Microsoft's support for your web browser ended on January 12, 2016. To continue to use our online services, you must upgrade to a current version of Google ChromeTM, Mozilla Firefox® or Microsoft Internet Explorer®.

Monday, 10 August 2015

There are several ways to borrow money, and using the equity of your home is one of them.

You can use the proceeds from a home equity loan for

How much you can borrow

just about anything, including consolidating debt, paying for home improvements, or funding any other major expenses.

Before you consider a home equity loan or line of credit, it's important to understand how they work. There is also a risk. When you use your home as collateral for a loan, the lender could force you to sell your home  to satisfy the debt if you do not pay your monthly payments.

Here are things you need to know:

What is home equity?

Home equity is the value of ownership built up in a home that represents the current market value of the house, less any remaining mortgage payments. This value is built up over time as the homeowner pays down the mortgage and the value of the property appreciates.

In other words, the equity you have in your home is the value of the home you've already paid for. For example, if your home has a current market value of $300,000 and you owe $100,000 on your mortgage, you have $200,000 in equity, assuming there are no other liens on the property.

Home equity borrowing is using the equity in your home as collateral for a loan. A home equity loan is also called a second mortgage, with a first mortgage being the original loan you received when you purchased the property.

Benefits of a home equity loan

Using your home's equity can be an affordable way to borrow, if you can get a low interest rate. Because the loan is secured by the equity in your home, you could possibly get a lower rate than with an unsecured loan or credit card.

Locked-in rate and monthly payments can also be a benefit. With a home equity loan, you borrow a lump sum of money at a locked-in interest rate and make set monthly payments for the entire term of the loan, giving your budget some predictability.

Another reason is that the interest you pay on your home equity loan could be tax deductible, but you should always consult your tax professional regarding the deductibility of interest.

Most lenders use something called a loan-to-value ratio to determine how much you can borrow. This is the total amount of your loans as a percentage of your home's total value. Most lenders prefer to keep the loan-to-value ratio under 75 percent.

Let's do the math, using the same example of a $300,000 house and a loan-to-value ratio of 75 percent.

Current market value of home: $300,000
Loan-to-value ratio: x 75%
Maximum loan amount: $225,000
Minus the amount owed on original (first) mortgage: -$100,000
Maximum amount of home equity available: $125,000

 

These examples are for informational purposes only. Many other factors, such as your credit score, income, and other debts will be taken into account by your lender to determine how much you can borrow.

Requirements

You will be required to complete an application, and your credit, debts, and income will be reviewed and verified. Your home will be appraised to determine its value. The process is similar to getting a first mortgage, and in most cases, the lending process can take from 10 to 60 days, depending on your lender and other factors.

See our loan options. Learn More

 

The content provided is for informational purposes only. Neither BBVA Compass, nor any of its affiliates, is providing legal, tax, or investment advice. You should consult your legal, tax, or financial advisor about your personal situation. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BBVA Compass or any of its affiliates.

Links to third party sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement. BBVA Compass does not provide, is not responsible for, and does not guarantee the products, services or overall content available at third party sites. These sites may not have the same privacy, security or accessibility standards.