All loans are not created equal. You have to sift through terms, types and most importantly rates. Having complete understanding of your loan is essential. When you are informed, you make smart choices and save money. Right now equity loans are booming. As property values go up so does the need to secure unused equity.There are two types of equity loans, a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit. A home equity loan is when you borrow a set amount based upon the amount of equity in your home and take it all at once. The rate is fixed, and when it is taken you have nothing left to borrow. On the other hand, in a lot of cases a large lump sum is not needed In this situation a home equity line of credit allows you to have more flexibility. A home equity line of credit or HELOC has a variable rate and works similarly to a credit card.For instance if you have $15,000 in equity you can take out a home equity line of credit and borrow $5,000 and still have $10,000 available and waiting. A HELOC is a popular choice among many homeowners who want to have a cushion for a rainy day. However, many people worry about the rates. Since these loans have variable rates, how can you ensure that you’ll be getting the best one? The short answer is don’t go into your loan blind.Be Aware of Your CreditYour credit score can make or break you when it comes to borrowing money. The stronger your credit, the better the rate. If you know you have some trouble spots on your credit report, fix them first then begin to explore your loan options. If you haven’t a clue what your credit situation is, use an online resource like experian.com or transunion.com to see where you stand.Shop AroundThe worst thing a person can do is to settle on a higher rate because they didn’t want to take the time to shop around. Compare and contrast loan terms from different banks and organizations. HELOC terms differ from one establishment to the next. If you shop around you’ll be able to identify the advantages and disadvantages for each establishment and make the best decision for your situation. Doing this will save you oodles over the coarse of 10-15 years.NegotiateSometimes trying to secure a home equity line of credit with your current mortgage holder gives you some leverage. Every business loves to retain its customers. You will have a loan officer working double time to keep you than if you were fresh meat somewhere else. Sometimes it pays to haggle.Getting a good rate for your home equity line of credit is possible. It just takes time and research.