Home equity is the value that your home has due to the payments that you have made on your mortgage. A home equity loan will enable you to borrow money using the equity that your home has as the collateral. It can be confusing to deal with all these terms but the reality of the situation is that you have to arm yourself with the knowledge of these terms. It is important to learn the definitions and understand what they mean when you are thinking of sourcing a home equity loan.

One of the first terms is collateral. This is the property or asset that is put as the guarantee that you will repay your debt. If this debt is not repaid then the lender is able to take the asset and use it to attain their money. With home equity loans the asset on the line is your home and you can be forced to move out of the home and lose the home if you default on the loan. The equity simply of your home is calculated simply as the difference between the worth of the home and the amount you owe on the mortgage.

You can use a home equity loan, which is a second mortgage to turn equity into cash, and this money is made available to spend on many items such as debt consolidation, home improvements, college or any other expense that you may have. There are in reality two main types of home equity debt. These are known as home equity loans which we mentioned previously and home equity lines of credit. These are often confused but they are not identical even though they are both secured by your property.

The typical home equity loan or line of credit is repaid in shorter times than mortgages. They are set up to run 15 years rather than 30 years but can be significantly shorter or longer depending. A home equity loan is a lump sum that is paid off over a set period. This is at a fixed interest and steady installment per month. This is one time and you cannot borrow again. The home equity line of credit operates a lot differently. There is a revolving balance that lets you borrow a certain amount for the duration of the loan or other set time limit. You withdraw as you need and pay off the principal and reuse.

There are various benefits and disadvantages of these two but this really depends on your unique situation. While there is more flexibility with the home equity line of credit there can also be some downsides due to the fluctuating interest. The home equity loan also has its disadvantages as it is possible to pay only interest and not principal and remain in debt. Whichever you opt for you must be aware of all the possibilities and how to avoid the downfalls. This can help you use either to your advantage and assist in keeping you away from the possibility of losing your home.

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