Obtaining a home equity loan makes it possible to payoff credit cards, finance a home improvement project, etc. In fact, one of the benefits of homeownership is being able to tap into your homes equity for large expenses. Many lenders offer great rates on home equity loans and lines of credit. Yet, homeowners should beware home equity loan scams that place them at risk of losing their home.
Understanding Home Equity Basics
A home equity loan is essentially a personal loan that is secured by your homes equity. The amount you are able to acquire will vary. For the most part, you are able to obtain a loan up to the amount of your homes equity. However, lenders will usually review your credit and income to ensure that you qualify for the requested amount.
Home equity loans are beneficial because the funds may be used for a multitude of purposes. If you are looking to payoff credit card balances, a home equity loan will help you achieve this goal. Nonetheless, exercise care when applying for such a loan. Because your home serves as the collateral, failure to maintain regular payments will result in foreclosure. Sadly, some lenders are betting on your inability to repay a home equity loan.
Common Home Equity Loan Scams
Lenders use an array of fraudulent schemes to steal your equity. For starters, there are lenders who cleverly convince homeowners to borrow more than they can afford to pay.
Moreover, a lender may encourage homeowners to exaggerate their income in order to qualify for a larger amount. Instead of having your best interest in mind, these lenders knowingly position their clients for defeat. Hence, when you can no longer afford the payments, the lender forecloses.
If applying for a home equity loan, it is important to read the loan agreement carefully. If possible, have the contract reviewed by an attorney. Some home equity loans involve a large balloon payment at the end of the loan term. The typical homeowner cannot afford to pay this amount. Regardless of whether you maintain timely payments, the home equity lender may claim your home if you are unable to make the final payment.