Be Prepared With Your Home Equity Loan Checklist

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A home equity loan can be an excellent way to obtain money in order to pay off high interest bills or consolidate your current debt into one monthly payment. A home equity line of credit is a form of revolving credit in which your home serves as collateral. Because the home is likely to be a consumer's largest asset, many homeowners use their credit lines only for major items such as education, home improvements, or medical bills and not for day-to-day expenses. Additional benefits include a nice tax advantage and the possibility of an overall lower monthly payment. However before you decide that a home equity loan is right for you make sure you do your homework.

Not all online lenders of home equity loans are the same which means there are ample opportunities to save a few more of your hard earned dollars.

The biggest obstacle to overcome is deciding on the appropriate online loan lender. Make the wrong choice here and it could come back to haunt you in the form of higher payments. I have compiled a small list of items to check for when searching for the best online loan lender. One item to be on the look out for is the annual percentage rate or (APR) as it's commonly known. This is the cost of credit on a yearly basis expressed as a percentage. This cost is based on the interest rate alone and will not take into effect other fees and charges such as closing costs.

Most home equity loans or lines of credit revolve around variable interest rates. In many cases lenders entice consumers with an offer to temporarily discount interest rate for home equity lines. This rate is unusually low and may last for only an introductory period, such as 6 months.

Typical information that a loan officer will ask you to provide include a checklist for "Full Document" loan approvals, 1 month of pay stubs from your employer, the previous 2 years worth of W2 forms, a mortgage coupon or copy of your monthly mortgage statement, your homeowners insurance policy information, the mortgage note on your current mortgage, your drivers license and social security card. Having these items handy will help speed up the loan approval process.

Remember those pesky closing costs when you first bought your house? Well there back in force when you apply for a home equity loan. They include but are not limited to the following: Up-front charges, such as one or more points (one point equals 1 percent of the credit limit), application fees, appraisal fees and closing costs, including fees for attorneys, title search, and mortgage preparation and filing; property and title insurance; and taxes.

Once recommendation before applying for a loan would be to have a plan in place describing how you intend to pay the loan back. Some plans set minimum payments that cover a portion of the principal plus accrued interest. Other plans may allow payment of interest alone during the life of the plan, which means that you pay nothing toward the principal. If you borrow $10,000, you will owe that amount when the plan ends. You'll need to be aware of the possibility of a balloon payment. This means whatever your payment arrangements during the life of the plan--whether you pay some, a little, or none of the principal amount of the loan--when the plan ends you may have to pay the entire balance owed, all at once. Failure to complete the loan arrangement by making the balloon payment could result in the forfeiture of your house.

Finally the federal Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to disclose the important terms and costs of their home equity plans, including the APR, miscellaneous charges, the payment terms, and information about any variable-rate feature. You usually get these disclosures when you receive an application form, and you will get additional disclosures before the plan is opened.

These simple guidelines were meant to provide you some additional information with the hopes of making you more comfortable and aware of the issues involved when applying for a home equity loan.

Timothy Gorman is a successful webmaster and publisher of He provides more free loan information that you can research in your pajamas and money saving loan quotes on all of your loan needs to include home equity loan information.

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