take at least some of the money and reinvest it into your home by making renovations, improvements, or additions to your home. The renovations that add the most to a home is modernizing a kitchen with high tech devices and appearance, a bathroom, or an additional room. Each of these, along with many other things, can greatly increase the value of your home - and give you even more equity.
Besides the benefit of adding to the value and equity of your home, home improvements are also tax deductible, which gives you even more savings. Before you make any renovations or additions, though, be sure to check with your local Realtor, or contractor, to discover what construction style or materials will bring the most value. Not everything you do will increase its worth, so it will pay to find out in advance.
When you go to look for a home equity loan, be sure to get several different quotes. This will allow you to compare the features and get a good idea of what is available. Stay away from any loan that has a penalty for paying it off early.