Top Uses Of A HELOC

Top Uses Of A HELOCHomeowners who have equity built up in their homes can tap into that equity using a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. This financial tool can be a great way to accomplish a number of financial goals.

Here are four excellent uses of a HELOC for homeowners to consider.

Consolidating Costly Debts

Credit card debt and other types of consumer loans are costly, unless a debtor is lucky enough to have a no-interest card. Borrowers can consolidate that debt into a HELOC, which is much more affordable because it is a secured debt.

This advantage only works if the borrower stops adding to the debt problem. A HELOC becomes a valuable tool to get rid of debt quickly when used properly.

Create An Emergency Fund

Most people do not intend to end up in credit trouble, but emergencies happen. Emergency home repairs, job loss, or car repairs can quickly add up to unwanted debt.

A HELOC provides homeowners the option to have an emergency fund. Should one of these emergencies pop up, the homeowner can use the HELOC for an affordable source of funds.

Home Repairs That Add Value

Some home repairs add value to the property, but are also expensive. A HELOC can provide a source to fund these repairs. Because they put value back into the property, homeowners may be making wise use of their equity when using the HELOC in this way.

To make this work well, homeowners should choose repairs that do add to the home’s value. Since the cost of the repairs comes from the equity, the home’s owner should recoup the costs later when selling the home.

Funds For Investing

Finally, homeowners can use funds from a HELOC to get started in investment. This is risky, because the loan is paid regardless of how successful the investment is, but it can give a homeowner the chance to start investing for the first time.

Similarly, retirees can sometimes use HELOC funds to supplement retirement income if investments are struggling. This is a temporary solution to give investments a chance to recover, but for those living on a fixed income it is very helpful to have this option.

The HELOC is a valuable tool for homeowners that allows them to tap equity when it is needed. Since they have spent years building up this equity, homeowners should not fear using it when it can help with their financial goals.

Contact your trusted loan professional to find out if a HELOC may be right for you. 

Equity Loan and HELOC vs. Reverse Mortgage – What’s the Difference?

Equity Loan and HELOC vs. Reverse Mortgage - What's the Difference?There are times in our lives when the idea of freeing up cash becomes desirable or necessary. Near retirement, this is a common consideration. The typical financial tool that many retirees want to know about is a reverse mortgage, but it’s not the only equity tool available.

Equity Loan

The equity loan, or second mortgage, is essentially an additional fixed interest loan attached to the home. However, unlike the first mortgage which was used to buy the home, the second mortgage can be used for other purposes such as putting in a pool, redesigning the home to make it more accessible, or to pay for a dream vacation. This kind of loan can be set up for a long pay period which reduces its monthly financial impact. The fact that it is attached to the home can result in a very low interest rate for the borrower. However, to qualify, one does have to have the income or assets to pay it back, which may be challenging for those on a fixed income.

HELOC

The Home Equity Line of Credit, or HELOC, is similar to the equity loan, but it is not a fixed loan amount. Instead, the HELOC works more like a credit card. The homeowner makes charges against the line of credit, develops a balance and then pays it off. The homeowner retains the ability to borrow against it again, as needed. Much like the equity loan, the HELOC is attached to the home for collateral, which can result in a lower interest rate, but the borrower is not under obligation to the entire loan value at once. The HELOC can result in a lower monthly payment and can be used multiple times. Most HELOCs have a variable interest rate. 

Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage is an option for borrowers age 62 or older who have a sizable amount of equity in their home. This loan takes equity out of an owned home and converts it into cash for the borrower. A key benefit, compared to other tools, is that there is no monthly payment. Many times, the reverse mortgage loan is used to pay off an existing mortgage to eliminate that monthly payment as well. The homeowner is able to stay in their home and is not obligated for repayment until the home is no longer the primary residence or he or she passes away. The loan principal and accruing interest are paid back at the end of the loan life with a balloon payment or by transferring over the home itself to satisfy the debt. The loan is never more than the value of the home at the time of origination, so in most cases the home value will have risen and is more than enough to repay the loan. Many seniors have found the reverse mortgage to be a powerful way to boost monthly cash flow in their lives and make their later years more comfortable.

The home equity loan, HELOC and the reverse mortgage are three equity borrowing tools that can effectively give a homeowner greater cash flexibility. Each have varied requirements and benefits as well as certain risks to be aware of. Contact your trusted mortgage professional who can answer your questions and help you determine the very best option for you.

Over 5 Trillion Dollars In Home Equity May Lead To More Cash Out Transactions

Over 5 Trillion Dollars In Home Equity May Lead To More Cash Out TransactionsUS homeowners now have over 5 trillion dollars in home equity which is a very large amount of money! So this year may be the year for a lot of cash out refinances and other home equity mortgage products. Most often, when you are purchasing a home, you are buying at or below the appraised value and you are making a down payment.

