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Working With Your Home's Equity

Dec 7, 2007
The concept of home equity is one that many people don't understand. But it is necessary to be aware of its role. Simply put, home equity is how much of the house that you own. Specifically, it is the estimated value of the house after the outstanding mortgage is removed from the equation. This is all well and good, but you are probably wondering how this can actually help you. The point is that it can prove very helpful. Read on to find out why you should be aware of this term.

Knowing your home equity and understanding how it plays into your life is important because it acts as a secret safety net for your well being. It could be that your financial situation is on the brink of a catastrophe. This could make you feel quite desperate about things. If things continue to get worse you can easily default on your mortgage and lose everything that you worked so hard to get. But your home equity could help you out.

It acts as your safety net by providing a solid source of collateral that is always growing in the background. Every time you pay off an installment, your equity will rise a little more. Each dollar you spend on improving your house should hopefully increase the equity as well, if you know what you're doing. In the end, you should have a decent amount of equity built up to take a second mortgage on your house in a time of extreme debt.

There are two basic types of home equity loans. The standard loan just gives you a lump sum of money with the amount based on how much equity you currently have. You then have a second set of payment to make, but the money you have should hopefully let you turn things around and start new. The other form is a home equity line of credit (HELOC), where your equity would simply stand as collateral for future borrowing. To that effect, this is like using a credit card.

You can borrow against the balance that you have and the interest rate will shift according to the market conditions. This is a great solution if you are facing temporary money troubles. However, before you go in for this, make sure that it will not aggravate your other problems.

As you can see, your home equity is a very important aspect to your financial life. It just stands for how much you have paid towards your home and how much the value has increased in the face of the housing market. You should also view your home equity as a little source of pride. This is the way in which you are preparing for your future. It is how much you have tangibly gained.

You won't officially own the house for a long time, but you own a part of it. The home equity that gets built up is a reminder that you have been investing in your future. The equity can serve as funding for any loan that you may need during a rough time so that you can pull yourself out of debt. It is always a far better idea to make use of the home equity rather than not pay the mortgage and lose the house.
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