Home Equity: How to Use It

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Let’s look at the different ways you can use your home’s equity.

Refinance: In essence, this is a way of paying off your current mortgage and getting cash out based on how much       equity (the difference between the market value of your home and what you owe on it) you have in your home. This     is a great way to lower or lock in your mortgage interest rate. This is the way to get large sums of money – $30,000   or more – because you have 15 to 30 years to pay it off.

On refinances, you may have to pay closing costs; discount points (used to increase the lender’s yield or profit on the loan and equal to one percent of the loan amount); appraisal fees; application or loan processing fees; document prep and recording fees; origination or underwriting fees; lender or funding fees; loan broker fees; and miscellaneous other fees (i.e. overnight mail charges, etc.).

A home equity loan, a.k.a. a second mortgage, is good for homeowners who don’t need quite as much cash and whose mortgage interest rate is already competitive. The term is much less than a conventional 30-year mortgage – five to 15 years. These installment loans are paid out in one lump sum, so they’re good for repaying credit card debt or remodeling projects, even buying a new vehicle.

You must be sure you will be able to pay this loan back, because it’s easier to foreclose on a second mortgage than on a federally insured first mortgage. Find out about closing costs and points in advance, as well as balloon payments, hidden fees, or credit or property insurance tacked on.

A home equity line of credit works like a credit card – you agree to a pre-set limit and then borrow as you need to, or in the event of an emergency, usually for up to 10 years. These lines of credit are good for expenses like debt consolidation, major home improvements, college tuition and expenses, and unexpected expenses. The beauty of this is that you don’t make payments unless you use the money, but you have the security of knowing money’s there if you need it.

Some credit lines have variable interest rates, with no cap on how high they go. Make sure you read the fine print and find out exactly how much it could increase, then do the math. And if you’re an impulse buyer, this may not be a wise choice. A home equity line of credit shouldn’t be used for frivolous luxury items, unless it’s a one-time purchase and not a pattern of behavior.

Arizona Summer Fun

Arizona Summer Fun; Check out These June Events Just in Time to Get Your Summer Started

Looking for ways to jump start your summer?  Check out some of these exciting events:

6/4-6/25 Westgate Bike Night, Thursday weekly. 100s of bikes line the blvds @ Westgate. Music, drinks & eats.  Info: westgateaz.com/bikenight
6/5-6/6  Mountain High Games; Southwest’s largest adventure sports & Monster Mudder 5K. Bring your ATVs, bikes and running shoes. paysonrimcountry.com
6/6 Bark @ the Park, Chase Stadium, Phoenix; Game time fun with your entire family. Puppy Rally pre-game, parade and vendor fair. For more info: 602-462-4231
6/6-8/1 Dry Heat Comedy Nights, Laughter is the best medicine to cope with our Arizona heat! Held @ Goodyear Community Park, summer postings avail @: goodyearaz.calendargov 
6/12 Summer Movie Series, White Tank Mountain, take a morning hike and cool off with a movie that will have the “Desert speaking for itself.”  For more info: maricopa.gov/parks
6/17 Drum Corps @ the Cinema, Surprise Digiplex, Live IMAX showing of season opening events @ Drum Corps International World Championships. Info: carmike.com/events
6/19-20 Northern AZ BBQ Festival, Williams, Try BBQ from over 30 teams in this sanctioned $10,000 prize competition.  Music and more. For info: nazbbq.com  

6/21 Father’s Day run for all ages, Peoria. 5K event, There will be an award ceremony for multiple catergories. For more info:  roadracerunner.com
6/21 Father’s Day Beer and Brunch Cruise, Lake Pleasant, Peoria. Will sell out fast so call for your reservations early.  For tix & other cruise options; lakepleasantcruises.com
6/25-30 Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey Circus Xtreme, Phoenix. Reg admission, Pre-Show & Ringmaster Zone tickets available.  For info: usairwayscenter.com

 

6/26-6/27 Family and Adult Night, Ranger led 2 mile hikes. Experience the desert in a whole new light while walking the waterfall trail. Info: maricopa.gov/parks