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How to use home equity while prices are still high

There are several ways to borrow home equity that owners should be aware of.

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Inflation And Increase in interest rates Continue to plague Americans. Benchmark interest rates now range from 5% to 5.25%, a 15-year high. The impact of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hike schedule is mixed in March 2022 after 10 straight rate hikes. As of March 2023 data Redfin, home prices nationwide fell an average of 3.3% from a year ago. Meanwhile, the latest Black Night Mortgage Monitor Report Prices in 92% of all markets rose from February to March, with 40% of major markets returning to peak prices.

If you’re like most Americans, your home’s value has risen during the pandemic. According to the Real Estate Research Institute corelogicAmerican homeowners had an average of $270,000 in home equity at the end of 2022, up $90,000 from pre-pandemic values.

If you’ve got significant equity in your home, you may be able to tap into it to pay for growing expenses, a fund Home improvement projects or Debt Consolidation. Some options, eg Home equity loans, HELOCsAnd Cash-out refinancing, often have more favorable interest rates than credit cards and personal loans. Before you begin the process, it’s essential to understand how you can access your home equity, depending on your financial goals and other factors.

Start exploring your home equity options now to learn more

How to use home equity while prices are still high

Here are four home equity options to strongly consider right now while the price is still high.

A home equity loan

A Home equity loan An installment loan allows you to to borrow 75% or 85% of your home equity for virtually any purpose. Generally, these loans come with fixed interest rates and repayment terms ranging from 5 to 30 years. As with other home equity borrowing options, you must put up your home as security for the loan, meaning you could lose your home if you default.

Remember, yours Home equity is the sum of your mortgage debt and the current market value of your home. Let’s say you purchase your home for $400,000 and pay $100,000 on your mortgage over time, leaving your mortgage balance at $300,000. At the same time, your home increases in fair market value from $100,000 to $500,000. In this case, your home equity would be $200,000 ($500,000-$300,000). If your lender allows homeowners to borrow up to 80% loan-to-value (LTV), you may qualify for a $160,000 home equity loan (200,000 x 80%).

Of course, you should only borrow the amount you need because you will be paying the interest on your entire loan. With good credit, you can qualify for a home equity loan Low rates from 6.64% to 13.99%. By comparison, the Federal Reserve lists average credit card and 24-month personal loan rates at 20.92% and 11.48%, respectively.

Check out your home equity loan options here to learn more.


A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) Allows you to access your home equity as revolving credit, similar to a credit card. one Benefits of HELOCs You don’t have to withdraw all the amount you have been sanctioned for. With revolving credit, you can borrow as much as you need, when you need it. Remember, you will only be charged interest on the amount you withdraw from your HELOC.

As with home equity loans, you need to account for either Closing costs, ranging from 2% to 5% of the amount you borrow, although some lenders do not charge closing fees. Of course, you’ll want to shop around between lenders and compare interest rates to get the best rate.

Ben Miller, branch manager at American Mortgage Network, acknowledges the importance of getting a low interest rate but advises borrowers to keep rates in perspective. “Base your decision about your HELOC term and your HELOC amount based on cash flow, not interest rates,” says Miller. “Where’s your budget? Let’s talk about your comfort zone. Where do you need to be? Now we’re talking about the dollar because it’s the household budget, based on actual dollar amounts. It (interest rates) are really dollar amounts, but it’s everyday life. No.”

Check out your HELOC options here to learn more

A cash-out refinance

A Cash-out refinancing This involves refinancing your existing mortgage while tapping into a portion of your home equity. Ultimately, you end up with a single loan with a large loan amount. While home equity loans and HELOCs are second mortgages, an additional loan alongside your first mortgage, a cash-out refinance is a single loan.

For example, let’s say you have a home on the market worth $800,000 and you have $400,000 remaining on your mortgage balance. Lenders typically allow you to borrow up to 80% loan-to-value, meaning you can borrow up to $320,000 (80% of the $400,000 home equity). With a cash-out refinance, you take out a new loan, which you use to pay off your current mortgage, leaving you with cash at your disposal.

While cash may come in handy, be aware you are taking on more debt. And if you start a new 30-year loan, you may pay more interest over the life of the loan.

Check out your refinancing options here to learn more.

A reverse mortgage

Many retirees and older Americans may consider one Reverse mortgage To use their home equity to help meet living expenses or other objectives. The most common type of reverse mortgage is called a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) and is only available to homeowners 62 and older. With this mortgage, you must continue to use the home as your main residence, but you no longer have to make monthly mortgage payments. Instead, you or your heirs will pay the debt when you’re no longer there.

However, your balance will continue to grow as interest and fees are charged to your loan balance each month. You are still responsible for paying property taxes and homeowners insurance. A reverse mortgage can benefit seniors who are “home rich,” with lots of home equity but little cash flow for day-to-day expenses. However, be aware that your balance will increase and your home equity will fall over time. Ultimately, you or your heirs must pay off the loan, which most people do by selling the home.

Bottom line

With home prices significantly higher than before the pandemic, you may have enough home equity to access the cash you need for emergency expenses, debt consolidation or almost any legal purpose. With home equity loans, HELOCs and cash-out refinances, you may even qualify for a Tax deductions “If the income is not used to purchase, construct or substantially improve a qualified home,” according to the IRS.

However, reverse mortgages are not eligible for tax deduction because the interest is considered home equity loan interest. Before you apply, do your due diligence to determine how a new loan payment will fit into your budget. Additionally, shop around and compare lenders to identify which offers the lowest costs.

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