Home Equity Loans are one of the most valuable products available to homeowners today. Using the equity in your home to make home improvements is a smart move -- rates are typically lower than credit cards or home improvement suppliers and the interest may be tax deductible.
Many factors go into the decision to approve a home equity loan and although you currently have a mortgage, things may have changed that would impact the approval process. The price of homes in your neighborhood, the current condition of your home, a job change which may have impacted your monthly income and your other debt are all things that can change over time. Therefore, the process of borrowing against the equity in your home is very similar to obtaining your first mortgage requiring an updated appraisal, proof of income and verification of your credit score.
Knowing what improvements you want to make and understanding the cost is the first step in getting it started. Use our handy Home Improvement Calculator to obtain an estimate of your project costs. You will also receive an estimate of your Home Improvement Loan monthly payment so you can understand the impact on your monthly budget. The next step is to determine if you can borrow the amount necessary to complete your project.
The following calculation can be used as a guideline to determine how much you can afford to borrow. Your monthly gross income (income before taxes) and your debt load are used to determine how much you can borrow. Your loan payment plus your monthly debt (not including your household expenses such as heat and electric) should not exceed 30% of your monthly gross income. Use our handy calculator to help you determine your maximum monthly loan payment.
A Home Equity loan may be the right solution provided you have sufficient equity in the home to cover the project costs. Some choices are yours to make; others are based on specific circumstances such as:
You can apply for your home equity mortgage loan by contacting a lender or you can apply on-line. A lender will contact you if you apply on-line. You will be asked to provide a list of information to your lender so they can proceed with your loan review and approval:
Within 3 days of application, you will be provided with several documents:
Your appraisal will be ordered by the bank. The appraisal is an evaluation of the property's value and is completed prior to the final loan approval to ensure the loan amount is consistent with the value of the property. The appraiser visits the house and evaluates the site, structure and physical condition of the property. The final appraisal amount also includes an evaluation of recent selling prices of similar homes in the area (often referred to as "comparables"). The process can take up to two weeks.
An inspection may be required as a result of something found during the appraisal process.
The title search is a step to uncover any possible problems with the legal ownership of the property such as a lien or faulty land survey. Arrangements for the title search are made by the bank. A one-time fee is paid at closing.
Upon receipt of a satisfactory appraisal and title search, your lender will contact you with the final approval. A commitment letter will be issued at this time.
The lender will establish the closing date. Before closing you should review all loan documents. You will receive your check as part of the closing process.