Category Archives: home equity loans

Home Improvement Loans 203(k)

A home improvement loan is money lent to a property owner for home repairs, updates or remodeling.  Home improvement loans are not necessarily secured by the property they are intended for and may simply be classified as home improvement loans by the lender.  These loans can be secured or unsecured and are usually short term.

Home improvement loans are intended to increase the value of your home so it is important to think carefully about where best to put the money.  After all, the money spent on home improvements is added to your overall cost of the home and you want to be able to recoup this cost if and when you decide to sell.

Things to consider about home improvement loans:

  • Are you over-building for the neighborhood?  Adding a huge addition could make your house the nicest on the block but also the largest and most expensive, making it potentially harder to sell.
  • How much equity is available for home improvements and what is your maximum budget?  If you paid only $50,000 for your home ten years ago and now similar homes on your block are selling for $120,000, then you will have no problem investing in updates and repairs
  • Are you getting the most for your money?  Research has proven that upgrades to kitchens, baths and curb appeal offer an excellent return on your investment. Make sure you spend the money where it counts.

Ideas for home improvement loan project:The improvement possibilities for your home improvement loan are almost impossible to calculate.  While there are many decorating and design improvements possible, here are a few that are good to consider.

  • Additions – If you have a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house, consider adding a third bedroom. Similarly, if you have a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house, consider adding a second bathroom. And last but not lease, if you have a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house, consider adding a master suite complete with his and her closets and a full bathroom.
  • Updates – Concentrate on bathrooms and kitchens when spending the money from your home improvement loan. Kitchens and bathrooms seem to get outdated so quickly so it is important to use classic design concepts and soft, neutral colors. The lime green bathtub was a hit in 1975 but now desperately needs to be replaced.
  • Curb Appeal – Basic improvements such as landscaping or exterior painting can make a huge difference in the overall perception and value of your home. Keep these projects in mind when setting the budget for your home improvement loan project.

While the goal of your home improvement loan is to make repairs or upgrades to your home, the challenge is to make that money go even further, raising the value of your home above and beyond the level of money spent.

Funds for Handyman-Specials and Fixer-UppersThe purchase of a house that needs repair is often a catch-22 situation, because the bank won’t lend the money to buy the house until the repairs are complete, and the repairs can’t be done until the house has been purchased.  The problem is solved by HUD:

203(k) HUD Rehab Mortgage Insurance Summary:
Section 203(k) insurance enables home buyers and homeowners to finance both the purchase (or refinancing) of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage or to finance the rehabilitation of their existing home.

Purpose:Section 203(k) fills a unique and important need for home buyers. When buying a house that needs repair or modernization, home buyers usually have to follow a complicated and costly process. The interim acquisition and improvement loans often have relatively high interest rates, short repayment terms and a balloon payment. However, Section 203(k) offers a solution that helps both borrowers and lenders, insuring a single, long term, fixed or adjustable rate loan that covers both the acquisition and rehabilitation of a property. Section 203(k) insured loans save borrowers time and money. They also protect the lender by allowing them to have the loan insured even before the condition and value of the property may offer adequate security.

For less extensive repairs/improvements, see Streamlined 203(k). For housing rehabilitation activities that do not also require buying or refinancing the property, borrowers may also consider HUD’s Title I Home Improvement Loan program. Deceptive Home Improvement Contractors Complaints

HUD insures loans to help people renovate and repair their homes through programs called Title 1 and 203(k).  Some deceptive contractors in the program were performing shoddy work, falsifying documents, and overcharging homeowners. This fraud had victimized thousands of families and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.

To avoid becoming a victim of fraud, work only with a HUD-approved Title 1 or 203(k) lender. This allows you to select the contractor and helps to prevent inflated estimates that only increase costs.

To report any fraud or abuse in the Title 1 or 203(k) Program, call toll-free (800) CALL-FHA or (800) 225-5342 or TTY (800) 877-8339.

