What is a Home Equity Line of Credit?

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In harsh and uncertain economic times, people may have a difficult time paying their bills. From the cost of utilities increasing constantly to identifying unexpected repairs around the home, there are many different things that the average person may not be prepared to handle financially. In some situations, however, people do have an option available that can assist them during these times. One in which that can help with paying off unexpected expenses like critical home repairs until economic situations look brighter. In specifics, homeowners may use a financial option that allows them to tap into a home equity line of credit.

This said, this is the time when owning a home can become very advantageous. Especially, when the owner of the home can manage their financial needs properly without compromising their financial future. So, what is home equity line of credit, how much money can the homeowner get, and what can the money be used for?

What is a Home Equity Line of Credit?

A home equity line of credit is a type of loan.Even though type of loan normally sounds complicated, it can be broken down into a simple understandable definition. Specifically, because it is a loan that allows the borrower to use their home as collateral. It is also important to note that more and more of today’s financial institutions are providing their mortgagees with this option.

So, how much can a homeowner borrow?

Because the bank uses the equity in the home as the homeowner’s collateral, it means the amount that the person has available to them to borrow is limited. For instance, since equity is the balance between its appraised worth and the homeowner’s outstanding mortgage balance, the owner can only borrow a specific amount of money before their credit is denied. Therefore, it is essential for each owner to understand how these loans work and how much is available to them to use prior to accepting the loan and its terms.

It is also important for homeowners to talk to professionals in the field to obtain more information about their specific situation. These specialists can provide the details needed for a homeowner to make an informed decision. With so many different financial institutions offering these lines of credits, the terms of these loans will vary from one banking institution to another. Which means, it is important to do a thorough job of research in order to get the best terms available. For instance, the homeowner should pay special attention to how much that they will need to borrow for the project that they are financing and the annual percentage rate (APRs) that they agree to.

What can a home equity loan be used for?

Home Improvements and Renovations

There are many reasons for this type of loan option opening up more today. One of the most common involves the equity in the home because it is the largest financial resource that homeowners have available to them. Also, since the value of homes are increasing significantly more over time, it is a resource that can be used to take care of some immediate needs. Therefore, when a homeowner is looking to make major home improvements and renovations, they can look to this line of credit to finance these efforts. Since these home improvement projects can range from relatively inexpensive to quite costly, the owner of the home can use this line of credit to pay for what they need in order to complete these projects in a timely manner.

Costly Home Repairs

In addition to making major home improvements, these loans can also be used to pay for costly home repairs that affect the overall market value of the home. For instance, in situations where the roofing on the home needs to be replaced due to storm damage and other harsh weather, the owner of the home may want to use the funds from an equity line of credit to replace the roof completely. By using this option, the owner of the home can pay for the essential repairs before additional damage is done and the entire structure of the home is compromised.

Medical Bills

Investing more into the home or making major repairs are two common reasons for a homeowner requesting this kind of loan. Fortunately, there are other notable circumstances and situations that may be seen as a viable reasons for requesting a loan as well. Some of which involve paying for costly medical bills that cannot be foreseen. Specifically, in cases of injuries, critical illnesses, and diseases that place a severe strain on the families current financial circumstances. Which means, by exercising this option during these times, the family can have what they need in order to make it through the hardest times.

Other Common Reasons

Some people use the equity in their home to assist the with getting ahead or taking care of family expenses that arise in the most inopportune times. So, there are other occasions that people may choose to apply for this kind of loan and they consists of paying for their children’s college expenses, buying a second property or consolidating other high interests.

Its not uncommon for any family to experience financial difficulties or have things that they want to improve or renovate in their homes. Even though they may not have the cash available to do it, there may be options available. Specifically, to homeowners who have built up equity in their homes since they may want to apply for a home equity line of credit. Before a homeowner chooses this option, however, there are numerous things that they should know. Many of which include, what is an equity line of credit, how does an equity line of credit work, how much money will a homeowner have access to, and much much more. To answer these and other related questions, the owner of the home should seek out the assistance of specialist in this field. These specialists can help the owner with the answers that they need in order to make good and informed decision.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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