Whether you want cash to cover expenses, or just want the security of knowing that you have access to funds should the need occur, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a revolving loan that allows you to tap into the value of your home whenever you need it.
The process of obtaining the line of credit is similar to obtaining a mortgage or home equity loan, although settlement costs are usually lower for a HELOC. Once the line of credit has been opened, you can borrow what you need, up to a predetermined maximum, by check or credit card. As you repay the loan, the funds are restored. The line of credit stays open for a predetermined period—usually a minimum of 10 years.
Interest rates on a HELOC are usually adjustable, and tied to the prime rate. Some offer guaranteed introductory rates for a short period of time, and some are convertible to fixed-rate loans when you draw on them. Unlike standard Adjustable Rate Mortgages, HELOCs have no adjustment caps.
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