Answers to your HELOC Questions in 10 Words or Less

How a HELOC works

With a home equity line of credit (HELOC), you can borrow as much of your available equity as you want during an initial draw period, typically around 10 years. You’ll make payments in this phase, but they might be interest-only. When the draw period ends, things get serious.

During the repayment phase, which is typically 10 to 20 years, HELOC payments include principal and interest. Payments during this time may be drastically larger than your draw-period payments — a shocking change if you’re not ready for it.

Deciding if a HELOC is right for you means asking questions. You’ll find answers below to some of the most common ones, in 10 words or less.

Answers to common HELOC questions

What exactly is a HELOC? A line of credit secured by your home equity.

How is a HELOC different from a home equity loan, or HEL? HELOCs provide revolving credit while HELs offer a lump sum.

How much home equity do I have? Subtract your mortgage balance from your current home value.

How much equity do I need for a HELOC? Ideally, more than 20% equity.

How much can I borrow with a HELOC? About 80% of your home’s value minus the mortgage balance.

How much does a HELOC cost? Upfront costs, interest rates and ongoing fees vary by lender.

What’s a good reason to get a HELOC? To finance improvements or repairs that increase home value.

How are HELOC funds accessed? Via an account check or credit card, or online transfer.

How do I find the best HELOC lender? Compare terms, rates and fees, and don’t forget credit unions
How is HELOC interest calculated? HELOCs typically use a variable rate but fixed-rate options exist.

How do I get the best HELOC rate? Get at least three quotes and follow these nine tips.

Is HELOC interest tax-deductible? Usually, if used to buy, build, or improve your home.

Will a HELOC affect my current mortgage? No, but it could prevent you from refinancing.

Can I use a HELOC as an emergency fund? Yes, but try to avoid it due to foreclosure risk.

Can you refinance a HELOC? Yes, but watch out for early repayment or cancellation penalties.

Have any other questions? Call, click, or stop by Education First FCU to get answers! Our experienced mortgage loan officers can help you at any stage of your homebuying journey.