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Home Equity Loans

Most common uses of Home Equity Loans:

  1. Home improvement
  2. Debt consolidation for homeowner’s
  3. Pay for college
  4. Add an addition to your home
  5. Pay off credit card bills
  6. And many other uses along these lines

A home equity loan and home equity lines of credit are two of the best ways of making your home work for you.  For homeowners who are interested in receiving a lump sum payment a home equity loan may be the best way to use your home equity to your advantage.  If as a homeowner you’re running into large costs like post secondary tuition, medical expenses or starting a small business a home equity line of credit may also work to your advantage.  In some situations, a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit makes more sense than refinancing.

If you’re a homeowner who has built up equity with a substantial down payment, has paid down a large part of your mortgage principal and/or has seen an increase in property values you can reap the benefits of a home equity loan by borrowing against the equity you have in your home. As a rule, a home equity loan is based on a given percentage of your home’s appraised value, minus any outstanding balance.

For instance, if your home is appraised at $200,000 then 80 percent of that total would be $160,000.  If your remaining unpaid mortgage amount is $130,000, then you would have $30,000 in available equity.   It may also be important for you to realize that some lenders now offer a home equity line of credit up to 125% for well qualified consumers.  Your ability to repay the home equity line of credit is also taken into account when you apply.

As with any mortgage loan, your home equity loan rate will vary with your own unique personal credit history, outstanding debts and income. Your home equity loan rate is usually variable and one to three points above prime.  You also benefit from interest rates being tax-deductible as your house is used as collateral for your home equity loan.  Your home equity loan options include traditional fixed rate and variable rate loans.

A home equity loan is similar to a second mortgage in that payments are often made monthly over a 10 to 30 year term and result in full repayment. With a variable rate home equity loan, you should understand what your minimum monthly payments and maximum interest will be for your personal equity amount.  Note also that fees usually apply on all home equity loans. Additional expenses often include points, application costs, appraisal fees and the cost of having a credit check done.  If however, you opt to pay more points up front to borrow at a 100 percent loan to value (LTV) ratio, many if not all of these charges may be waived.

Home Equity Loans – Equity seconds – Equity seconds are second mortgages that use the equity you have in your house as the basis upon which a lender loans you money.  These loans include home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, or HELOC ‘s.  Most lenders will require an appraisal in order to establish your house’s value and the equity contained therein. Borrowing with an equity second normally allows you to obtain a better rate due to the fact that the money borrower is secured on property you have ownership in.

Home Equity Loans – Over-equity seconds – Over-equity seconds are second mortgages that lend you money over and above the value of your house. Over-equity seconds are commonly known as “125’s” or “115’s” because they allow a lender to loan you money at 125% or 115% of your house’s value. Requirement of appraisal is based upon the amount of money borrowed. Typically, if you plan to borrow over $35,000 on an over-equity loan, an appraisal is required. Borrowing with an over-equity second allows you to obtain a loan when a personal loan may have not been possible.

Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC) – A home equity line of credit is often more flexible than a standard lump-sum home equity loan since it carries a shorter term.  For homeowners who occasionally need some extra cash, a home equity line of credit may be just the product to protect you against overdraft fees on your checking account.

A home equity line of credit gives you a specific credit limit based on a percentage of your home’s appraised value less your remaining mortgage balance.  A benefit of the credit line option is that you only have to pay interest on the amount you use.  No interest is charged on unused portions and if you decide not to use it, it costs you nothing.  A home equity line of credit agreement is usually divided into what is known as a draw period and a repayment period.  The draw period usually runs five to ten years during which you can take out any portion of the funds you desire simply by writing a check against the line of credit.

Any payments then go back onto your credit line and become available funds.  Sometimes homeowners opt to make interest only payments until the home equity line of credit comes due.  At the end of the draw period you may opt to renew your home equity line of credit or pay off the outstanding balance. Whether you will be able to renew your line of credit or not is at the discretion of your lender.  Please note as well that some line of credits have minimum withdrawal amounts and or monthly payments guidelines you must adhere to. Any limitation should be spelled out in your agreement.

