Is a home equity loan better then refinancing?

A home equity loan like a second mortgage usually has a higher interest rate than a primary mortgage because it stands second in line in case of a foreclosure and doesn't get paid unless there's money left over after the primary mortgage is paid off. The origination fees are usually much lower than for a primary mortgage. I suppose the answer is that you should run the numbers for both ideas and find out which one is less expensive for your particular situation. For a proper comparison run the numbers financing all the loan origination fees (adding them to the loan principal) and for the same end date.