# US owners have a median of \$ 153,000 in "weak" residence fairness

## Home equity is at an all-time high

Thanks to rapidly rising property values, many Americans are now stock rich.

In fact, a recent report from data company Black Knight found the average US homeowner had \$ 153,000 in "vulnerable" home equity – an all-time high.

These pent-up assets can be used to conduct home renovations, pay off debts, buy new homes, invest, and more.

But how do you actually take equity out of your home? And when does that make sense?

Check your withdrawal eligibility. Start here (08/24/2021)

## What does it mean to have equity in your home?

Having equity means that you have built up present value in your home. Your equity will grow year after year as you pay off your mortgage and your home (likely) increases in value.

Of course, equity is not liquid money. The wealth built up through home ownership is tied to the value of your property.

That means you can't just spend your home equity. To use the money for work, you must first convert home equity into cash. This is usually done through a cash-out refinancing loan or a second mortgage (more on this below).

But first, this is how you can determine if you have equity to pay off.

Check your withdrawal eligibility. Start here (08/24/2021)

## How To Calculate Your Home Equity

Calculating home equity is easy. Just take the current value of your home minus your mortgage balance today.

For example, suppose your home is worth \$ 350,000 and your mortgage balance is \$ 110,000Their total capital is \$ 240,000 (\$ 350,000 – \$ 110,000 = \$ 240,000)

Note: The current value of your home is unlikely to match what you paid for it unless you recently purchased the property. To get an up-to-date estimate – taking property price inflation into account – you can check the current sales prices of similar homes in the area on property portals or use an online appraisal tool.

## What is "Vulnerable" Home Equity?

Tapping home equity is the amount of money that you can actually withdraw from the value of your home through a payout refinance or a second mortgage. Your vulnerable home equity is typically your total equity minus 20% of the value of your home.

Back to our example above: How to Find Your Vulnerable Home Equity:

Home Price: \$ 350,000 Mortgage Loan Amount: \$ 110,000 Total Equity: \$ 240,000 20% "Buffer": \$ 70,000 (0.20 x \$ 350,000)Vulnerable Home Equity: \$ 170,000 (\$ 240,000 – \$ 70,000)

The reason your Vulnerable Equity is less than your total home equity is because mortgage lenders want you to leave 20% of the value of your home untouched. This way, the lender would be financially secure in the event of a default.

There are exceptions to this rule, especially for VA loans, which can allow up to 100% loan-to-value (LTV). And some lenders let you keep less than 20 percent.

Most of the time, borrowers should expect that they need significantly more than 20% equity in order to be able to pay off.

Remember, Black Knight estimates that homeowners currently have an average of \$ 153,000 in tangible equity – even after factoring in that 20% buffer.

## How To Take Equity From Your Home

There are three ways to use your equity:

Cash-out refinancing – You take out a new main mortgage to replace your existing loan. The new loan has a larger balance than you currently owe and this “difference” will be refunded to you in cash. Cost of completing the refinancing are on average around 2-5% of the loan amount and are usually deducted from your cashback Home loan – A home equity loan (HEL) is a type of second mortgage, i. H. You keep your existing mortgage and take out a second loan against your home equity. The closing costs of HEL are typically lower, but these loans may have a slightly higher interest rate than a payout refinance. This can be a good choice if you don't want to refinance your first mortgageLine of credit for home equity loans (HELOC) – Home equity credit lines typically have floating interest rates and low or no acquisition costs. This is a bit like a credit card in that it gives you a credit limit that you can borrow and repay over and over again. And you only pay interest on the outstanding loan balance. HELOCs have set “drawing periods” after which you have to repay the remaining balance in full

#### What Kind of Cash Back Loan is Best?

Cash-out refinancing is usually best if you still want to refinance. Perhaps you can get a lower interest rate and reduce your monthly mortgage payment while drawing money out of your equity.

Note that withdrawal mortgages usually come with a slightly higher mortgage rate. So be sure to get quotes from multiple lenders and do the numbers.

