About Equity Debt

Your home is your castle and sometimes it’s also your bank. The equity in your home - the current appraised value minus the amount owed on the house - can be tapped through loans at lower interest rates than credit cards. Let us know the types of home equity debt and the pitfalls of each below.

A home equity loan or line of credit allows you to borrow money, using your home’s equity as collateral.

A home equity loan (or line of credit) is a second mortgage that lets you turn equity into cash, allowing you to spend it on home improvements, debt consolidation, college education or other expenses.

There are two types of home equity debt, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, also known as HELOCs. Both are sometimes referred to as second mortgages, because they are secured by your property, just like the original, or primary, mortgage.

Home equity loans and lines of credit usually are repaid in a shorter period than first mortgages. Most commonly, mortgages are set up to be repaid over 30 years. Equity loans and lines of credit often have a repayment period of 15 years, although it might be as short as five and as long as 30 years.

A home equity loan is a one-time lump sum that is paid off over a set amount of time, with a fixed interest rate and the same payments each month. Once you get the money, you cannot borrow further from the loan.

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, works more like a credit card because it has a revolving balance. A HELOC allows you to borrow up to a certain amount for the life of the loan - a time limit set by the lender. During that time, you can withdraw money as you need it. As you pay off the principal, you can use the credit again, like a credit card.

A HELOC gives you more flexibility than a fixed-rate home equity loan. It also is possible to remain in debt with a home equity loan, paying only interest and not paying down principal.

A line of credit has a variable interest rate that fluctuates over the life of the loan. Payments vary depending on the interest rate, the amount owed and whether the credit line is in the draw period or the repayment period.

During the equity line’s draw period, you can borrow against it and the minimum monthly payments cover only the interest, although you can elect to pay principal.

THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS IS IN NO WAY GIVING ANY LEGAL ADVICE OR REPRESENTATION. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN WAS COMPILED FROM VARIOUS ARTICLES. FOR ANY LEGAL ADVICE OR REPRESENTATION SEEK YOUR OWN LEGAL COUNSEL.