Being the proud owner of your own home can be every American’s dream come true. But having equity in your home might just save you financially in times of hardship. In fact, obtaining a home equity line of credit, sometimes referred to as a HELOC, can come in handy in a number of financial situations. Be it a medical emergency, a college tuition that needs paying, or simply a few extra bucks in your pocket to have fun with. A home equity loan might just be the solution.However, there is a dark side t a home equity loan. By using your house as collateral, or increasing the amount you owe against your home, you are essentially putting your house at risk. If for any reason you are unable to make your payments, you will ultimately forfeit your home to the lender. For this reason, great caution should be used when applying for a home equity loan.One of the best ways to take advantage of a home equity loan is to use it to consolidate your debt. Often one’s bills can get out of hand, causing ones credit score to plummet and forcing you into a situation of acquiring more debt just to keep your head above water. By taking out a home equity loan to pay down your bills, you can simultaneously improve your financial situation and also spread your debt out over the life of your mortgage. This can often create the breathing room that a person needs to stop the financial bleeding and get their life back on the track.