Top 5 FAQs regarding equity in a home

Are you a renter weighing the rent-vs-buy decision? Renting has its advantages. For example, renters have less responsibility for maintenance and repairs and can pick up and relocate quickly. On the other hand, homeownership also has benefits, allowing homebuyers to grow home equity with each mortgage payment.

What is home equity? It’s the current market or appraised value of your home, minus what you owe on your mortgage. These home equity FAQs can help you understand the value of your home, how to build equity, and the ins and outs of leveraging your property as loan collateral.

How do I build equity in my home?

Mortgage payments reduce your debt and build equity. Home improvement projects such as updating your kitchen, adding a bathroom, and installing energy-efficient windows also build equity because they increase a home’s value. Thinking about building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or a second story addition? Adding square footage to your property can be another great way to improve your home’s value and build equity.

By choosing to refinance your home to a shorter term, such as 15 years, you can accelerate the process and build equity faster. If you are considering refinancing a mortgage, keep in mind that it can result in a higher monthly mortgage payment. It’s a good idea first to determine how much it can increase what you pay monthly with a refinance calculator.

What is an example of home equity?

To determine how much equity you’ve built, take the market value of your home, and subtract your loan balance. For example, if your house appraises for $300,000, and you owe a mortgage balance of $100,000, you have $200,000 in home equity. When your mortgage is paid off, your home equity would be $300,000.

Can my home lose equity?

Unfortunately, there are certain circumstances where you can lose equity in your home, such as when property values decrease. For example, if the market value of your home decreases to $200,000, you now only have $100,000 in home equity with a mortgage balance of $100,000.

Another way to lose potential equity is to let your home slip into disrepair. If your home requires serious maintenance, then you’ll lose property value over time. A way to stay on top of repairs as they’re needed is with a renovation loan. A renovation loan lets you borrow based on future estimated home value, make upgrades now and distribute renovation costs over the life of the loan.

Can I borrow against my home equity?

Are you looking to leverage the equity in your home without selling? One option for borrowing against your home equity is a cash-out refinance. A cash-out refinance taps into your equity by refinancing into a larger loan amount than you currently owe. This lump-sum or “cash-out” can be used for whatever you choose, like consolidating your debts or making home improvements. However, there are potential drawbacks to using your home as collateral. A cash-out refinance can extend the life of your loan, and you’ll be spending money on closing costs. The most significant disadvantage is that it can put your home at risk of foreclosure if you’re unable to make your payments. Consult a financial advisor to determine if this type of refinancing is the right fit for you.

What happens to my equity when I sell my house?

If you have a mortgage loan, you’ll pay the outstanding mortgage balance, real estate commission and seller related expenses when you sell. If these fees are less than your home’s sale price, you’ll get to keep the proceeds. Calculate your profit with the Guild home sale proceeds calculator.

Start building equity on a place of your own! Contact us to discuss your mortgage options with an expert loan officer in your local area.

The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply.