· In other words, you’re using your home equity as collateral on a loan. Of course, not everyone can qualify for a HELOC. If you are considering a HELOC, you should understand some of the requirements you must meet in order to qualify for one.

You can get a rough estimate of your available equity by subtracting all the debts secured by your home (i.e., your mortgage and any other home equity loans) from your home’s estimated market value. For example, if the market value of your home is $300,000 and you owe $100,000, you have $200,000 in home equity.

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There are three ways to tap into your home’s equity: a home equity loan, home equity line of credit or cash-out refinance. Each loan has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your needs and how each loan would fit your budget and lifestyle. Before you apply for a loan, you should: Determine how much equity you have.

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To obtain a home equity loan, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 620; the minimum you’ll need to qualify for a HELOC will likely be higher. If you can’t meet the bar as far as your credit score is concerned, you probably won’t be able to qualify for either type of loan until you repair your credit score .

When you apply for a home equity loan, lenders consider your creditworthiness when deciding whether or not to extend a loan. Your creditworthiness is assessed based on three things: credit history, income, and loan-to-value ratio.

You could apply for a conventional home equity loan, or second mortgage, which is a one-time loan with a fixed repayment schedule. Some lenders want to know what you plan to use the money for, and the home equity loans often come with interest rates that are higher than HELOCs because the interest rate is fixed, instead of variable.

In some case, getting a home equity loan can happen quickly. Adam Carroll, a homeowner we spoke to who is also the Founder of National Financial Educators, liked the idea of a HELOC because of the availability to access funds to do projects around his house. He found it easy to apply for a loan and get it approved within a short amount of time.