On the flip side, you may already have a low mortgage rate – or you may be almost done paying back your original mortgage so refinancing doesn't make sense.

In this case, a fixed rate home loan can be a great way to get equity without having to refinance the full value of your home. You can only borrow what you need and pay it off in a shorter term.

Another exceptional circumstance can be when you want to borrow a large sum for a short period of time.

Then a HELOC could be your best choice. Remember, it costs little or nothing to set up. And you only pay interest on your outstanding balance. Once your need for the loan is over, you can simply zero your balance and stop paying.

#### Reverse mortgages

You can also consider a reverse mortgage if you qualify, which means you must be 62 years or older.

A reverse mortgage offers a one-time sum and income that can be great in retirement. And you don't have to make any monthly payments. Instead, the loan amount and interest payments are rolled up and are not due until you die or sell the home. Be aware, however, that these can add up quickly and you may have much fewer assets to pass on to your heirs.

Reverse mortgages are rarer than they used to be and should be treated with caution. If you're considering a reverse mortgage, check out the Department of Housing and Urban Development's advice on the matter.

## Benefits of Taking Equity From Home

When used wisely, home equity can have valuable benefits. That extra cash could help you grow your net worth or improve your overall financial health.

For example, if you are taking equity out of your home, here are some things you can do:

Invest in home improvements that add value to your home. Consolidate high-interest debt into a single, low-interest loan. Start Your Own Startup Cover urgent medical bills or a family emergency

Now could be a uniquely good time to start developing home equity. Because (at least at the time of writing) mortgage rates remain extremely low.

That means homeowners can afford these types of large expenses affordable. Borrowing on your home can be much cheaper than paying with personal loans or credit cards, for example.

Just make sure mortgage rates stay low by reading this.

Check your mortgage disbursement rates. Start here (08/24/2021)

## Disadvantages of disbursing home equity

Of course, there are also downsides to paying off your home equity.

For example, tapping into your equity is a new mortgage (whether it's a refinanced first mortgage or some sort of second mortgage). So you are putting your house at risk and you could lose it if you default on payments too far.

In addition, if you choose a payout refinance, you are also putting the clock back on your mortgage.

For example, let's say you have had your existing home loan for 15 years and have 15 years to go. For example, suppose you refinance a 30 year loan, then you pay back your home over 45 years instead of 30 years. And that means you'll pay more interest in the long run.

Of course, you could refinance yourself to a new 15 year loan. However, expect significantly higher monthly payments. You can model your own numbers using a refinancing calculator.

## When does it make sense to take equity out of the house?

The mistake you really want to avoid is withdrawing equity from your home to support an unsustainable lifestyle. Because if you don't address the underlying problem of overspending, sooner or later you will almost certainly be in a much worse position.

This is especially true when you are paying off money for debt consolidation. There is a good chance that you are saving on debt payments every month. Before you do, however, create a household budget that aligns your payouts with your income. Then decide to hold on to it.

There are many good reasons to get home equity, some of which we mentioned earlier. For example:

Invest in a new or existing business, home improvement, cover unexpected medical bills and avoid more expensive forms of borrowing, invest in your future or that of your family by paying for education

Then there are gray areas.

A wedding, a fancy car, or a vacation of a lifetime will not bring you any financial return. And if you tap into equity to pay for these kinds of things, you will likely be making payments for several years (or decades) after the wonderful memories fade.

All in all, most financial advisors suggest that you don't tap into your equity unless you are going to use the money for "good", financially beneficial causes.

## What are the current mortgage loan disbursement rates?

The refinancing rates for withdrawals are usually slightly higher than the refinancing rates without withdrawals. And those for home equity loans and HELOCs are a bit higher.

The good news is that mortgage rates are still near record lows today. So even with a small rate hike, homeowners can still get great deals on cash-out financing.

Check your Withdrawal Eligibility and Interest Rates to see if using home equity makes sense for you.

Confirm your new price (August 24, 2021)

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