The length of time it will take to pay off a home equity loan or line of credit is primarily driven by the interest rate being paid on the outstanding balance, how much you continue to use the line of credit and what monthly payment is made each month. Decreasing any additional spending and increasing monthly payments are an effective strategy for paying off the outstanding balance in a shorter period.
Home equity loans can be used to consolidate account balances from multiple credit cards or installment loans into a single loan while offering the added benefit of consolidating multiple payments into a single monthly payment. Using home equity for debt consolidation can be beneficial if the repayment period for paying off the home equity loan is shorter than it would be for your existing debts, or if the interest paid over the repayment period is less than what you would pay without consolidating your debt.
Home equity lines of credit often have more flexible repayment terms than a standard home equity loan. Home equity loan payments are typically fixed over the repayment period, while home equity lines of credit can offer interest-only payment terms, or outstanding balances can be repaid using a variety of repayment strategies.
When making a major purchase, using a home equity loan or line of credit is an alternative to financing offers often provided by a seller or manufacturer. In such cases, buyers often have the option of taking the seller-provided financing offer or a rebate on their purchase. Taking the rebate and using the equity in your home may provide a better alternative to the seller financing.
Repayment of a home equity line of credit requires that the borrower makes a monthly payment to the lender. For some home equity lines of credit, borrowers can make interest-only payments for a defined period, after which a repayment period begins. Interest-only payments are based on the outstanding loan balance and interest rate. During the repayment period, the payment includes both repayment of the loan principal, plus monthly interest on the outstanding balance.
Repayment of a home equity loan requires that the borrower makes a monthly payment to the lender. That monthly payment includes both repayment of the loan principal, plus monthly interest on the outstanding balance. Loan payments are amortized so that the monthly payment remains the same throughout the repayment period, but during that time, the percentage of the amount that goes towards principal will increase as the outstanding mortgage balance decreases.
The amount of equity available for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit is determined by the loan-to-value ratio of the home and the ratio requirements of the lender. A loan-to-value ratio is calculated by taking total mortgage debt (including any second mortgages or existing home equity loans) and dividing it by the current, appraised value of the home. The size of a home equity loan or line of credit will also depend on the loan-to-value requirements of the lender. Higher loan-to-value requirements can result in larger home equity loans or lines of credit.