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How to Find the Best Home-Equity Loan Online

Increasingly, home owners are looking to the equity in their home as a way to pay for remodeling projects, and for good reason. The interest rate on home-equity products is on average lower than most other borrowing options, and interest payments may be tax-deductible.

If you or your clients are considering taking out a home-equity loan, there are things you should consider to make sure you borrow against your home wisely, says Peggy Lawlor, home equity senior vice president with Bank of America. "Whether its landscaping, a new kitchen, or a solar paneled roof you're after, making smart home improvement choices starts with focusing on projects that add value or improve the livability of your home," Lawlor says.

Here are some more tips from Lawlor’s team for finding the best home-equity loan:

  1. Shop Home Equity Loans Wisely. Check first with your current lender or bank. Look for a home-equity line of credit with no set-up fees, minimum draw prerequisites, prepayment and early closure fees, annual maintenance fees, or inactivity fees. With a no-fee lender, it's a good idea to set up a line of credit account early so that it's available when you're ready.

  2. Ask about special loan features. Protect yourself from rising rates by working with a lender that allows you to lock in a fixed interest rate on all or a portion of your outstanding variable rate credit line balances at no additional cost. This way, you can set your own repayment terms and maintain a predictable payment if interest rates rise. You should also be able to make changes at no cost.

  3. Understand your 2nd mortgage options. Make sure you understand the difference between a home-equity loan and line of credit and which is best for you. A home-equity loan is given as a lump sum and under preset terms and is repaid over a fixed period of time. A revolving home-equity line of credit, on the other hand, provides a credit limit or line, which you can use to draw on as needed, making regular payments. Many home owners enjoy the flexibility of a line of credit over a loan.
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