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A Home Equity Loan ? Is It For You?
Home equity loans are often touted as being the solution to so many things ? giving you access to money for home repairs or improvements, a way to consolidate debt, finance a sudden family emergency, or even as a way to start an investment portfolio. There's a lot to think about, though, before you go and sign up for the first home equity loan you see.
A home equity loan is like a second mortgage on your home. If your home is currently worth $130,000, and you have a mortgage against it for $70,000, then you have $60,000 of equity available. Some home equity loans may allow you to borrow up to 80% of your home's value, others may go higher in special circumstances. In this example, you would be able to borrow another $34,000 as a home equity loan and still have only borrowed 80%.
So the first step is to get a reasonably good idea of what your home is worth on the market. Your friendly realtor may help with this, but be aware that sometimes they can inflate the value in the hope of getting your business. You can also look at what price similar houses close by have sold for. Or you can pay a qualified valuer to assess your home.
Now you have a starting figure, you can work out how much equity you have in your home. The other important figure to work out is how much you need for whatever purpose you have in mind. Hopefully that works out to be less than the equity available! It's even better if it's less than 80% of the available equity.
At this point it's important not to get carried away. It can be all too easy to say, well, I have $50,000 available and I really only need $30,000 to complete the repairs, so why not borrow $40,000 and blow the rest on a holiday? Remember ? the more you borrow, the more it will cost you in repayments. It's very easy to borrow too much, only to find yourself struggling to meet the payments and maybe even losing your home.
You also need to decide what type of home equity loan you want. There are two main types ? a closed end loan and a line of credit. A closed end loan is basically the same as a standard home mortgage ? you borrow the amount for a set period of time, and make payments over time to gradually pay off the balance.
A line of credit, on the other hand, is like having a credit card with a big limit. Some banks will require you to make minimum payments each month, others only require payments if you're at your limit. Either way, the loan will only be for a set period of time, and at the end of that you will either have to extend the time period or refinance the loan with another lender. This type of facility can be useful if you're disciplined with your money, but if you're the type of person whose credits cards are always at their limits, it may not be a good idea at all to have ready access to such a large amount of credit.
Next, you need to work out how long you want to borrow the money for. This will vary depending on how much money you are borrowing, the type of home equity loan and how much you can afford to pay. There are lots of good mortgage calculators online that can help you to work this out. If borrowing the money over 5 years for a closed end loan means you won't be able to meet the payments, then see if spreading the loan over 10 years becomes more affordable for you. You will pay more in the long run, but at least you won't default on your loan.
When you know what you want, it's time to go and find it! It may be worth starting with banks recommended to you by friends and family ? at least they'll be able to give feedback on their experiences. You can also shop around online, looking for the best deal.
Finally, when you have chosen the loan you want and are ready to proceed, do two more things. Firstly, check for fees. Banks are aware of the need to be competitive, and will often avoid charging up front fees for that reason. However it's amazing what can be hidden in the fine print of a contract. So read any loan documents thoroughly before signing. If you can, get the contract explained to you by your legal advisor.
Home equity loans can be a wonderful tool when used correctly. Do your homework first, find the loan that best matches what you want, and go for it. Just make sure you don't over extend yourself or sign documents that will give you nightmares forever.
Copyright Felicity Walker 2005
Investing and finance are two passions of the author. To find out more, check out http://www.homeequityloanzonecentral.com for more information.
Refinance Benefits - Refinancing Could Save You Money
The most common reason most people refinance is to save money, but many people refinance for various other reasons.
Home Loans and Mortgages ? The Myth of Tax Deductible Interest
Home ownership has risen sharply in recent years, and the percentage of Americans who own their own homes is approaching a record seventy percent. That's a good thing; we'd all rather live in our own home than consider the alternatives. The most common method of purchasing a home is by taking out a mortgage. Mortgage types vary, but most loans consist of some variation of a thirty-year loan, with interest applied to the purchase price. This added interest can easily cause the total sum paid to be double or triple the actual purchase price of the home. This is an unavoidable cost of borrowing a large sum of money over a long period of time, but it still causes alarm at closing time when the borrower realizes that his or her $150,000 home will cost a half million dollars by the time the loan is paid off. At this point, the lender usually points out that the interest is tax deductible, and the borrower offers a sigh of relief. Is the deductibility of the interest really that big of a deal? Does anyone really benefit from it?
