Blog

Low Mortgage Rates + High Home Values: Should You Tap Into Your Home Equity Right Now?

Low Mortgage Rates + High Home Values: Should You Tap Into Your Home Equity Right Now?

If you own a home, there’s a good chance you’re sitting on a nice chunk of equity. According to this report from Black Knight, the average homeowner got a $48,000 bump in their home value, raising the average equity to $185,000 in 2021.

Considering mortgage rates are still historically low, and home values are high, it can be tempting to tap into your home like it’s an ATM. With hints of rates going up, and values potentially coming down, it can be even more tempting to rush and pull equity out of your house.

Before you do, consider whether or not you should. Take a look at some reasons to tap into your equity, and some reasons not to pull money out of your house:

Good Reasons

  • Home improvements
  • College costs (if the rate is lower than student loan rates you can obtain)
  • Debt consolidation (if you manage credit well and can use it to lower your payments)
  • Emergency expenses
  • Wedding expenses
  • Business expenses

Not So Good Reasons

  • Vacations
  • Buy a car
  • Risky investments (like “hot” stock tips you read online)
  • Pay off credit cards (if it is a recurring problem)

If you determine it makes sense to turn your equity into cash, you have a few options:

Cash-out Refinance

This type of loan allows you to refinance your home for a higher amount than you currently owe, and take the difference in cash. For instance, you owe $100,000, take out a $150,000 loan, and get $50,000 cash. This can be a great option if your current mortgage is at a rate that is higher than current rates, or you have paid down your original loan substantially over time.

Home Equity Loan

These are a second mortgage on your home, usually at a higher rate than the first. Lenders may also be a bit more careful about how much they will lend, since these take second position to your original mortgage if the home is foreclosed on.

Home Equity Line of Credit

These are commonly referred to as a “HELOC.” They’re also a second mortgage, but in the form of a revolving line of credit, much like a credit card. The rate is often variable and fluctuates with changes in the market, but you can find some that are fixed-rate.

The Takeaway:

The current market conditions are favorable for tapping into your home equity if you have a good amount of it. If you decide to do so, just make sure it’s for a good reason. Try not to take out too much equity. Maintaining 20% equity is an ideal benchmark — taking into consideration that values could also drop a bit in the near future — so be safe when estimating how much you’re taking out.

No matter what your reason, only do so if you know you can handle the payments and it won’t put your hard-earned equity and home at risk. And, as always, make sure to seek the advice of your financial advisor, estate planner, and / or real estate agent before turning the equity in your home into cash.

Being a Landlord Is About to Start Paying off Big Time

Being a landlord hasn’t been easy over the past couple of years. Not that it’s ever entirely easy, but local and federal pandemic mandates and eviction moratorium made it harder to even collect rents, let alone raise them.

But according to recent survey data highlighted in this Realtor Magazine article, landlords plan to substantially raise rents this year, and all signs point to tenants being willing and able to pay higher rents.

Here’s a look at how much surveyed landlords are planning on increasing rents by in the coming year:

  • 38% plan on increasing by 5% or less
  • 45% plan on a 5-10% increase
  • 9% are planning on a 10-15% bump
  • 5% are seeking a 15-20% hike in rent
  • 3% are asking for an increase of 20% or more

The amount your market and tenants will be able to bear has to be taken into consideration, but overall the article cites that 82% of renters have not missed a payment in the past 12 months, showing that the majority of tenants are able to pay regularly and stay current. Seventy-seven percent state that they do not anticipate missing a payment in the next three months to a year.

Coupled with low supply of houses for sale (especially in the entry-level markets) and rising interest rates, demand for rentals should be high.

The Takeaway:

If you’ve struggled to collect rents and pay your mortgage over the past few years, and are thinking about selling your rental property, you may want to reconsider. If you can, hold on to your rental property and raise your rents as much as the local market will bear.

If you haven’t been struggling, but you’ve been hesitant (or unable) to raise rents in the past couple of years, consider raising the rent as leases come up for renewal, or when accepting a new tenant.

And if you haven’t already invested in rental property, now may be the time to buy one, before rents are raised which will increase the market value and cost to buy one.

Recently Married? Here Are the Mortgage Tips You Need to Know

You’re recently married. Congratulations! If you’re like many newlyweds, the next thing on your agenda is probably buying a house—and, in order to do that, you may need a mortgage.

But, as a newly-married couple, what do you need to know about successfully getting a mortgage?

recent article from realtor.com outlined key mortgage tips and insights newlyweds should keep in mind as they search for their dream home, including:

  • Review your finances. Before you jump into the home search process, it’s important to understand where both you and your partner stand financially. Sit down and discuss your credit scores and outstanding debt, as both will play a major role in your ability to secure a mortgage.
  • You don’t necessarily have to put both names on the mortgage. If you have excellent credit and little debt, but your partner is in a less ideal financial position (or vice versa), you might want to consider only having one half of your partnership apply for a mortgage; that way, one person’s credit score or debt won’t negatively impact your loan terms (for example, higher interest rates). And don’t worry; as long as both names are on the title, you both own the house—regardless of whether both spouses are on the mortgage.
  • If an interest rate seems too good to be true, it probably is. As newlyweds, you and your partner want to get the most competitive interest rate possible for your mortgage. But if a mortgage rate seems too low to be true, it probably is. For example, there are lenders out there that will offer a super-low interest rate—but also super harsh penalties for late payments, which could put you in a financial bind if you’re ever late with your mortgage payment. If you get offered a loan with a so-low-it’s-hard-to-believe interest rate, it could be a red flag—so make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions before moving forward.

12124 Quorn Ln, Reston, VA 20191 *Rented*

Classic Reston contemporary patio home, fully updated. Enjoy private, wooded surroundings while living conveniently close to everything. Hidden away in the corner of a small cul-de-sac off a private road, backing to Reston trails. Easy access to major commuter routes and Metro. Paved trails to Hunters Woods Elementary Magnet School for the Arts and Sciences. School bus also stops at end of driveway. Three bedrooms with 4th bedroom or office next to the primary bedroom. Open, expanded kitchen, including gas range/electric oven; hardwood flooring throughout the first floor and eco-friendly, hypoallergenic new cork flooring on the second level. Two-car garage; extra parking also available. Laundry room on same floor as bedrooms, and extra-large storage room. Brick, wood-burning fireplace in sunken living room. Bathrooms currently being remodeled. Central heat and air conditioning, with Nest smart thermostat. Restaurants, grocery stores, community center with summer day camps for kids, hair salons, dry cleaners, etc. a walk, bike ride or very short drive away. Reston pool and rec areas back to subdivision, tennis and basketball courts just down the trail. Enjoy watching foxes and deer from the large deck in the backyard. Tenant responsible for small amount of mowing (push mower provided by owner). Pets allowed case-by-case.

 

Offered for $3450/month. Listed by Meghan Pachas