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{:.grey_back.blue} * Your home could be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments

If you own your own home you might be considering releasing some of the equity in your property in order to use those funds to pay for home improvements, to fund a round the world trip or to buy a new car. However, it’s vital that you think this decision through carefully before securing debt against your home, because if you’re ever unable to meet your repayments there’s the risk that your home might be repossessed by the lender. As such, you should only consider a home equity loan if you’re confident you’re able to meet the repayments, and your circumstances aren’t likely to change.

How can I find the best home equity loan rates?

The rates you’re offered when you’re comparing home equity loans will be based on a wide range of variables, including your own credit history, any other debts you have at present, the loan company’s lending criteria for home equity loans, and how much equity you have built up in your house.

Since it’s difficult to know ahead of time how well your own credit history will line up with a particular lender’s lending criteria, it might be worth comparing home equity loans from a range of different loan companies. Just make sure that each one is only doing a ‘soft search’ on your credit report rather than a hard search, otherwise you could end up making it harder to take out a loan.

Is a home equity loan the same as equity release?

No, although the names are very similar, equity release and home equity loans are very different.

A home equity loan is basically a second charge against the equity you’ve already built up in your home, and when it’s paid off you will own the portion of the property again.

By contrast, equity release is a form of retirement funding that offers a way for homeowners over the age of 55 to unlock some of the money locked up in their home to pay for their retirement. The most popular type of equity release is known as a lifetime mortgage, where the homeowner receives a lump sum that only has to be repaid (via the sale of their property) after they die.