If you have equity in your home, you may be able to use it to borrow money for renovations, big-ticket expenses — or to finance another purchase or project.
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) offers access to funds when you need them. You can tap into the money all at once, take it out over time, or just use a portion of it. In fact, 25 percent of homeowners have had a home equity line of credit at some point, according to a 2015 BMO Harris survey.
Not sure what you’d use a HELOC for? Here are a few ideas:
- Spruce up your living space: Did you find a great deal on a home, but need to gut it? Or do you just want to freshen things up by replacing the carpeting or outdated kitchen countertops? If you’ve done your research and number crunching, and need a little help with your budget, a HELOC may be able to help with extensive and minor home renovations, from improving curb appeal to making “green” updates that can also help you reduce energy use (and costs).
Tip: Did you know you’ll be able to recoup, on average, 80 percent of the cost of updating your kitchen cabinets, drawers and oven, as well as a few other renovations? Learn more from Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.
- Prepare for the unexpected: In a perfect world, nothing in your home would ever break, malfunction or wear out. However, if your roof leaks suddenly, or your furnace falters when the temperature drops — and you don’t have ample savings on hand — a HELOC may help you pay for some necessary repairs. Remember that you’ll only pay interest on the amount you actually borrow — so if you’re approved for a $10,000 loan, but just need $2,000 for a repair, you’ll only pay interest on that $2,000.
Tip: A HELOC doesn’t have to be your only resource for unexpected home issues. Try building up your emergency fund now by socking away $50 a month so you’ll have a safety net.
- Consolidate your debt: Do you have a few outstanding loan balances — purchases you’re paying a high interest rate on, or an education or car loan? If you’re finding it difficult to manage multiple payments, or you’re being charged high-interest rates, you may want to say hello to a HELOC. It’s a good way to start fresh: You can use your line of credit to pay off your existing debts, and then focus on just making one monthly payment, with one interest rate, to repay your HELOC.
Tip: Interest on your HELOC may also be tax deductible. (Check with your tax advisor for confirmation1.)
- Make a large purchase: You may be able to borrow as little as a few thousand dollars, which could be helpful if you have your eye on some sparkling new appliances. Or perhaps you’re thinking a little bigger, like buying a boat or a mini-van for your growing family.
Tip: Remember, you don’t have to spend the entire amount that you qualify for. Keep expenses in check and cut back where you can to reduce what you’ll need to pay back.
Interested in applying for a HELOC?
Learn more about a BMO Harris Home Equity Line of Credit, from understanding more of the benefits, to applying for a customized quote online.
Looking for more information about mortgages, refinancing or ways to make valuable home improvements? See our special offers available on our mortgages and home lending page.
1 For informational purposes only. Be sure to consult a tax professional for tax advice.
Banking products and services are subject to bank and credit approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC.