How To Make Your Home Equity Useful

Home values continue to rise. Many people use their home equity in order to get a bit more financial security. The home equity line of credit can have many different benefits for you. From home improvement projects to a much-needed vacation, you can get the funds that you need for whatever you wish. Turn to your home equity with some careful thought, however. You could end up owing more than your home is worth, which defeats the purpose of tapping into your home equity to begin with. 

Make Your Decision Smart

Your home equity can be a good thing to tap in to if you’re not planning on spending like crazy. Maybe you just want a little extra cash on hand for emergencies. You’ll be prepared for anything unexpected. This could be a smarter decision than just blowing a bunch of money on a vacation, for example. 

Some smart things that you can use your home equity for include:

  • Home renovations
  • Emergency funds
  • College education funds
  • Cash advance

These ideas are investments that can help you to achieve other goals. You should be sure that you’re able to pay the money back. These projects or financial endeavors are much more suited to smart spending than just randomly spending money, buying a car, or other things that will put you in serious debt.

Home Equity Fluctuates


As the market changes, the amount of home equity that you’ll have to tap into does as well. The state of the housing market can actually dictate to you how much money you’ll be able to get. If the market isn’t good, you could end up in the negative financially, so do your research. 

How To Get Your Home Equity

There are a few ways that you can draw from your home’s equity. The first rule that you should understand is that you cannot borrow more than 80% of what your home is worth. Take a full remortgage your home, giving you the full 80% amount that your home is worth in order to take a lump sum. Alternatively, you can take a cash-out refinance where you set the amount of money you’d like to take out of your home’s equity as you refinance the home. You can also take out what’s called a “home equity line of credit,” which allows you to use the amount of your home’s worth as a credit card of sorts. You borrow money as you need it.     

The biggest issue with refinancing is that of planning. It’s important to know why you’re refinancing and what you’re planning on doing with the money. Used wisely, home equity can really be a great financial tool.

Reaching Your Down-payment Goals

You’ve assessed your budget, changed your habits, and made spending cuts but you still need to reach your down payment faster. Consider these significant steps to help you get there.

  • Take on a second part-time job. If your work schedule allows you to add a second job find a part-time option that will enable you to earn one or two thousand dollars more each month. If you are part of a couple, each partner can get a light part-time job without feeling overloaded. Bonus—occupying your time more does help lead to less spending and more saving! Tutor students, pet sit, or take a steady part-time gig!
  • Move back home, move in with extended family, or get a roommate. If your family is on board with the changes you need to make to meet your financial goals, consider moving in with someone in your family to pay lower rent and save tens of thousands over one year. If family help isn’t an option, consider getting a roommate or moving into a two-bedroom apartment and adding a roommate to lower your monthly rent.
  • Review your belongings for big-ticket items you can sell. Do you live in an area with excellent public transportation? Consider selling your expensive, gas-guzzling car or getting out of your costly lease. Do either you or your spouse work at home, but you both own a car? See if you can help fund your savings by downsizing to one vehicle for the next year to save more.
  • Sell unworn jewelry and have broken pieces melted down for cash.
  • Skip vacations for a year, or even two! And during your vacation time, take on an extra job so when you head back to work you’ve earned a bit chunk to add to your savings kitty.
  • If your owning a home in the near future is a top priority, take a break from your retirement fund at work and redirect those funds into your savings account. (Only take this step if you are completely committed to reaching your down payment goal within a year or two at most since you lose the value of compounding those funds toward your retirement for the life of the account.
  • Direct all your tax refund and any annual bonuses into your savings!

Remember, this isn’t a forever deal. You’re not signing on for an austere life ongoing. It’s just temporary to reach a goal. Your real estate professional can help you get started by determining how much you need to set aside for your down payment.

What Should I Put in My Offer Letter?

Making an offer on a home you’re hoping to buy is a stressful endeavor. You want your offer to stand apart from others, and if you don’t feel comfortable increasing the offer, a personalized letter is a good way to explain your situation and possibly sway the seller in your favor.

