The latest HELOC rates and what you should know before signing up for a HELOC
Home equity interest rates (HELOC) on 10-year loans were steady at 3.98% this week and on 20-year loans they edged up to 6% from 5.96% the previous week, according to the latest rates from Bankrate for the Week ending March 14th. Here are the lowest fares you might qualify for.
The pros and cons of HELOCs
HELOCs are loans borrowed against the home’s available equity, in which the lender offers a revolving line of credit, typically at a variable interest rate, for a homeowner to use. Because HELOCs are secured by a borrower’s home, they often have cheap interest rates compared to other types of unsecured loans such as personal loans. One reason borrowers prefer HELOCs to home equity loans is because it gives them the ability to access equity if needed.
However, defaulting on a HELOC repayment could mean losing your home – while HELOCs typically come with variable interest rates and therefore fluctuating monthly payments, it’s important to meet the minimum repayment terms. (Not to say there aren’t fixed rate HELOCs, there are – they’re just less common.)
HELOCs include a drawing period, typically 10 years, during which a borrower can withdraw from its line of credit; As a rule, the borrower only has to pay interest at this point. Once the drawing period has expired, you can usually no longer draw on that line of credit and must begin what is known as the payback period – during which you repay both principal and interest, often over a 20-year period.
How to get a HELOC
HELOCs are often used in home improvement projects where the borrower is not sure how much money they will need. However, keep in mind that a HELOC may not get you as much money as you think, since most lenders want borrowers to keep a 20% stake.
Pros say you should get quotes from around 3-5 different lenders and compare the rates and terms for each. Also, ask the lender about any discounts you may be eligible for.