When you are looking for the cash you need to fix up your home, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be just the thing for you. This would be especially true if you have a project in mind but are not sure what it may cost. A HELOC could be just the solution you are looking for - because it offers you cash with different options than a traditional mortgage. Here are some of the benefits.
A home equity line of credit is to be considered as a second mortgage. After you fill out the paperwork, and the lender looks over your credit report and your ability to repay the loan, you will be given a credit limit. This means that an account is set up for you, and you will be given access to it either with a credit card or with checks. This way, you can draw out the money as you need it, and only as much as you need.
A home equity line of credit is usually based on a 25 or 30-year time frame. There is a draw period and a payment period. The draw period could be up to 11 years, and the rest of the time period is used for repayment.
You only pay interest on the amount that you draw out. This is an excellent way to save some money, because you still have access to more if you do need it. During the draw period, you will be paying interest - adjustable rate, on the amount of money you have taken out. The interest rate does not amortize the loan in any way - since you are only paying interest.
At the end of the draw period, however, the amortization period starts. Your payments will be calculated on how much you have withdrawn and your payments will be determined at that time. These payments will fully amortize the loan within the time remaining - most of the time. Some lenders do not calculate the payments to fully amortize the loan. Obviously, you will need to watch for this before you sign the agreement.
Home equity lines of credit can come with a number of repayment options. These range from balloon payments at the end of the draw period, to simply monthly payments for the rest of the term. Other options that may be included is the possibility of renewability. Some lenders give this option for those who want an ongoing line of credit.
Before you sign up for a home equity line of credit, though, be sure to compare a number of quotes first. A home equity line of credit may have monthly fees, annual fees, and more, so be sure you know about them all first. By comparing several plans, you can find the one that will be the least expensive, have the lowest rate of interest, and will be the best for you.
Joe Kenny writes for Rebuild.org, offering home equity loans
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