The Best Ways to Use Your HELOC
Get the Most from Your Home's Equity
Home equity refers to the portion of your house that you own. In other words, the equity you have earned to-date by paying your mortgage. A Home Equity Line of Credit, or HELOC, allows you to open a line of credit and use that portion of your home as collateral. This gives you a secured loan with the freedom to use these funds for anything that may have a bigger up-front cost.
But how do you know if a HELOC is right for you? And what do you use it for?
Because you are using your home as collateral, one of the best ways to spend your HELOC is to improve and increase the value of your home. Use your HELOC to renovate rooms, redesign bathrooms, or upgrade your features. You will be pleased with your result, and you’ll have added beautiful new value to your home. But renovations don’t always need to mean huge improvements like adding a home office or remodeling your kitchen; you can also take on smaller renovations. Adding new windows, for example, can help better insulate your home for heating and cooling efficiency, not to mention add to the aesthetic of your home.
Spring and summer are HELOC seasons, in part because it’s the perfect time to tend to most repair jobs big or small. Repairs can be costly, especially if you wait until the problems are too serious to ignore. Fix the roof, re-wire the electricity, repair the toilet, and more. Like renovations, repairs will also increase the value of your home, and may encourage you to take on bigger projects. Maybe fixing the hole in the roof means getting a new roof. Perhaps gutting the front yard means building a new garden.
You can also use your HELOC to upgrade your appliances. Check out energy saving washers and dryers, smart thermostats that sync to your smart phone or tablet, a new security system, or even a new hot water heater! These upgrades will leave you and your wallet feeling satisfied.
A HELOC isn’t just for your home. You can use your HELOC for other large-ticket items like an education or certification. Because a HELOC uses your home as collateral, it is a wise choice to use it to pay for items that retain their initial value.
You may not consider taking out a loan to pay another loan, but that all depends on your interest rates. For example, if you have a high interest rate on a credit card (e.g. department store credit cards typically have interest rates of 24%), it's costing you money each month you don't pay it off. If you pay off this debt with a Home Equity Line of Credit, you're essentially "transferring" that debt to a much lower interest rate, saving you the extra penalty costs each month. If you ensure you have a responsible plan in place to pay off your debt, this can be a very smart move.
Where to Start
If you aren’t sure where to start, check out a HELOC from BMI Federal Credit Union, where you’ll find competitive low rates, and superior Member Service. Call us at 614.707.4000, or click HELOC today. You can even apply online with no application fees!
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