Home equity loans and lines of credit are useful tools for homeowners. They allow the homeowner to borrow against the value of his or her home for all kinds of purposes – home improvement, debt consolidation, vacations, and more. The loans, backed by the value of the house itself, come with attractive interest rates and the added bonus of tax deductible interest. That interest, however, is often variable, adjusting up and down with changes in market conditions. At the moment, conditions are such that interest rates for adjustable rate loans are increasing while rates for fixed-rate loans are still fairly stable. This is probably a good time for homeowners with variable rate equity loans to consider consolidating their primary mortgage and home equity loan into a single entity.
The ideal candidate for such a consolidation would be a homeowner who has a variable rate home equity loan, rather than a line of credit or an equity loan at a fixed rate. A line of credit is sort of a revolving loan, with an amount that may be drawn, as needed, time and again, much like a credit card loan. A home equity loan would represent a fixed amount of money borrowed for a specific length of time. To consolidate a home equity loan and a primary mortgage, the home would have to be refinanced with a new mortgage issued for the combined amounts of both loans. There are costs associated with this, so homeowners should consider the following:
- Refinancing costs – It may cost several thousand dollars to combine two loans into one. A home appraisal will be required, along with paperwork fees, filing fees, and possible points paid at closing. A homeowner should make sure that he or she will remain in the home long enough to offset the additional costs of refinancing, otherwise the savings of consolidation are lost.
- Interest rate on the primary mortgage – If you have financed or refinanced your home during the last three years, your primary mortgage rate may already be lower than the rate you could get today. You don’t want to raise your overall interest rate just to consolidate the smaller amount of money from a home equity loan.
- The amount of money owed on the home equity loan – The larger the amount of money owed on the equity loan, the greater the benefit of consolidation. You wouldn’t want to refinance your home over an equity loan balance of $1000, but you might want to do so if the balance is $50,000.
Market conditions change regularly, but now is a good time for anyone with a variable rate home equity loan with a considerable balance to consider consolidating the equity loan and the primary mortgage into a single loan. If you aren’t sure if you can benefit from this, you may wish to consult with your lender.
About the Author
© Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including HomeEquityHelp.com, a site devoted to information regarding mortgages and home equity loans.
Written by: Charles Essmeier