Home equity is the current market value of your home minus the remaining balance of your mortgage. Essentially, it’s the amount of ownership of a property you have built up through both appreciation as well as reductions in the mortgage principle made through your mortgage payments. So, as you pay off your mortgage and build equity in your home, a HELOC gives you the ability to reborrow a portion of these funds. You can use HELOC funds at your discretion for renovations, debt consolidation, higher education or anything else you need.
With a HELOC mortgage, the entire line of credit available is not advanced upfront. Rather, you have the freedom to use as much or as little of the HELOC as you choose, and you only pay interest on the amount you have withdrawn. Interest is calculated daily at a variable rate attached to Prime, however, HELOC rates are often higher than variable mortgage rates and the relationship to Prime can technically change anytime at the disrection of your lender. For example, a variable mortgage rate is often Prime +/- a number, like Prime – 0.35%. HELOC rates, however, are set at Prime + a number and your lender can technically change that number anytime.