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By Robbie T. James

If you have equity in your home right now, you are in an increasingly rare category of homeowners whose home is worth more than the amount they owe on their mortgage.

There are many ways to end up in this situation, but four of the most common paths that homeowners like you generally take to a point where they have equity in their home are:

a. you put enough money down on your home when you bought it to cover the 10%-20% minimum down payment requirement – and you didn’t need to take out a second mortgage to do so;

b. your home value has not declined very much over the past 3-5 years (which would be a rarity in the current housing climate);

c. you bought your home after the late 2000’s housing bubble burst, thus getting it for a relatively low price

d. you have owned your home for well over 10-15 years and have built up equity over this time by consistently paying down your principal balance

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Regardless of how you got here, if you currently have equity in your home you may find yourself in a situation whereby you would like to “cash out” some of that equity with the help of a bank. The equity you take out can be used to pay off high-interest credit cards, get needed cash for home improvements or to pay off other debts.

Choosing a Financial Institution for an Equity Loan

In order to apply for a bank equity home loan for a mortgage, you can either choose to apply with the financial institution that holds your current home mortgage, or you can find another institution such as your current bank or another third-party institution.

Here are 3 loan options for you to consider:

1. Home Equity Line of Credit (LOC):

A home equity line of credit (LOC) is available from most major banks. It allows you, the borrower who has equity in their home, to borrow money against that equity at different times in the amount and at the time(s) of their choosing.

For example, if you are carrying out ongoing home improvements, you may need to borrow some cash now, some next month, and some more in 6 months for each phase of the project.

The great thing about this option is that you only borrow (and therefore pay interest on) the amount you need – but no more. Usually, the interest rate is a variable rate, but some banks give customers the option to convert that rate to a fixed rate at some point during the life of the line of credit. Another benefit is that these loans entail no bank closing costs – and in some cases they are tax deductible.

2. Home Equity Loan:

Another option you have is a home equity loan. This is often the best option to consider if you want to borrow a lump sum all at once, then pay it back over a set period of time at a fixed interest rate and fixed monthly payments.

Advantages to this option include the ability to get funded on the full loan amount up front, have the chance to pay a fixed rate from the get-go, and have a predictable pay-off schedule. And, these loans may also be tax deductible.

3. Home Asset Management Account:

If you current mortgage is through a bank that also offers home equity lines of credit, you may qualify for a home asset management account. This simply means that, since you already have an established banking relationship with your bank, you can more easily manage your home equity line of credit.

The main advantage of this option is the ability to access the available funds on an as-needed basis, while being able to have access to one’s equity line of credit and mortgage information all in one place. In many cases, optional credit increases may be made available as the principal balance of the mortgage is paid down. And, like the other two options above, the interest may be tax-deductible.

Consider these 3 options as you look into the option of a bank equity home loan mortgage. To get the best-possible rate, make sure to apply for at least 3-5 banks.

About the Author: For access to low-rate home equity lenders, financial calculators & credit tips, check out:

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