Homeowners have several options for acquiring extra cash. If your home has a substantial amount of equity, you may refinance for a lower interest rate and obtain a lump sum of money. In addition, getting a home equity loan or line of credit puts extra cash in your pocket. Home equity lines of credit are very popular. With these lines of credit, you may withdraw money from an open account whenever you need emergency cash.
How Do Home Equity Line of Credits Work?
Home equity lines of credit are similar to credit card cash advances. If you open a line of credit, using your home's equity as collateral, you are provided a debit or ATM card. In most cases, the lender will also provide you with a checkbook. If you need money for home improvement, car repairs, or vacation, you may withdraw money from your line of credit.
The money you withdraw has to be repaid. Each month the lender will send you a statement with your minimum payment due. Because the amount you withdraw from your home equity line of credit will fluctuate, so do your minimum payments. While home equity lines are similar to credit cards, the interest rate is much lower. Thus, your payments are smaller and you are able to payoff the balance quicker.
Home Equity Line of Credit Rates
If you get a home equity line of credit, the lender will either give you a fixed or variable rate. There are advantages to both types of rates. Variable rates are great for individuals who want a low introductory rate. If you do not plan on using a large portion of your line of credit, a variable rate is a good option. However, be aware that your rate may increase, or decrease throughout the years. Interest rate increases result in higher monthly payments.
If you plan on using your home equity line of credit to payoff debts or other huge expenses, a variable rate is not in your best interest. It will likely take years before the line of credit is paid back to the lender. During this time, an interest rate increase may drastically increase your monthly payments. If you are unable to maintain payments, the lender may foreclose on your home. Thus, a fixed rate interest rate is a better option. This way, your monthly payments are predictable.
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Carrie Reeder is the owner of ABC Loan Guide , an informational website about various types of loans.