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To fully understand what a home equity line of credit or a HELOC is, you need to chunk this into two terms: home equity and line of credit.
-Home equity – is the market value of your home less the total amount of debts that are associated with or registered to it.
-Line of credit – also referred to as a credit line, it is an arrangement wherein a bank or a lender extends a specified amount of credit to a borrower for a certain period of time.
Combining the two, you get the term “home equity line of credit” (obviously) which is a form of revolving credit and which takes your home equity as collateral. Anytime you need money, you can make use of – or in mortgage lingo, DRAW from – your credit line. Basically, a home equity line of credit works in the way a credit card does. As long as you don’t go beyond your credit limit, then you can continue to draw money for needs such as medical bills, tuition fees and home improvement expenses.
Please note that using money from your home equity line of credit should be done sparingly. This should only be used for really important payments or purchases. Drawing money from your home equity line of credit to pay for everyday expenses is not a wise idea. This is because of the ultimate risk that’s associated with this financial option – as outlined below:
The Ultimate Risk: Foreclosure
In this kind of financial option, non-payment of your dues could result to the foreclosure of your home, as is the case with other mortgages – Toronto or elsewhere. Therefore, you should make sure that you attend to your dues in a timely manner. Although you can only pay the “minimum,” it’s always a wiser idea to pay more than that. This will ensure that the amount for repayment will considerably get lower – and to assure that your monthly payments are not only used to cover for the interest rate.
Note that with a home equity line of credit, the “health” of your credit limit largely, if not entirely, depends on the market value of your home. If you lender senses that the value of your home significantly decreases or if they have sufficient reason to believe that you cannot keep up with your monthly payments, they may either freeze your account or reduce your credit limit.
In both cases, you should talk with your lender. Ask them how you can restore your account. You should be able to prove to them that the value of your home has not considerably decreased. You should also show to them that you are still well in the way of being able to make the necessary payments on a regular basis. Your argument would bear more weight if you can show some proof. So provide documentation if you must.
When talking doesn’t seem to solve the problem, then you may consider shopping for another line of credit. Of course, look for the best mortgage rate – Richmond Hill or elsewhere. With any luck, you can get an arrangement that allows you to pay off your original home equity line of credit with another one. Mortgage and credit professionals run aplenty and they’d be more than happy to be of service to you.