If you are a homeowner then you know that your home is your most valuable possession. There is no better investment you can make towards your retirement than home ownership. On the way there however there is a great way to use the equity you are building to help you live now. Utilizing one of the home equity line of credit loans available will help maximize your investment.Home equity line of credit loans differ from your standard mortgage in a few ways. For example, when you purchase your home you will have mortgage that is for the entire amount of the purchase price until you pay the contract off in full. As you pay down this mortgage, you begin to earn equity in your home.A home equity line of credit allows you to have access to the amount of equity built up in your home. You can use this line of credit any way you chose. The line of credit will give you two ways to access the money. You will be given checks that you can write on the account and a debit card that you can also use. Remember that it is a line of credit, you only pay on what you use, unlike a standard loan where you are given a lump sum of money and you pay a set number of payments for a predetermined amount of years.The great thing about using home equity line of credit loans is that they are very easy to qualify for since you are using the equity in your home as collateral. Most major banks can qualify you in just minutes especially if you don’t ask for over 70% of the available equity. You will need to have a good credit history and be able to show employment and you should qualify.Most lenders that offer the home equity line of credit loans generally follow the same formula. You will need to show that you have good credit and steady employment. They usually offer no closing cost on these types of loans and some lenders may ask for an appraisal on the home.There is really no difference in the loans that you are able to find online or through a local bank branch. The main difference is how the closing paper work is done. At a local bank you will probably go to the lenders choice of closing agents and the online lenders will do one of two ways. They will either send a closing agent to your home or ask you to take the paper work and have it notarized and they will finish the transaction through the mail.But like anything else, it pays to shop around. Your bank may want to charge closing costs and/or may require an appraisal of your home, whereas another bank or even an online lending source may not. Do not discount an online lending source since they can frequently offer rates that your local bank cannot come close to, which means more money in your pockets.Applying for and using a home equity line of credit loan is a great wait to use the growing equity in your home to help out with everyday expenses you may have now like your kids needing braces or perhaps opening a business that you have always dreamed of.