Homeownership comes with its fair share of financial opportunities, one of which is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). This financial tool allows homeowners to tap into the equity they’ve built in their homes, providing them with a flexible and potentially cost-effective way to access funds for various purposes. In this article, we will delve into the details of what a HELOC is, how it works, its benefits, potential drawbacks, and factors to consider before applying for one.
What is a HELOC?
A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is a revolving line of credit that is secured by your home’s equity. Equity is the difference between the current market value of your home and the outstanding balance of your mortgage. HELOCs are typically offered by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions, and they provide homeowners with the ability to borrow funds up to a certain limit, using their home as collateral.
How Does a HELOC Work?
HELOCs function in a manner similar to a credit card. Once approved, you are granted access to a certain amount of credit, which you can use as needed. This credit line is available for a specific period, known as the “draw period,” which is often around 5 to 10 years. During the draw period, you can borrow funds, repay them, and borrow again up to the maximum credit limit.
The repayment phase follows the draw period, usually lasting around 10 to 20 years. During this phase, you can no longer borrow from the credit line, and you are required to make monthly payments that consist of both principal and interest. The interest rate on a HELOC is typically variable, meaning it can fluctuate over time based on market conditions.
Benefits of a HELOC
Flexibility: HELOCs provide homeowners with the flexibility to access funds as needed, making them suitable for various purposes such as home improvements, debt consolidation, education expenses, and more.
Lower Interest Rates: HELOCs often have lower interest rates compared to other forms of credit, such as credit cards or personal loans, because they are secured by your home’s equity.
Tax Deductibility: In many cases, the interest paid on a HELOC is tax-deductible, which can result in potential savings come tax season. However, recent tax law changes may affect the deductibility of HELOC interest, so it’s important to consult a tax advisor.
Potential for Appreciation: If the value of your home appreciates over time, your available credit line could increase, giving you access to more funds.
Considerations and Drawbacks
Risk of Foreclosure: Just like with a mortgage, a HELOC is secured by your home. Failing to make payments could lead to foreclosure.
Variable Interest Rates: While lower initially, variable interest rates can rise, potentially leading to higher monthly payments during the repayment phase.
Discipline Required: The flexibility of a HELOC requires responsible borrowing habits to avoid overextending yourself financially.
Closing Costs: Opening a HELOC involves fees such as application fees, appraisal fees, and possibly annual maintenance fees.
Who offer HELOC on investment property?
Amerisave [Not available in all states]
Bank of America
Barclays [Not available in all states]
BMO Harris Bank
First Republic Bank
Fifth Third Bank
First Tech Federal Credit Union
Homebridge Financial Services
Navy Federal Credit Union
New American Funding
PenFed Credit Union
Second Foundation Mortgage
Synchrony Bank 1
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be other lenders that offer HELOCs on investment properties. It is important to shop around and compare rates and terms from multiple lenders before you apply for a HELOC.
HELOC to buy investment property tax deductible
The interest on a HELOC used to buy an investment property is not tax deductible, as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) eliminated the deduction for interest on home equity loans and lines of credit (HELOCs) used for anything other than to buy, build, or substantially improve a taxpayer’s principal residence.
However, the interest on a HELOC used to improve an investment property may be tax deductible. For example, if you use a HELOC to make repairs to a rental property, the interest on the loan may be deductible as a rental expense.
It is important to consult with a tax advisor to determine if the interest on your HELOC is tax deductible.
Is it hard to get a HELOC on an investment property?
Yes, it is generally harder to get a HELOC on an investment property than on a personal residence. This is because lenders consider investment properties to be riskier than personal residences. To qualify for a HELOC on an investment property, you will typically need:
A good credit score (700 or higher)
A low debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
A down payment of at least 20%
A history of rental income
You may also need to provide additional documentation, such as tax returns and financial statements, to support your application.
If you are considering getting a HELOC on an investment property, it is important to shop around and compare rates and terms from multiple lenders. You should also be prepared to provide the lender with all of the necessary documentation to support your application.
How risky is investment property?
Investment property can be a risky investment. Here are some of the risks associated with investment property:
Vacancy risk: If your property is vacant, you will not receive any rental income. This can put a strain on your finances and make it difficult to make your mortgage payments.
Tenant risk: If your tenant does not pay rent, you may have difficulty evicting them. This can lead to lost rental income and legal fees.
Property damage risk: Your property could be damaged by fire, flood, or other natural disasters. This could lead to costly repairs or even the loss of your property.
Market risk: The value of your property could decline if the real estate market takes a downturn. This could make it difficult to sell your property or refinance your mortgage.
It is important to carefully consider the risks of investment property before you invest. You should also have a plan in place to manage these risks.
Here are some tips for managing the risks of investment property:
Do your research: Before you buy an investment property, it is important to do your research and understand the risks involved. This includes understanding the local market, the property itself, and the tenant pool.
Get a good property manager: A good property manager can help you to manage the day-to-day operations of your property and reduce your risk of vacancy and tenant problems.
Get insurance: Insurance can help to protect you from financial losses due to property damage or tenant lawsuits.
Have a plan: Have a plan in place in case the value of your property declines or you experience other financial difficulties. This could include having a backup source of income or a plan to sell the property.
A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) can be a valuable financial tool for homeowners seeking flexible access to funds. With its revolving credit structure, potential tax advantages, and lower interest rates, a HELOC can serve various financial needs. However, careful consideration of your financial situation, responsible borrowing, and a clear understanding of the terms and conditions are essential before pursuing a HELOC. As with any financial decision, it’s advisable to consult with financial experts to determine if a HELOC aligns with your long-term goals and needs.