Debt Consolidation Loans for homeowner’s are not the same as debt consolidation loans for non-homeowner’s.  Debt consolidation loans for homeowner’s are loans that are backed by the equity the homeowner has in their home.  Debt consolidation loans for homeowner’s are secured loans.  We offer both debt consolidation for homeowners and non-homeowners.  Debt consolidation loans for homeowner’s are very similar with second mortgages, home equity loans and HELOC’s.  They can usually be used interchangeably.

Home Improvement Loans can be either a home equity second mortgage or over-equity second mortgage can be used for home improvement purposes ranging from minor repair to major refurbishing to new home additions.  In the case of an over-equity second being used for home improvement, a lender will normally require an estimate of work to be completed on the home for amounts above $10,000.  Some lenders may also require that the money borrowed be directly paid to the contractor performing the work.  Either way, if you want to spruce up your home, add an addition, have landscaping done, or whatever, please fill out our no-obligation form and an experienced home mortgage specialist will contact you within 24 hours and get you the loan you need.

Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Taking Out a Home Equity Loan

1. Choosing a home equity lender for the wrong reason (i.e., the lowest rate, your existing lender.)

People choose home equity lenders for all the wrong reasons. Getting a low rate is important, but it’s not the only consideration when you want to take out a home equity loan. Lenders may offer the lowest rate but charge extra fees (loan fees, origination fees, copy fees) so that in the end you’ll pay more for the home equity loan even though your rate may be lower. The only way to protect yourself is to wait for the Good-Faith Estimate (GFE) which should list all the closing costs.  Compare the GFE’s from a number of home equity lenders.

But comparing GFE’s is not the only story when you want to take out a home equity loan. If time is important, you want to choose a mortgage company that is capable of acting quickly. Ask each company to give you their average closing time for loans similar to yours.

Ask around among your trusted friends. Find out who took out a home equity loan lately and ask them what they thought of the company. Don’t assume that your existing lender is any better than a new lender. Since most loans are sold in the secondary market, everyone has to meet certain criteria, and your existing lender will probably require the same documentation as a new lender. However, once you have a commitment from a new lender, it doesn’t hurt to ask your existing lender to beat it. Often times they will. We will get you the best rate available.

2. Not getting everything in writing when seeking a home equity loan.

Get everything in writing. No matter what the Loan Officer tells you about your home equity loan, ask him/her to confirm it in writing. Don’t believe someone when they tell you that your home equity rate is guaranteed. Get it in writing.

3. Not knowing the difference between a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit.

A home equity loan is a loan, like a 2nd mortgage. A home equity line of credit is a credit line – money that is made available to you to use when you need it. There’s a big difference. Some credit lines have interest rates which are adjustable and which can go as high as 15% or more.

4. Not knowing the appraised value of your home.

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit are based on the difference between what you owe on your house and what your house is worth. Many people go ahead and try to get a home equity loan on their home without knowing the true value. There are many places you can get an estimate of the true value of your home. Many realtor sites have home value estimators on their site. For the price of listening to a mortgage company try to sell you a mortgage, you can get an approximate value for your home.

Check the recent sales in your neighborhood and try to find a comparable house in a comparable location. Or you can ask the appraiser to do a drive by and give you a verbal estimate of the value of your home. If it’s in the right ballpark, you can order a thorough appraisal.

5. Not doing the math on a home equity loan.

Having a home equity loan can be better than taking out a 2nd mortgage because the origination costs are less. However, the monthly interest rate may be more with a home equity loan than with a 2nd mortgage. So, depending on how much you are going to need and how soon you are going to need it, you may find that a 2nd mortgage is a better way to go.

Another big mistake people make with home equity loans is to take out a large amount of money and put it into their checking account. You may pay as much as 8% for the home equity loan while the money you took out is only earning 2% in your bank account. Recommendation – only take out as much as you are planning to use.

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