If you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen, starting a business, or embarking on some sort of financial journey that requires a large sum of upfront cash, a home equity loan might be the answer. Read on to learn what they are and how they work.It is a loan taken out against your house, usually as a secondary lien on your property. What this means is you’re taking out a loan that is guaranteed by your house and your equity. Because the loan is guaranteed, many lenders consider a home equity loan to be a safer investment than a consumer loan with no guarantee.When you’re applying for a home equity loan, you can expect to get a loan for somewhere between less than your equity to 80% of the property’s value, but usually no more than 120% of your equity. For example, if you own a home worth $200,000 and you’ve paid $100,000, you can expect to get a loan anywhere from below $100,000 to about $120,000.It’s important that you do your research and shop around when you’re considering a home equity loan. While most borrowers end up getting their equity loans from the lender they have their mortgage with, knowing what other companies offer will give you a strong bargaining position. Knowing what rates and closing costs other lenders are offering will help in negotiating a better deal.Keep in mind that while lenders view these loans as a safer investment, this still doesn’t give you a free pass. Your credit worthiness, credit score, and credit history will still be scrutinized before you’ll be granted your loan.Also keep in mind that you’re taking a loan out guaranteed by your house. If you cannot repay your debt on time, losing your home is a very real possibility.