Open the Cash Vault Inside Your Home

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Surprisingly, many people have this type of equity and do
not take advantage of it. Some people are actually in dire financial straits
and fail to realize their problems can be solved very easily, by taking the
equity from their home. Remember, your home is a “vault,” and the money
inside that vault belongs to you. Best of all, you can use that money/ equity
for anything you desire, from home improvement to travel expenses to
spending money.

Exactly what is a home equity line of credit or HELOC?
A home equity line of credit, which lenders and mortgage brokers
refer to as a HELOC, is a different kind of home loan. An equity line has
different rates and terms from a conventional first mortgage. In a standard
home loan, or mortgage, your monthly payments cover both the principal
loan and the interest you are charged.

Most mortgage payments include escrow, or taxes and insurance. An equity line of
credit payment does not reduce your principal loan amount and does not include escrow. You are
borrowing the equity in your house and paying the bank an interest premium
on that loan. With a HELOC, you pay only the interest on the loan and,
generally, you get the money for less time than you do a standard first
mortgage.

The underwriting on these loans is very simple, and in most cases, the
loans are very easy to get. At close, you either get one big check, which you
can deposit into your savings or checking account or you can get a check
book and treat your equity line of credit as another checking account. The
payment on equity lines is very enticing. Paying interest only makes for a
very low payment. It’s important to remember, though, when paying
interest only, you are not paying down the principal loan balance.

The Power of Interest-Only Payments
So, let’s suppose you take an equity line for $50,000 at 4.25% interest.
This interest rate is based on the Prime rate, a floating rate that can change
but does not fluctuate very often. When this article was first published, the prime
rate was 4.25 percent. So, on your $50,000 equity line of credit, your payment
is $177.00 each month. This is an incredibly low payment on a loan of this size.
This gives you a great deal of power, because you can control a large sum of
money for an extremely low monthly payment. It is this low, because you are only
paying the interest on the loan.

At the end of the first year, you will have paid the bank over $2,100.
You will, however, still owe $50,000. This is because your monthly
payment is an interest-only payment. This is where some people can get in
trouble with home equity lines of credit. If you use all the equity in your
home and never pay down the balance, then decide to sell your house, you
won’t make anything on the sale, because you’ll owe it all to the bank.

It is also important to understand the terms on a home equity line of
credit (HELOC). When talking to mortgage professionals about home
equity lines of credit, be sure you understand the terms, as lenders vary on
what they’ll offer. Like conventional mortgages, which have terms of 30
years, 15 years, 10 years, etc., home equity lines also have various terms, but
not all lenders offer them. Don’t let this confuse you. Just find your
trustworthy mortgage broker, and tell him or her exactly what you want.

Unlike mortgage payments, which include complicated yearly amortization of the
principal loan amount, interest-only payments are calculated very easily. You can
do it in two simple steps. To find out your payment, first learn what rate of interest
you’ll be charged. If you are using 80 percent or less of the equity available and you
have an A credit rating, you’ll be able to get the best rate available, which is
the prime rate.

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