Home Equity Loan vs Refinancing

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Home equity loan and refinancing are two excellent ways that can help you manage your finances. However, it may prove difficult to choose one from the other and should depend on what your financial goals are. You can opt for the lower payment schemes of cash-out refinancing, or you can choose the great tax benefits offered by a home equity loan. The choice, however, does not prove to be as simple as this. Here is a comparison of these two types of loans to help you see which one is right for you.Cash-out refinance simply means that you are refinancing your existing mortgage in order to lower your monthly payment and/or your current interest rate, and get some additional cash for other pressing reasons such as for home improvement, renovation, and the likes. If you are lucky to choose the right timing, you may be able to get all these with cash-out refinancing. Say, your home is valued at $300,000 and your existing mortgage balance is $200,000, your home equity remains at $100,000. You are free to borrow the remaining equity as you deem necessary.Home equity loans are usually provided in two kinds: the home equity line of credit and the home equity installment loan. A home equity line of credit line means that you are borrowing against the value of your home; your home is your collateral to the credit. Home equity plans are usually set at a fixed time; say 10 years but with variable loan rates. Your interest rate and the annual percentage rate of your mortgage can move up and down depending on the market trends. During the specified time, you are free to obtain the cash when you need it, and pay only for what you happen to spend. Some mortgages are offered with payment of full outstanding balance, while others allow repayment over a fixed time.On the other hand, an installment loan is a loan that has a fixed rate that stays the same all throughout the rest of your home equity loan terms. Also called the closed end home equity loan, you amortize your loan for periods lasting up to about 15 years. In this kind of loan, you usually receive a lump sum at closing depending on your home value, and you can not borrow further afterwards.Which is better?Remember that interest rates do not usually behave normally, much as you want them to. When this happens, home equity loans may actually prove cheaper than refinancing, although they are potentially riskier. Choosing what is better between the two should depend on individual circumstances. For example, if you plan to pay off your mortgage and do not need as much money, you can go for a home equity loan to get lower rates and shorter terms. On the other side of the fence, with cash-out refinancing, you can get all your money up front and simply pay off interest and principal on a lowered monthly basis as agreed upon, with no frills. Weigh carefully based on what your financial objectives are and choose one which you think will give you a fairer deal.

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