The Good And Bad Reasons To Tap Into Home Equity

Since home values are continually on the rise, it makes more sense for many Americans to tap into their home equity for financial security. The home equity line of credit is a great resource that has come back with many benefits. You can finance so many things from home improvement projects to the vacation you have always wanted with a reverse mortgage. There are consequences if you don’t turn to home equity with careful thought. You could end up owing more than your home is even worth at a certain point. That’s not giving you any value. 

Smart Financial Moves

Tapping into a home equity line of credit could be a smart financial move. If you use little to none of the money it can be wise to have extra cash on hand for emergencies, considering rates are so low for home loans. It can help you to be prepared for unexpected financial setbacks. The key is to not use the money unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Good Ideas For Home Equity

  • Emergency fund
  • Home renovations
  • Education funds (if you’ll be able to pay it back in a timely manner)

Bad Ideas For Home Equity

  • Vacations
  • Car purchase
  • Random spending

If you’re expecting an increase in income and need some extra cash on hand for a purpose, using a home equity line of credit can be a good resource. Also, if you’re selling your home soon, tapping into home equity for improvement projects can help to give you a better return on the sale. 

Home Equity Is Not An Unlimited Source Of Funds

Home values can change drastically with the market and the amount of demand. The amount of equity you may have can change as well, and your repayment amounts can vary drastically based on the state of the housing market. While tapping into home equity will most likely put you in the positive, you could end up in the negative if you’re not carefully prepared.

The Ways To Draw On Your Home Equity

There are 3 main ways to draw on your home’s equity. In any of these cases, you cannot borrow more than 80% of your home’s value from any lender. 

Cash-out Refinance

This loan is exactly as it sounds; you take a set mount of cash out from your home and refinance it at the same time. 

 

Home Equity Loan

This is a loan that is sometimes referred to a second mortgage. This usually has a fixed rate. 

Home Equity Line Of Credit

This loan is like using a credit card. There’s a maximum that you can borrow, and you use money as you need it. After a certain amount of time, you can no longer draw on the money.  

Refinancing your home will extend the life of your mortgage. You’ll have higher costs but end up with lower rates most often.

Questions To Consider When Thinking Of A Home Equity Line Of Credit

  • Does your home need renovations?
  • Is the loan rate lower than other types of loans like car loans?
  • Do you need to consolidate your debt?
  • Are you facing large bills like medical bills or college tuition? 
  • Are you starting a business?

Used in smart ways, home equity can be a great financial resource for you. Consider your options and plan your finances wisely. Your home is in fact your biggest asset! 

A Guide to VA Loans for Veterans and Servicemembers

Securing a mortgage can take years of planning and saving. Depending on credit score and financial history, it can be difficult for some people to secure a mortgage with a reasonable interest rate and down payment.

As a result, the U.S. government–at both the federal and state level–has created several programs to make the goal of homeownership more achievable for more Americans. 

These programs are designed to help a number of people, including first-time homebuyers, low-income families, people living in rural areas, Native Americans, and veterans and servicemembers of the United States military.

In today’s article, we’re going to be talking about “VA loans,” or loans guaranteed by the United States Department f Veterans Affairs.

What is a VA Loan?

When a bank chooses to approve someone for a mortgage, they have weighed the risks of that person’s ability to pay back the loan. The less certain a bank is that they will see a return on their investment with a borrower, the higher the down payment and interest rate they will require.

One incentive that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers its service members and veterans is the ability to receive a loan that is, in part, guaranteed by U.S. Government. That means that lenders can safely approve you for lower interest rates and down payments knowing that the money they are lending you is insured.

Who is eligible for a loan?

Loans guaranteed by Veterans Affairs aren’t strictly for veterans. Active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve Members may also be eligible. In addition to service members, people who are or were spouses of veterans or service members might also be eligible for a VA loan.

Specific eligibility requirements can be somewhat complicated, so it’s a good idea to visit the eligibility page or contact your local Veterans Affairs office.

What are the perks of a VA Loan?

If you’ve spent a significant portion of your time serving in the military, there’s a good chance that saving for a home has been placed on the back burner. Shopping around for a loan with an affordable down payment can be daunting or impossible for many.

Fortunately, with a VA loan eligible recipients are able to receive a loan with a low down payment or even no down payment.

In a time when down payments can average 20% of the mortgage, that can mean a lot of money you won’t have to spend up from. For example, a home that costs $275,000 would have a 20% down payment of $55,000.

What are the fees?

This great deal does come with one catch. As with many loan assistance programs, there is a fee charged for the services. On top of the funding fee charged by the VA, there are other costs associated with buying a home.

These may include appraisals, inspections, credit reports, and more. Additionally, lenders may charge a 1% flat fee for those using a VA loan.

Don’t Be a Bad Borrower

Getting approved for a loan isn’t always a good thing. You have to make sure you are a good borrower. What makes a bad borrower? There are several types of loans you should avoid if you don’t want to overextend yourself and potentially damage your credit rating.

Payday loans Interest rates on pay day loans often run high into the triple digits.  They are designed to be extremely short-term. Pay day loans often put borrowers in a cycle of debt that can be difficult to break because borrower usually can’t pay off the original loans and keep returning to the service.

Car title loans Borrowing against an asset is usually never a good idea. Most car title loans charge interest with an annual percentage rate of well over a 100 percent and they are generally due within one month. If the borrower can’t pay back the loan, the lender will take your car and sell it.

Tax refund anticipation loans Another loan with an extremely high interest rate is a tax refund anticipation loan. If you need more money you can change the amount that’s withheld from your paycheck. That way you give yourself a raise and the government takes only the amount that’s owed.

Co-signing a loan Co-signing a loan for someone else has you taking on all of the responsibility of another financial obligation with none of the benefits. Too often co-signers find themselves left with the loan long after the other person on the loan has stopped paying. It usually never makes sense to take on someone else’s debt.