Shoprates Loans

Understanding Home Equity Loans

Home Equity Loan Rates, Requirements and Guide

What is a home equity loan?

A home equity loan is a type of mortgage that empowers you to leverage your home's equity as a borrowing tool. It's often referred to as a second mortgage, as it typically comes into play when a home is already under a primary mortgage.

 

Defining Home Equity

 

Home equity is the monetary difference between your home's market value and the remaining balance on your mortgage. For instance, if your home carries a market value of $400,000 and you still owe $300,000 on your mortgage, you possess $100,000 in home equity.

 

Determining Your Home Equity Loan Amount

 

For those with a penchant for numbers, here's how you would calculate the potential home equity loan amount, assuming an 85% loan-to-value (LTV) ratio on a $400,000 home with a remaining $300,000 mortgage balance.

"Securing a home equity loan with Shoprates was a seamless process! The customer service was top-notch and they really took the time to help me understand all the terms and conditions. I highly recommend them for anyone looking to tap into their home's equity!"

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Jane Dyer

"I recently used Shoprates to get a home equity loan and I couldn't be happier with their service. Their rates were competitive and the entire process was straightforward. I now have the funds I needed to renovate my home. Thanks, Shoprates!"

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Mark Susans

"Shoprates made getting a home equity loan so much easier than I imagined. Their team guided me through every step and ensured I got the best possible rate. It's great to work with a company that truly values its customers."

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Alternatives To Home Equity Loans

Distinguishing Home Equity Loans and HELOCs

 

Often, consumers conflate home equity loans with home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), but these financial products operate quite differently. A HELOC functions more akin to a credit card, offering the flexibility to pay off the balance and reuse it within a designated timeframe, known as the draw period, typically spanning 10 years. Upon the conclusion of the draw period, any remaining balance is repaid in fixed installments. Here are some critical features of a HELOC:

 

  1. Variable Interest Rate: The interest rate on a HELOC is usually variable, which could lead to potentially unaffordable payments if interest rates increase.

  2. Interest-Only Initial Payments: During the draw period, many HELOC programs allow you to make monthly payments that only cover the interest, meaning your loan balance remains unchanged.

  3. Usage-Based Payments: Since a HELOC operates like a credit line, your payments are solely based on the amount you utilize, plus interest.

If a home equity loan doesn't seem right for you, there are other alternatives to consider.



Reverse Mortgage

If you are a homeowner aged 62 or above, you could use a reverse mortgage to turn your home equity into cash, regular income, or a credit line. You don't have to pay back the borrowed amount; instead, the interest is added to the loan every month.

Cash-Out Refinance

This type of refinance allows you to replace your existing first mortgage with a bigger one and receive the excess amount in cash. Cash-out refinance programs usually limit the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio at 80%, but their lending requirements are less strict compared to home equity loans.

Personal Loan

If you don't want to use the equity of your home, you could be eligible for a personal loan. The interest rates may be higher than those of home equity products, but you don't need to be concerned about losing your home to foreclosure if you're unable to repay the loan.

Fixer-Upper Loans

If you're using an FHA 203(k) or Fannie Mae HomeStyle® Renovation loan instead of a home equity loan or cash-out refinance when borrowing equity for home renovations. The benefit of these loans is that lenders calculate your maximum loan amount based on your home's estimated value after improvements, rather than its current condition.