How do I know what is the best Second Mortgage Home Loan for me?
The information in your credit history helps mortgage lenders decide how much credit and what interest rate you are eligible for, and then match it to a bad credit home loan. The better your credit history, the more likely you are to qualify for the best credit deals. The first step is to understand if you are considered a credit risk. Most lenders will consider you a higher credit risk only if your credit report states that you have more late and slow payments than what is shown below:
Bad Credit Home Loans - Pre-Approval is Still Possible With Adverse Credit History
If you are among the millions with less than perfect credit, there are many sources available to you in obtaining a mortgage. Lenders that specialize in mortgages for those with bad credit are competing for your business. The lender will analyze your credit report, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and your employment history. You may also be asked to provide statements from your utility companies and other creditors to help form a complete picture of how you manage your finances. The lender will then inform you of how much you can afford to spend on a mortgage and the terms of the proposed home loan.
How to Buy a Home Without a Down Payment
Mortgage rates are rising and it's becoming more difficult for a prospective buyer to save up for the necessary down payment. Fortunately, there are ways around this hurdle.
Using a Mortgage Refinance Company Online
Online mortgage companies make refinancing convenient and competitive. By researching mortgage rates and lenders online, you can be assured that you have the best refinancing rates.
Avoiding Foreclosure Scams
If your mortgage company is threatening foreclosure, there are things you can do to avoid it (see my article titled "How to Avoid Foreclosure"). However, you should be aware of scams. If there are solutions to your problems that seem too good to be true, they probably are.
Mortgage Cycling May Be Your Best Bet For Equity Buildup and Investment Real Estate
Mortgage cycling is a system that relies on solid budgeting, equity lines of credit and use of an open credit card. Whether you use this on investment real estate or your own home, it can work for wealth building. If you are short on equity in your home and/or don't have an open credit card, a decent-sized savings account or money market will get your mortgage cycling started just as easily.
Home Loans: Where Do I Begin?
So you've finally decided you've had enough of paying rent and want to jump into home ownership. Well you've got your work cut out for you. Plumbing problems are now your responsibility, not your landlord's. A nice, clean yard is also your responsibility, not your landlord's. The air-conditioning goes out in August, who do you call. Not the landlord, you're now responsible. Yep - a lot of work.
Should You Refinance Your Mortgage if Interest Rates Drop?
Mortgage refinancing is when you take a mortgage of a certain interest rate and term length, and change it for a different interest rate and term. If you are looking to refinance your home loan it is usually done when rates have dropped considerably therefore making it advantageous to do so. When I say considerably it usually means a drop of at least 1% from what you're paying now.
Refinance Home Loan and Refinance Home Loans
Refinance home loan lenders are eager to lend money to any individual regardless of credit as long as the homeowner has a fair amount of equity in the home and the home itself is in a condition that can be resold. Refinance home loans are different than a second mortgage or line of credit in that the proceeds from the loan disbursement first pay off the original mortgage loan. The remainder of the refinance home loan proceeds leaves the homeowner to spend the money as they wish. Typically, refinance home loans carry lower interest rates than purchase mortgages.
2nd Mortgage Loan After Bankruptcy - Get Approved Online
A 2nd mortgage loan after a bankruptcy is possible in as little as two years. Refinancing your mortgage can help you make needed home improvements or pay off high interest debt. Refinancing with adverse credit history requires savvy shopping on your part to ensure that you get a reasonable 2nd mortgage loan.
Applying for a Home Loan
Applying for a home loan may not be the most exciting way to spend your time, but if you are like many potential homeowners, it is probably a necessary evil. If you have some knowledge of the process ahead of time, however, it will go much more smoothly.
