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How To Calculate Home Equity: A Step-By-Step Guide

July 10, 2023 | Posted by: Prime Mortgage Inc.

How to Calculate Your Home Equity

Understanding Home Equity

Home equity represents the portion of your home's value that you truly own as a homeowner.

Determining Your Home Equity

To calculate your home equity, follow these steps:

  1. Evaluating Your Home's Worth:

    Experts can estimate your home's value by comparing it to similar properties in your area.

  2. Calculating What You Owe:

    Check your recent mortgage statement to determine your outstanding mortgage balance, including any other loans secured by your property.

  3. Calculating Available Equity:

    Subtract the amount you owe from your home's value to find your available equity. For example, if your home is valued at $400,000 and your mortgage balance is $240,000, your home equity is $160,000.

  4. Understanding Key Ratios:

    Lenders use ratios like loan-to-value (LTV) and combined loan-to-value (CLTV) to assess your equity and borrowing potential.

  5. Determining Borrowing Capacity:

    Lenders typically require homeowners to have 10% to 25% equity to borrow against their home.

Utilizing Home Equity

You can use your home equity for various purposes, including:

  • Home repairs and renovations
  • Paying off high-interest credit card debt
  • Investing in additional properties
  • Funding education expenses
  • Handling emergencies
  • Planning for retirement

Accessing Your Home Equity

Once you know your available equity, there are different ways to access it. The process may involve paying closing costs, which vary depending on lenders, location, and other factors.

Cash-Out Refinance

A cash-out refinance replaces your existing mortgage with a larger loan, giving you cash or a direct deposit. The process typically takes 30 to 45 days.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan, also called a second mortgage, allows you to borrow money based on your accumulated equity. The timeline for obtaining a home equity loan varies from a few weeks to a couple of months.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

With a HELOC, you can borrow against your home equity as needed. It is essential to carefully review the terms, interest rates, fees, and repayment obligations associated with a HELOC. The application process generally takes 2 to 6 weeks.

Increasing Your Home Equity

You can enhance your home equity by:

  • Making additional mortgage payments
  • Investing in home improvements
  • Refinancing to a shorter loan term
  • Avoiding mortgage insurance

The Bottom Line: Knowing Your Borrowing Potential

Understanding how to calculate your available home equity empowers you to make informed financial decisions, explore borrowing options, evaluate refinancing opportunities, plan for future needs, and monitor your net worth.

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