The good news is this means you have “instant equity” in your home. And over time you build more equity as you make your monthly mortgage payments as well as any potential home price appreciation.

This build up of equity gets some homeowners thinking about taking cash-out from your home to pay off credit card bills, purchase a car or pay for college expenses. However, it is important understand, there are rules as to what can and can’t be done.

Cash out refinance, equity loan or second mortgage

There are three basic ways to access the equity in your home which are common these include:

  • Cash out refinance – you refinance your current mortgage and you request cash-out for the equity. For example, if your home is worth $200,000 and you have a current mortgage of $100,000 you may be able to access an additional $60,000 to $70,000 in cash depending on your lenders requirements
  • Home equity loan – a home equity loan is typically a line of credit that you take out with your local bank. These loans are typically what are known as “revolving” where you can access the funds over and over again as you make payments. Home equity loan interest payments are not tax deductible after the recent tax reform plan
  • Second mortgage – in order to qualify for a second mortgage on your home, the lender would require you to meet specific credit requirements as well as certain debt-to-income ratios. 

In most cases, lenders will require borrowers to have had their mortgage at least one year before they are allowed the option of any type of cash-out refinance. However, Ginnie Mae (GNMA), the investor for FHA and VA home loans allow cash out transactions after 6 monthly payments and a minimum of 210 days in the home.

While you may already have a substantial amount of equity in your home, lenders are taking an additional risk if you are allowed to “tap into” that equity. Before you make the decision to access the equity, talk to your trusted mortgage professional regarding possible restrictions.

How to Smartly Leverage Your Home Equity

How to Smartly Leverage Your Home EquitySo you’ve been a homeowner for some time. You’ve been faithfully paying off your mortgage for years, and you have a fair bit of equity built up in your home – and that makes you proud. But now, you’re wondering what good equity is if you’re not using it.

How do you actually use home equity? And how do you leverage it to get a high return for low risk? Here are just a few options you may want to consider if you’re looking for something to do with your equity.

Use A Home Equity Loan Or HELOC To Pay Off High-Interest Debt

If you have a certain amount of money invested in your home, you can borrow against that investment by taking out a home equity loan or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A home equity loan is ideal for borrowing a large amount of money for a specific purpose, whereas a HELOC works much the same way a credit card does – you can use credit as needed, then pay back what you owe. And if you have a lot of high-interest debt, one of these vehicles could be a great way to pay off your creditors – while it may seem like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, you actually save thousands of dollars in interest rates by paying off high-interest debt using a lower-interest HELOC or home equity loan.

Buy An Investment Property With A Home Equity Loan

If you’ve been looking to enter the real estate investment market but haven’t had the liquid funds for a deposit, leveraging your home equity in the form of a loan can get you into the landlord game quickly and easily. This is a smart move because while you are taking on more debt, you’re doing so in order to create a new income stream. Ideally, you’ll want to buy a duplex or a home with a granny suite so that you can maximize your investment by renting out more than one dwelling space.

Downsize To A Smaller House And Invest The Difference

Perhaps you’re living in a large house that has seen its value appreciate in recent years, and you’re looking to move in the near future. Selling your large home and moving into a smaller, less expensive home is a great way to simply turn your home’s equity into cash – cash that you can invest.

Leveraging your home equity can be a smart move if it’s done with a larger goal and a solid strategy in mind. But when done irresponsibly, taking equity out of your home can have severe consequences. Talk to your local mortgage professional today to learn more about smart options for leveraging home equity.

Spring DIY Projects: How to Build a Treehouse That the Kids Will Love

Spring DIY Projects: How to Build a Treehouse That the Kids Will Love If you have children, no home is complete without a treehouse. Besides the fact that treehouses provide kids with hours of entertainment, they can also confer ancillary benefits that are hard to quantify. For starters, treehouses can improve property values by boosting curb appeal. When building any type of treehouse, keep the following tips in mind.

Location, Location, Location

Before you head off to Home Depot and get all the necessary supplies, you need to spend some serious time storyboarding the build process. Pick a tree with low, sprawling branches such as an oak or a maple. Furthermore, consider issues like wind, shade and privacy before you start to nail up supports.

Choose Your Materials Wisely

A treehouse built with subpar materials will fall short in the longevity department and disappoint the kids. Pick out stout oak 4×4 posts for the structural elements and top them off with pressure-treated pine for the floors and railings. Use quality plywood for the interior walls and seal it to avoid rot.