Sounds good, right? But when most of us sit down to write an effective offer letter we often come up stumped. What makes your situation different than any other hopeful buyer? How do you find the right tone in your letter? How do you sign off at the end? 

There are a number of things to consider when writing an offer letter. So, in this article, we’re going to help you craft an offer letter that will give you the best chance of getting accepted by a home seller.

 Begin with them

Before you start talking about yourself and why you love the house, start by addressing the seller by name. Thank them for letting you view their home, and compliment them on the work they’ve done to take care of it.

Why you love their home

A good place to start in your offer letter is to describe exactly what sets their home apart from the others you looked at. Are there defining characteristics of the home that make it perfectly suited to your family? Does it have a large yard that your dog will love to run in or the workshop you’ve always wanted to practice your woodworking?
Make your letter personal. This is your chance to show that you aren’t just concerned with the price of the home.

Share information wisely

Some buyers get excited about all of the changes they would make if their offer was accepted on a home. And while it’s okay to plan and be excited for the future, you might not want to share that information with the seller.

Remember that they have many memories and hours of work put into their home, and they might not appreciate you talking about how you’re going to start tearing down walls.

Be concise

Once you get into the flow of writing your letter, it’s easy to get carried away. However, sellers will be more receptive to reading and understanding your letter if it is short and to the point. Try not to go over a page, single-spaced.

Once you’ve written your letter, review it to see if there’s anything that can be simplified or removed altogether.

Peer review

Before sending your letter, have a family member, friend, or real estate agent look it over. Not only will they be able to catch small grammatical errors, but they’ll also let you know if something you’ve written is confusing or would be considered over-sharing.

Presentation

You might be tempted to hit the send button as soon as you’re done with your letter. However, receiving an email can be impersonal–we all get hundreds of emails that we never even open. Rather, print your letter on nice paper, sign it by hand, and consider attaching a family photo if you have one that’s suitable.

What to Expect When You Conduct a Home Inspection

A home inspection often plays a key role in the homebuying journey. If an inspection shows that there are no underlying problems with a house, you should have no trouble moving forward with a home purchase. On the other hand, if an inspection reveals a variety of structural problems with a house, you may need to reconsider your purchase decision.

Ultimately, a homebuyer who knows what to expect during a home inspection can plan accordingly. This buyer also may be better equipped than others to accept the results of an inspection and make an informed choice about whether to move forward with a home purchase.

What does it take to achieve the best-possible results during a home inspection? To find out, let’s take a look at three tips to ensure you can prep for a house inspection.

1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

There is no shortage of home inspectors available in cities and towns nationwide. However, employing an expert home inspector will require you to conduct an in-depth search.

When it comes to finding an expert home inspector, it pays to search far and wide. Because if you have an expert home inspector at your side, you can boost the likelihood of identifying major and minor house issues during an inspection.

2. Assess Every Area of a House

Oftentimes, a home inspection takes several hours to complete, and for good reason. In order to fully evaluate a residence, you’ll want to be diligent. That way, you can minimize the risk of missing potential problems as you perform a home assessment.

As you walk through your house with an inspector, don’t hesitate to ask questions too. In fact, a home inspector may be able to provide insights into home problems and repairs that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can help you find your dream house, as well as put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your area. Plus, this housing market professional likely will walk through a house with you during an inspection to ensure you can get the support you need to make an informed homebuying decision.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to consult with you before and after a home inspection. Prior to an inspection, a real estate agent will help you put together a plan to assess a house. Meanwhile, after an inspection, a real estate agent can discuss the inspection results with you and help you determine the best course of action.

Let’s not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. This housing market professional can help you streamline your search for your dream house, submit a competitive offer on a residence and ensure you can purchase a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.

A home inspection may seem daunting at first. Luckily, if you plan ahead for a home inspection, you can use the assessment to gain the insights that you need to determine whether a house is right for you.