Is a Home Equity Loan an Option?

Dated: April 3 2020

Views: 13

Here's the scenario: you have a project and need to borrow some money, but you want to do it in the most economic manner.  You've got a low rate on your existing first mortgage and don't want to do a cash-out refinance and pay a higher rate.  Is a home equity loan an option?

Prior to 2018, homeowners could have up to $100,000 of home equity debt and deduct the interest on their personal tax return.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated the home equity deduction unless the money is used for capital improvements.

Regardless of the deductibility, lenders will still loan money to owners who have equity in their home and good credit.  The most common reasons people borrow against their home equity are:

  • Consolidate debt with higher interest rates
  • Make improvements on their home
  • Refinance an existing home equity line of credit
  • Down payment for another home or rental investment
  • Creating reserves or available access for potential needs

One available loan is a fixed-rate home equity loan, commonly referred to as a second mortgage.  It is usually funded at one time, with amortized payments for terms that could range from five to fifteen years.

Another option is a home equity line of credit or HELOC, where a homeowner is approved for up to a certain amount at a floating-rate over a ten-year period.  The borrower can draw against the amount as needed and would pay interest every month and eventually, pay down the principal.

The amount of money that can be borrowed is determined by the equity.  Lenders generally will not exceed 80% of the value of the home.  If a home was worth $400,000, the 80% ceiling would be $320,000.  If the homeowner had an unpaid balance on their first loan of $240,000, an amount up to $80,000 would be possible.

The next variable is the borrowers' credit score which will determine the rate of interest that will be charged.  The higher the score, the lower the rate the borrower will pay.  And the converse is true, the lower the score, the higher the rate.

Another common variable considered is the borrowers' total debt to income ratio.  Ideally, the combination of regular monthly debt payments should not exceed 43% of their monthly gross income.

If you have good credit and an adequate amount of equity, your home could be the source of the funds you need.  There is a lot of competition among lenders and shopping around can make a difference.

Call me at (347) 788-9294 for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional.  If you have questions about whether the interest on the loan will be deductible, talk to your tax professional.

Blog author image

Dyanna Moon

I have been in love with real estate since I can remember. I love to spend my days working with amazing clients, marketing homes for sale, negotiating contracts and handing keys over to happy new hom....

Latest Blog Posts

Home Sales About To Surge? We May See a Winter Like Never Before.

Like most industries, residential real estate has a seasonality to it. For example, toy stores sell more toys in October, November, and December than they do in any other three-month span throughout

Read More

Experts Project Mortgage Rates Will Continue To Rise in 2022

Mortgage rates are one of several factors that impact how much you can afford if you’re buying a home. When rates are low, they help you get more house for your money. Within the last year,

Read More

What Does it Mean for a Property ‘Not to Appraise’?

A home’s true market value relies on the appraiser’s evaluation of the subject home and any comparable sales in the area. An appraiser’s fair market value is an independent

Read More

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You

Today’s housing market is truly one for the record books. Over the past year, we’ve seen the lowest mortgage rates in history. And while those rates seemed to bottom out in

Read More