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Dangers Of Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is very attractive to home owners since it can help increase immediate cash on hand, provide a way to fund repairs or renovations of the home, and offer an extended line of credit. A fixed rate equity loan can reduce monthly payments, and an extended line of credit can help pay down high-interest credit cards or personal debt. Still, there are some dangers of home equity loans. Some lenders and brokers can promise a lower interest rate or lower monthly payment, but the payment can go up if the borrower’s credit score decreases. Homeowners who are not able to meet the demands of the change can put their house at risk of repossession if they cannot repay the debt in time. Consolidating debts or refinancing a home in this way is not a good idea if the borrower ends up instead with a larger loan that they cannot pay off easily.

Even when money is saved on the home equity loan or line of credit itself, some borrowers may end up overspending in other areas. If credit cards are paid off, they may start buying things on credit again and end up making monthly payments beyond what is affordable. Plus what happens when the funding estimated for a project the loan was obtained for - house repairs, college expenses, unforeseen medical emergencies – exceeds the initial funding amount? Borrowers may find themselves spending more money than they sought to save. Some mortgage companies might charge excessive fees that the homeowners don’t know about until they sign the final papers. This is becoming increasingly common, and it’s important to know all of the terms and final costs well before hand.

Other poor lender practices include equity stripping, loan flipping, and over borrowing. Equity stripping is when a lender will inflate the income on an application to secure the loan. This results in the borrower not being able to pay back the amount. Loan flipping is when a lender increases the loan amount by increasing the current mortgage. This results in an overextended amount that the borrower cannot pay. Over borrowing involves extending a loan for more than the house is worth. This borrower cannot receive a tax deduction on this amount and may not be able to keep up with the payments. Although there are many advantages of a home equity loan, there are some dangers and pitfalls to look out for. Sensible budgeting and financial practices are important to stay ahead of payments, no matter how small or large the amount may be.


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