If you convert to a fixed-rate home equity loan or mortgage, you’ll begin repaying loan principle right away. You could simply opt to begin repaying the balance on your HELOC right now, without borrowing further amounts, and avoid the costs of refinancing.
HELOC or Equity Loan – Which one is right for you?. There are really three types of home equity loans: home equity loan, home equity line of credit (HELOC) or cash-out refinance. We’ll break down all three so you can figure out which one makes the most sense for your situation.
A home equity loan is a loan that you take out against the value of your home. A home equity loan can be either a fixed rate equity loan, or a variable rate (sometimes fixed rate) equity line of credit, or HELOC. In either case, the term of the home equity loan is fixed, usually at 10 or 20 years.
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Home equity loans are (usually) fixed-rate products, which means the interest rate and monthly payment don’t change. They are fully-amortizing, which means you pay the loan in full over its term with regular monthly payments. The loan proceeds are dispensed in a lump sum when you close your loan.
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At the time of writing the average rate for a home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC) is about 5.5%. To get the best home equity loan rates, you need an excellent credit score of 740 or higher. With a credit score around 630, you’ll qualify for rates around 9%.
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For a fixed-rate, fixed-term home equity loan, federal regulations set the limit at 43% DTI. With HELOCs, lenders have more discretion, meaning that you can shop around if your DTI is higher.
Home equity loans provide lump sum loans, while HELOCs offer set credit limits from which you can withdraw money whenever you need. Furthermore, home equity loans require monthly fixed interest rates. HELOC lenders, on the other hand, charge variable monthly interest rates.
When you can’t decide whether a home equity loan or HELOC is the best option for you, a HELOC that lets you lock in part of your balance at a fixed rate is a great alternative.