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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Advantages of home equity loans

Smaller terms, less interest paid. Whether you choose a home equity line of credit, which works like a credit card with an adjustable limit, or a home equity loan, which has a fixed-rate and fixed term, you can generally pay off this smaller loan faster than you would a mortgage. This can help you get through a short-term cash crunch without sacrificing long-term interest dollars.

Easy to close, low fees. Unlike a cash-out refinancing, a home equity line of credit or loan can be closed rather quickly with minimal documentation and low fees. More often than not, your lending institution can use the appraisal from your previous mortgage loan, thereby saving you extra money.

The option to roll it into a first mortgage down the road. Don't forget Newton's law of interest rates: what goes up, must come down. If fixed-rates on 15- or 30- year mortgages drop in the future, you can always refinance that first mortgage and pay off your home equity loan.

There are plenty of options for homeowners in the face of rising interest rates. While the cash-out refinance might not be one of them, a flexible home equity line of credit or a fixed-rate home equity loan might be the best way to tap equity without costing you additional money long-term.

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