How does a home equity line of credit work?

Home Equity Lines of Credit

A home equity line of credit is a form of revolving credit in which your home serves as collateral. Because the home is likely to be a consumer's largest asset, many homeowners use their line of credit only for major items such as education, home improvements, or medical bills and not for day-to-day expenses.

With a home equity line, you will be approved for a specific amount of credit, your credit limit, the maximum amount you may borrow at any one time under the plan. Many lenders set the limit on a home equity line by taking a percentage (say, 75 percent) of the home's appraised value and subtracting from that the balance owed on the existing mortgage.

In determining your actual limit, the lender will also consider your ability to repay, by looking at your income, debts, and other financial obligations as well as your credit history.

Many home equity plans set a fixed period during which you can borrow money, such as 10 years. At the end of this "draw period," you may be allowed to renew the line of credit. If your plan does not allow renewals, you will not be able to borrow additional money once the period has ended. Some plans may call for payment in full of any outstanding balance at the end of the period. Others may allow repayment over a fixed period (the "repayment period"), for example, 10 years.

Once approved for a home equity line of credit, you will most likely be able to borrow up to your limit whenever you want. Typically, you will use special checks to draw on your line. Under some plans, borrowers can use a credit card or other means to draw on the line.

There may be limitations on how you use the line. Some plans may require you to borrow a minimum amount each time you draw on the line (for example, $300) and to keep a minimum amount outstanding. Some plans may also require that you take an initial advance when the line is set up.

In A Nutshell-- Example: You bought your home 11 years ago-- so far you have paid a total amount of $56,000 toward the contract loan amount given to you by your initial bank-- You now have $56,000 in Built-UP equity that you can borrow against-- from either the same bank that gave you the initial loan to purchase the home in the first place or from another different bank. You have an invested $56,000 in the home and the bank knows that you will not want to falter and take the chance on losing the home after you have already put soo much money into it. An so if you want to take out a loan from the same bank or a different bank they will most likely welcome you and issue you a Home Equity Line of Credit Loan as long as you Promise BY Contract that if they give you a loan against your built-up equity you will give up your investment portion of the home if you falter on the payments. If you do this with your initial bank the bank could give you an extended mortgage contract against your first mortgage contract making your payments slightly higher and adding more time for you to pay the amount owed-- if you do this using a second bank you will likely be be faced with a second mortgage.

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