Home Equity is the difference between the fair market value (appraised value) of the home and the outstanding mortgage balance. Because the home is likely to be a consumer’s largest asset, many homeowners use a home equity loan for major expenses such as education, home improvements, medical bills, or debt consolidation.A home equity loan is a type of mortgage in which your home serves as collateral. Home equity loans can either be a revolving line of credit known as a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) or a one-time, closed-end loan sometimes referred to as a 2nd mortgage. A revolving credit line lets you choose when and how often to borrow against the equity in your home. In a closed-end loan, you receive a lump sum of cash. Interest on these types of loans are usually tax deductible.If you have bankruptcy or bad credit issues, a home equity loan or line of credit may be right for you. Before making a decision, you should carefully weigh the costs of a home equity line against the benefits. Shop for the loan terms that best meet your borrowing needs without posing unnecessary financial risk. You can apply for and obtain more information on home equity loans through a mortgage broker, your bank or credit union.The federal Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to disclose the important terms and costs of their mortgage products, including the APR, miscellaneous charges, the payment terms, and information about any variable-rate feature. And in general, neither the lender nor anyone else may charge a fee until after you have received this information.