A home equity loan is a useful thing for all home owners, especially those with unsecured debt. If you have been thinking about a home equity loan, but are not sure how they work, this is the article for you. Here are the ins and outs of a home equity loan.First you must choose between two types of loans, a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. Because the collateral in both types is pretty much a sure thing, you will generally receive a lower rate on these types of loans versus using another type of collateral. One nice thing about home equity loans and lines is that the interest that you pay is usually tax deductible. Generally speaking, if you can deduct your first mortgage, you can also deduct your second. This can make a big difference come tax time.Home equity loans are a set amount of money that you borrow. The interest is usually fixed and the payment does not change. The rate on these is higher than a home equity line of credit, but it is also figured differently and usually evens out when all is said and done. Home equity loans have a set term when the loan is paid off and you can usually set that anywhere from two to twenty years. A home equity loan is great for the home owner who knows exactly how much they need to borrow and needs it right away. This is also great for consolidating unsecured or high rate debt.The next option is a home equity line of credit. This is the more flexible option. It is still secured by your home, but it works more like a low interest credit card with tax advantages. The amount of the line is set but you do not have to use it all right away. You could use some or all of it, it is your choice. You only pay on the amount that you are using. This makes it ideal for people who want it just as back up funding or maybe have a home improvement project that they are not sure how much it will cost.As you make your payments on the home equity line of credit, your balance goes down and more is made available to you. Even if it is paid to zero, it stays open and available for use until you close it altogether. Most lenders will give you several convenient options to access your line. A credit card, checks, and bank withdrawals are the standard options. This is a nice flexible choice for many home owners.Whether you choose to go with a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit, make sure you choose a reputable lender. This will make the process a much more enjoyable experience. Both options are very handy so talk with your lender about which home equity loan choice would best suit your specific financial needs.