What is Home Equity?
Your home equity is the appraised value remaining in your home after you subtract the remaining balance you owe on your existing home
mortgage (s). It can be thought of as the part of the home you actually own instead of the bank: the part you’ve paid for so far.
It isn’t difficult to build equity in your home, and chances are if you’ve owned your home for a while and have been making your regular mortgage payments, you probably have built a considerable amount of home equity already. Though the housing market rises and falls in cycles, the overall tendency is consistently upward. In other words, property values tend to rise over the long term.
How Can Home Equity Be Used?
Once you have equity in your home, you can start to use it to fund nearly anything you want or need. Having equity in your home puts you in a powerful position, as you can use that equity to qualify for credit and borrow money. Buy a new car, take that dream vacation, fund a college education, make renovations and improvements to your home. Whether to pay for an emergency or finance a dream, there are two primary ways to tap into the wellspring that is your home equity: a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit.
What Are Home Equity Interest Rates Like?
A good question to ask before borrowing money from any source is: how much is it going to cost in the long run? Because your home is being used as collateral on the home equity loan or home equity line of credit, the risk for the lender is considerably lower, and therefore interest rates on home equity loans and home equity lines of credit are usually lower than the average interest rate on a credit card.
Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit are, however, usually higher than the interest rate on the average fixed rate mortgage. And in general, home equity loans usually have lower interest rates than home equity lines of credit.
What Are Some of the Other Benefits of Home Equity?
As if borrowing money weren’t advantage enough, home equity offers a bevy of other benefits as well, including:
Debt consolidation was designed to help individuals who are “drowning in debt” to regain control of their financial lives. Consolidating debt gives individuals the chance combine their various monthly payments into a single monthly payment that is usually lower than the sum of the individual monthly payments on the same debt. Payments on consolidated debt are also quite often at a lower interest rate than the rates offered by the individual lenders.
If one or more of the following applies to you, debt consolidation may be in order:
* you pay for normal living expenses with credit;
* you transfer balances around from one credit card to another;
* you can only afford the minimum monthly payments on your credit cards, and no more;
* you have maxed out one or more credit cards;
* you find yourself spending more than half your income to pay your monthly credit card payments;
* you’re looking to open yet another line of credit in order to better manage your current debt, expenses, and lifestyle;
The following is a breakdown of some of the best and most common ways to consolidate debt:
Debt Consolidation Loans
The “traditional” way to consolidate debt is to take out a debt consolidation loan. This is a personal loan that is unsecured, and therefore considered riskier other types of loans. Lenders therefore will usually charge higher interest rates for these loans, the advantage to getting such a loan being the single (and hopefully smaller) monthly payment. People with lots of debt may find they have difficulty getting a lender to give them a debt consolidation loan, however, and may need to look further to find a viable debt consolidation solution.
Debt settlement agencies help you resolve debt by becoming the intermediary between you and your creditors, You stop paying your various creditors and instead make a single payment to the debt settlement agency.