Make Multi-Use Your Mantra

Treehouses that are simply shacks suspended above ground will quickly bore youngsters no matter how well-built they may be. Incorporate elements such as swings, rope ladders and even zip-lines to get more from your treehouse. As long as you’re putting in the effort, you might as well add all of the bells and whistles.

Bake Safety Into the Recipe

You don’t want the kids to get hurt when they’re frolicking among the branches. Make sure to bolt handles and permanent rails into the truck so that adolescents are less likely to slip and fall. If you want to go all out, add a few safety nets around the edges.

Heed Aesthetics When Designing

An unadorned treehouse quickly turns into an eyesore over time as it’s battered by the elements. Shingle the roof and paint the exterior walls so that they match your home. Kids will naturally gravitate towards a treehouse that looks appealing and your neighbors won’t complain about a shoddy structure in your weeping willow.

It’s More Than a Treehouse

While many young kids will no doubt love a full-featured treehouse, it’s usually the improvement in home value that will appeal to adults.

Three Hot Renovations That Will Boost Your Home’s Value Without Breaking the Bank

Three Hot Renovations That Will Boost Your Home's Value Without Breaking the BankAre you feeling the “renovation itch” or perhaps looking for a fun project that you can take on which will provide you with a return on your investment? There are numerous home upgrades and renovations that can add value to a home without costing a large sum of money to complete.

Let’s take a look at three popular home renovations that can increase your home equity without draining your bank account.

Paint Your Home Inside and Out

Painting the interior or exterior of your home costs very little when compared to how much it can freshen up your home’s appearance and increase its value. Painting is also an excellent time to get rid of any old wallpaper or other decor touches that are a little dated. Spend some time browsing through Pinterest or through home improvement websites in order to choose a color palette that is warm and inviting without being too bold. Remember, if the goal is to increase your home’s value you’ll need to paint using colors that buyers will find attractive.

Upgrading Your Windows

If your local environment is cold or wet during parts of the year you may find that upgrading your windows improves your home’s appearance and provides you with some additional savings in the form of reduced energy costs. Look for windows that are energy-efficient and that are guaranteed to eliminate drafts. Depending on the area of the country that you reside in, you may find that windows that are insulated with vinyl or aluminum are your best bet.

Finishing Your Basement into a Suite

If you have an unfinished basement which has a lot of space and running water you may want to consider finishing it in to a full basement suite. Some buyers will be enticed by the additional rental income that can come from a suite, while others will be excited at the opportunity to provide an older child or family member with their own suite inside of the same home.

You’ll find that investing a little time and money in your home now can pay huge dividends later when it’s time to sell and move on.

4 Important Questions To Ask Before Refinancing Your Mortgage

4 Important Questions To Ask Before Refinancing Your Mortgage

So you are thinking of refinancing? Well you are in luck because I have 4 quick and important questions you should ask yourself before doing so.

1) Do I Have Enough Equity To Get A Mortgage?

To get a conventional loan, you will usually need to have at least 20 percent equity. This means that your house will have to be worth at least $250,000 to get a $200,000 loan.

If you have less equity, you could end up having to pay for private mortgage insurance, which can easily add $100 or more to your monthly payment.

2) How’s My Credit?

Most lenders will look at your credit score as a part of determining whether or not to make you a loan. With conventional lenders, your rate will depend on your score and the higher it is, the lower your payment will be.

Other lenders, like the FHA and VA programs have an all or nothing rule. If you qualify, your rate won’t be based on your credit, but if your score is too low, you won’t be able to get any loan. Generally, 620 credit scores are the lowest that will qualify you for any loan.

3) What Do I Want To Accomplish?

Mortgages typically offer a choice as to their term. While the 30-year loan is the most popular, shorter term mortgages save you money since you pay less interest over their lives. They also get you out of debt sooner, at least as regards your house.

The drawback is that they carry higher payments since you pay off more principal every month. This can make them less affordable for some borrowers, generally, you’ll need to keep your current house and loan for anywhere from three to six years to break even on the costs of refinancing.

4) How’s My Current Loan?

If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, you may want to switch to a fixed rate mortgage simply for the additional security it offers you. On the other hand, if you are planning to move relatively soon, your current mortgage could be a better deal whehter it’s fixed- or adjustable-rate.

When trying to decide what to do, compare the cost of refinancing with what it would cost you in additional interest to hold on to your existing loan. While the breakdown is different for every borrower, generally, you’ll need to keep your current house and loan for anywhere from three to six years to break even on the costs of refinancing.

Deciding what to do with your mortgage can be complicated. Working with a qualified loan broker that can consider every angle with you can help you to make a better decision.