Stop Foreclosure - 7 Tips to Save Your Home
Faced with the threat of a foreclosure on their home, with all the weight of the mortgage industry and its army of attorneys against them, the average homeowner might feel like David facing Goliath.
6 Helpful Mortgage Tips
Here are some mortgage tips that can help you obtain a mortgage with less hassle, and at a lower overall cost: Determine how much home you can afford. Based on your income and any long term debt, know the maximum payments you can be certain of making comfortably. Home loans are serious business, and buying too much home can build a mountain of debt. Make sure you can make your payments comfortably; it shouldn't be a burden. Locate a mortgage calculator online that allows you to enter your income and it will tell you how much mortgage you can afford.
Remortgage ? When Monthly Mortgage Payments are Touching New Heights
Current economic scene has hinted towards a fall in the Bank of England base rate from a three and a half year high of 4.75%. 78% of the property investors are contemplating refinancing their home loans. Are you thinking the same? This is the appropriate time for remortgage and moving to competitive interest rates. Remortgage is indeed a very cost effective option.
Mortgage Clarksville - Find the Best Deal
Searching for a mortgage can sometimes be a hassle. Where to apply, who to apply with, what deal to take. These are all questions you may be asking yourself. The good news is it doesn't have to be a pain to find the best mortgage Clarksville.
Home Equity Loan ? A Reverse Mortgage Could Provide a Comfortable Retirement!
While only comprising about 1% of all mortgages, the reverse mortgage has gained in popularity in recent years. Federally insured since the late 1980's, the reverse mortgage allows owners of paid-off homes to borrow against the equity in their homes in the form of a lump sum, a line of credit, or in the form of monthly payments. The loan is repaid when the owners die or when the home is sold or no longer occupied. In the early years of its existence, the reverse mortgage was regarded as a "last resort" step to avoid foreclosure, pay medical expenses or keep the home from disrepair. More recently, however, retirees have been finding creative ways to use the equity in their homes to allow their retirement years to be more enjoyable. The huge growth of the housing market during the last five years has left millions of homeowners with large amounts of equity in their homes. Californians who bought homes in the early 1960's at modest prices are now retiring; many of them have home equity in the mid-six figures. With that sort of equity, homeowners are using their equity to buy recreational vehicles, boats, luxury vacations, and even second homes. The structure of a reverse mortgage makes it possible for some homeowners to pay cash for a vacation home, while continuing to live in their primary residence for as long as they like, or are able. Once they die, the primary residence would be sold to pay pack the loan, while the second home would become part of their estate.This has provided a rare opportunity for many couples, who struggled to raise families and pay mortgages during the working years, to enjoy a few luxuries in their retirement years. Couples who could never afford to travel can now dip into their home equity and see Europe or take that cruise that always eluded them.While this may seem like a win-win situation for all involved, those in the lending industry express caution. For most people, the equity in their home is their single largest asset, and borrowing against it should done only after careful consideration. What if a lengthy hospital stay became necessary? Would the homeowner have sufficient funds to pay for that after buying a second home through a reverse mortgage? What if a husband or wife became incapacitated and required permanent housing in a nursing home? These are things that must be considered before using home equity for a houseboat or RV, and those considering such a move should consider discussing their plans with a financial advisor.Despite the potential drawbacks, the use of the reverse mortgage to fund a fun and adventurous retirement seems to be growing. With interest rates still near all-time lows, the trend will almost certainly continue in the near future.
7 Credit Improving Steps You Must Take Before Applying For A Mortgage
If you think you have good credit, think again. Chances are there is something on your credit report that can effect your credit rating; this type of news is particularly alarming if you are shopping for a loan or applying for credit. You can save yourself headaches as well as thousands of dollars by implementing the following seven credit improving steps.
Mortgages - Which Loan is Right For You
When buying a home, you need to take a home mortgage loan, either because as a debtor, you end up paying less tax, or because in a market where property prices rise faster than salary levels, the money you have saved falls short of the amount required. When searching for a home mortgage loan, you can select from a wide variety. Study the types of mortgage loans available in the market and note the interest rates for each before you sign any documents. You can select from the following:
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