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The Basics Of Home Equity Loans

Aug 17, 2007
While on the look out for your dream home, you might have come across the terms "equity" and "home equity loans." Below is an explanation to help you understand these terms.

What Is Equity?
Suppose the value of your home is $200,000 and the mortagage value is $50,000. The equity value of your home is $150,000. Equity is the difference between the value of your home and the mortgage balance.

Home equity loans have lower interest rates that are not subject to tax. Hence, it has become the most preferred option for home buyers. People use home equity loans in case of big expenses like weddings and home renovations. However, you should be careful, since you're putting your home up as security. If you fail to pay it back, you may lose your home.

It is not advisable to take equity loans for paying off your credit card dues, especially if you cannot refrain from indulging in extravagances, as this will lead to more debts.

Types of Home Equity Loans
Home equity loans are of two kinds:

Traditional home equity loan or second mortgage: The bank provides a substantial amount of cash that you must pay back over a period. Here, interest starts right on the day the bank gives you money.

Home equity line of credit: The bank offers a credit card or a checkbook for purchases. This is collected against the equity of your home. Here, interest starts only after you make a purchase.

Paying A Home Equity Loan
Home equity loans can be paid in many ways. Usually, people pay them by making regular payments under the interest as well as the principal. In some loans, you have the flexibility of paying only the interest initially. Then there are loans that give you an option of getting rid of the principal faster by paying some extra amount. However, it is better to check out this option with your lender, as there are some loans that fine you for paying ahead.

How To Find A Home Equity Loan
It is wise to go to a bank that is different from the one that has your frst mortgage. Always do some comparisons before making the final decision, in order to get the best interest rates and terms on the loan.

Most home equity loans have different interest rates. Some of them come with a fixed interest rate while others have small introductory rates. Certain loans come with high closing costs and annual charges.

Then there are loans featuring huge balloon payments. Others have no balloon payments and come with large monthly payments.

An After Thought
Finding the best home equity loan requires some effort, but it is rewardig at the end. It can help you pay off debts or acquire money to start a new business venture.
About the Author
David Gass is President of Business Credit Services, Inc. His company publishes a free weekly e-newsletter on Small Business Consulting at their web site http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com
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