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Three Uses For Your Home Equity Loan

If you’ve thought about getting a home equity loan, you should first consider the best way to make use of the funds. Here are three ideas.
The home equity loan has become one of the most popular lending choices available to consumers. Remember that equity refers to the difference between what is owed in on the property and its value. If you’ve made a good investment, you could have a boatload of equity in your home but the question is how to wisely use that home equity loan.
Use #1 – Consolidate Debt
Probably the most common way to use a home equity loan is for debt consolidation. Most of the time, these loans have lower interest rates than other types of debt. For example, the average credit card interest rate is around 16%. If you are struggling to pay back all of those smaller examples of debt, you can use the funds from home equity loans to pay them all off and free up some cash. You’ll end up with a lower interest rate and a better debt to income ratio in some cases.
The biggest problem with taking this route is that if you’re the type of person who runs up a lot of debt, you may end up repeating the process once your credit cards are freed up thanks to the home equity loan. These actions could lead you down a financially disastrous road.
Use #2 – Children’s Education
If you have kids going to college, you may also consider using a home equity loan to pay for that education. College costs are increasing every year so this could be a wise choice and could help prevent your child from starting out in life with too much debt. While this is an idea worth considering, there are some drawbacks.
First, you also have to consider whether or not you’ll need to access your home’s equity during your own retirement. These two life milestones tend to go hand in hand and this might be a good time to put your own needs first, especially if your child has other funding options. Be sure that he or she explores all options, including federal grants, federal student loans, and scholarships. Another idea is for you to take out a federal PLUS loan using your home as collateral.
Use #3 – Fixing Up the Home
The second most common use for a home equity loan is repairs and improvements to the property. The basic idea is that the changes will actually improve the value of the home which means more equity. Plus, if there are major repairs needed and you can’t afford them in any other way, this is definitely a resort you can choose.
Be aware though that not all of the changes you add are going to boost the value of your home. You also need to realize that your home’s value is also closely tied to the neighborhood in which you live. If you are going to do repairs, consider focusing on the kitchens and bathrooms because these changes are the most likely to increase value.