When you’re planning a remodeling project or home renovation, it’s a good idea to start by determining how you’ll pay for it. Usually that comes down to taking out a loan or using your savings.
Some people may have enough cash saved to consider paying for their remodeling project or home renovation out of pocket. But just because you have enough savings to pay for your home remodeling project doesn’t necessarily mean you should rule out either a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Tapping into home equity can be a smart move, under certain circumstances. Your own individual financial situation will determine what payment plan you should choose. So check out this episode of Big Money Real Estate for my tips on when to tap into home equity and whether to choose a home equity loan or HELOC to pay for a home remodeling project.
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a home equity line of credit? First, a home equity line of credit offers a lot of flexibility. One, it has a very low payment, an interest only payment. That can also be a disadvantage depending on how you treat it. If things were to get tight at the end of each month and a surprise came about, what you’re required to make is going to be substantially lower than what a typical mortgage is. But keep in mind, if you make that minimum payment, you’re on a treadmill. You’re not going to get anywhere.
Also, it’s open-ended with simple interest. It allows you to deposit 100% of your income with confidence that you can get that money back out to pay your bills. What’s left over is sitting in there driving down the average daily principle balance, which drives down the amount of interest that you pay, and ultimately gets it paid off much, much faster than a mortgage.
A huge advantage with a home equity line of credit is no closing costs. Typically banks don’t charge any type of lender fees and they will even compensate you for your title fees. Now, it depends on what state you’re in and how large your loan is but if you’re around the 0,000 to 0,000 loan amount, you can expect the bank to pay all of your fees and not include them in loan like typical mortgage lenders do. We’re talking actually pay it on your behalf. A lot of banks don’t even require an appraisal. There’s never mortgage insurance with a home equity line of credit. It doesn’t matter if you’re borrowing 85, 90, or 100% of the value of your home. A home equity line of credit never has mortgage insurance.
In some of the disadvantages of having a home equity line of credit is really not the product itself. It’s really the person using the product is a disadvantage. What I’m talking about there is discipline. What are you doing with your money now? You’re putting all of your money into a checking account. All we’re asking you to do is to replace your checking account with your home equity line of credit and you’ll be just fine. It’s discipline. That is the disadvantage of having a home equity line of credit. It’s folks not actually following through on that. If you don’t follow through on it, it’s no better than having a mortgage. It’s not worse, but it’s no better.
Another disadvantage is if you actually do perform the strategy, you’re going to find that you’re going to have access to a large amount of equity pretty fast. What are you going to do with that equity? Are you going to leave it in there and continue to pay off your debts or are you going to cash out to go buy an S-Class Mercedes? You’re buying a liability, not an asset. I am an advocate of pulling money out of your home equity line of credit to buy things that are assets. In fact, very specific assets. Dividend paying assets.
Those are the disadvantages of having a home equity line of credit. There is a perceived disadvantage of having a home equity line of credit because the rates typically are variable meaning they can change at anytime and go up or down. The reason why I say that’s perceived, it depends on how you treat the home equity line of credit. If you treat it like it’s your checking and savings account, and your cash flow positive, you’re interest rate immune. What that means is, you’re actually reducing the principle much faster than the rise of interest rates. There are quite a few banks that offer fixed rate home equity lines of credit so you don’t even have to worry about that if you didn’t want to.
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