Home Equity Loan: What You Need to Know

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The idea of getting a home equity loan while interest rates are low to help you pay off your bills, buy a car, or even pay for your child's education may seem like a great idea. However, you should educate yourself first so you know exactly what a home equity loan is and if it is really right for you.

The basic idea of a home equity loan is that you can borrow against the current equity in your home, so the more equity you have the larger home equity loan you can receive. In essence, to receive a home equity loan you are using your home as collateral, or the basis, for the home equity loan. If you do not pay the home equity loan back, then your home is at stake and may be foreclosed upon. This is sobering news many people are not aware of, so getting a home equity loan requires some thought and the ability to repay the home equity loan as well.

However, you might be reading this and actually interested in a home equity loan, but have no idea what equity is or if you have any. Equity is how much of your home you have paid for. So, you take the home's current value and subtract it from the amount you still owe, and that is how much equity you have in your home and what will ultimately be used to approve or deny your home equity loan application. For example, your home is currently worth $400,000 and you have $280,000 left to pay on your mortgage. Your current equity is $120,000.

You will need to know all of this information before you apply for a home equity loan to know if you have enough equity to even apply for a home equity loan. Plus, the more you know about applying for and negotiating rates for a home equity loan the better deal you will receive. Remember, knowledge is power and the more home equity loan knowledge you have the more powerful you will be able to negotiate.