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Two Top Ways to Use Your Home Equity to Remodel Blog Feature

By: America's Credit Union on March 7th, 2019

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Two Top Ways to Use Your Home Equity to Remodel

Home & School | Home and Mortgage

At its core, the concept behind home equity is a simple one.  It’s a term that describes the market value of the “unencumbered interest” in your home – meaning, the difference between the fair market or “appraised” value and the outstanding balance of any and all loans that you may still owe.

Home equity is calculated by taking 80% of that value and subtracting the loan balances. So, if your home was worth $200,000 and you still owed $100,000:

$200,000  x  80% 
=  $160,000

 The equity on your home would be $60,000.           

What a lot of people don’t realize (especially first time homeowners,) is that it’s definitely possible to remodel your home to help it look and feel precisely how you want it and improve the amount of equity you have at the exact same time.

Below are two responsible home equity techniques that you’re definitely going to want to know more about.

1. Get a Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan is exactly what it sounds like – a loan that you’re taking out against the equity in your home. To continue with the above example, it would be possible to borrow against the $60,000 equity in your home for nearly any purpose you’d like. However, there are a few reasons in particular why it’s a good idea to do so specifically with renovations or other improvements in mind. 

If you borrow against your home equity to make improvements that improve your home’s value, you’re creating more equity – and improving your return on investment exponentially. If you make these types of home improvements, continue to pay your mortgage on-time AND the value of your home goes up, you’ve created a tremendous amount of equity in a short amount of time.

Just understand that if the value of your home goes down, the amount of equity you have will decrease with it. Therefore, if you’re going to explore this opportunity to fund your next remodeling project, make sure you try to do so during a period when the market is as strong as possible.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Top 5 Upgrades that Will Increase the Value of Your Home

2. Understand What Will and Will Not Improve Your Home’s Value

It’s important to understand that not all renovations will improve your home’s value. A pool may be something you’ve always wanted, for example – but that might not be true of a buyer when the time comes to sell. Pools are expensive and require a lot of upkeep, so it may not increase the value to someone else as much as you may think.

Generally speaking, improvements that will increase your home’s value include finishing your basement, creating a home office, updating your kitchen or bathrooms, and anything related to landscaping and/or curb appeal. Provided that you focus on these areas with your home equity loan, you’ll find that the effort is definitely worth it by way of your ultimate return on investment.


In the End

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that home equity is something you should always be considering – but especially when it comes time to remodel your property. The best ways to use home equity to that end are always the ones focused on the bigger picture. It’s less about short-term gains and is more about the types of long-term benefits that you can unlock for yourself that you would truly be hard-pressed to match via any other technique.

For more tips on using your home equity efficiently, download our free eBook, "The Complete Home Equity Loan Guide: All You Need to Know."



Membership in America’s Credit Union is open to anyone who lives or works in Dallas, Rockwall or Collin Counties, Texas, and their family members. Employees of select employers may also be eligible. See our Membership page for details.