Is it a good time for a HELOC?
If you’re looking for some extra money to use for a home improvement project, debit consolidation, family vacation, college tuition, new appliances, furniture or other major purchases consider tapping into your home’s equity. One great way to do this is by opening a home equity line of credit, or a HELOC. Let’s take a closer look at HELOCs and why they can be an excellent option to get the cash you need.
What is a HELOC?
A HELOC is a revolving credit line allowing homeowners to borrow money against the equity of their home. The HELOC is like a second mortgage on a home; if the borrower owns the entire home, the HELOC is a primary mortgage.
Given that a HELOC is a line of credit and not a fixed loan, borrowers can withdraw money from the HELOC as needed rather than borrowing one lump sum. This allows for more flexibility than a fixed home equity loan and is especially beneficial for borrowers who don’t know exactly how much money they’ll ultimately need.
Borrowers withdraw funds (aka “draws” or “advances”) from the HELOC during a set amount of time that is known as the “draw period”. At Kellogg Community Credit Union, we allow borrowers to draw from their HELOC for the first 5 years. The first 5 years will be interest-only payments. There is no set amount that has to be withdrawn every time; however, the first advance has a minimum of $500.
How do I repay my HELOC?
When the draw period ends, some lenders will allow borrowers to renew the credit line and continue withdrawing money. Other lenders require borrowers to pay back the entire balance due, also known as a “balloon payment.” Still others allow borrowers to pay back the loan in monthly installments over another set amount of time, known as the “repayment period.” Repayment periods are generous, lasting as long as 20 years.
KCCU offers all those options:
- Renew the credit line
- Pay back the entire balance
- Pay back during the “repayment period”.
How can borrowers spend the money?
While home improvement projects are popular uses for HELOCs, borrowers are free to spend the money however they please. Some other uses for HELOCs include debt consolidation, funding a wedding, dream vacation or paying for large purchases and even paying for college expenses.
Is everyone eligible for a HELOC?
Like every loan and line of credit, HELOCs have eligibility requirements, which help lenders determine the applicant’s financial wellness and responsibility. Most notably, the borrower must have a minimal amount of equity in the home. You can contact a member service representative at KCCU to help you determine your HELOC eligibility.
How much can I borrow with a HELOC?
HELOC amounts vary along with three criteria: the value of your home, the percentage of that value the lender allows you to borrow against and the outstanding amount on an existing mortgage.
For example, if you have a $300,000 home with a mortgage balance of $175,000 and your lender allows you to borrow against 85% of your home’s value, multiply your home’s value by 85%, or 0.85. This will give you $255,000. Subtract the amount you still owe on your mortgage ($175,000), and you’ll have the maximum amount you can borrow using a HELOC, which is $80,000.
What are the disadvantages of a HELOC?
A HELOC is secured by your home’s equity, which places your home at risk of foreclosure if the HELOC is not repaid. Before opening a HELOC, it’s a good idea to run the numbers to get an idea of what your monthly payments will look like and whether you can easily afford to meet them.
If you don’t plan to stay in your home for long, a HELOC may not be the right choice for you. When you sell your home, you’ll need to pay off the full balance of the HELOC.
A HELOC can be a great option now
HELOCs have variable interest rates, which means the interest on the loan can fluctuate over the life of the loan. This variable is based on a publicly available index, such as the U.S. Treasury Bill rate, and will rise or fall along with this index, which is currently near historic lows. The low rates make it an excellent time to take out a HELOC with manageable payback terms
Are you looking to tap into your home’s equity with a HELOC? Call, click, or stop by Kellogg Community Credit Union today to get started. Our low rates and generous terms make a Kellogg Community Credit Union HELOC a great choice to get the money you need.
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