LEARN HOW TO
UNLOCK THE EQUITY
IN YOUR HOME
A home equity loan uses your house as collateral. When considering your application for a home equity loan, lenders need to make sure the home equity actually exists and that you have an appropriate loan-to-value ratio, or LTV. When your LTV is high, it means your equity is low, and lenders will be reluctant to let you borrow against it.
To determine how much you may be able to borrow with a home equity loan, divide your mortgage’s outstanding balance by the current home value. This is your LTV. Depending on your financial history, lenders generally want to see an LTV of 80% or less, which means your home equity is 20% or more. In most cases, you can borrow up to 80% of your home’s value in total. So you may need more than 20% equity to take advantage of a home equity loan.
An example: Let’s say your home is worth $200,000 and you still owe $100,000. If you divide 100,000 by 200,000 you get 0.50, which means you have a 50% loan-to-value ratio, and 50% equity. Lenders that allow a combined loan-to-value ratio of 80% may let you borrow another $60,000. That would bring the amount you owe to $160,000, which is 80% of the $200,000 home value.
Take a homeowner quiz to see
How much equity you could pull out of your house