home equity

Use home equity line to pay bills?

Don TaylorQuestionDear Dr. Don,
I've heard of a mortgage strategy that involves getting an equity line on the house and using that money to pay bills you know you would have to pay anyway, along with the mortgage payment. The end result is that you can pay off all your debt faster. Fact or fiction?
-- Chris Conundrum

AnswerDear Chris,
Fiction. I don't like writing about this topic, because when I come out against it, every sales representative pushing this product writes in to tell me how I just don't get it. I get it just fine. I just don't think the typical homeowner benefits from this type of mortgage loan.

Compare home equity rates
Bankrate can help you find the best home equity rates in your area.

Some of these programs even sell you software packages to manage the process. I have a loan program you can use for free. Enter your mortgage particulars on Bankrate's mortgage calculator, then add an additional monthly principal payment each month and see how it changes your payoff date and total interest expense.

Yes, if you put every penny you can into paying down your mortgage, you will pay the loan off faster and own your home free and clear sooner. You don't need a home equity line to do this, just make additional principal payments on your conventional mortgage loan.

The premise of the equity line program is that you deposit your paycheck into your home equity line and then write checks against the credit line to pay your bills. As long as your income is greater than your expenses, you're paying down the credit line and reducing your mortgage interest expense.

The fallacy is that by depositing your entire paycheck into the home equity line, you substantially reduce the intramonth interest expense. You do reduce that expense, but the amount isn't substantial. Let's say that your loan balance is $200,000 at a 5 percent annual interest rate. Depositing a $4,000 paycheck at the beginning of the month and then drawing down $4,000 on the line during the month, if you do it equally over the month, it reduces your average mortgage balance during the month by about $2,000. One month's interest on $2,000 at 5 percent is $8.33.

The real interest savings comes from making additional principal payments on your loan. You don't need a home equity line of credit to make additional principal payments on your loan. Just do it.

Get more news, money-saving tips and expert advice by signing up for a free Bankrate newsletter.

Ask the adviser

To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the "Ask the Experts" page and select one of these topics: "Financing a home," "Saving & Investing" or "Money." Read more Dr. Don columns for additional personal finance advice.
 

Bankrate's content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this website, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this website is governed by Bankrate's Terms of Use.

News alert Create a news alert for "home equity"

advertisement

Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
advertisement
HOME EQUITY STRATEGIES & ADVICE NEWSLETTER

Advice for homeowners looking for options to use their home’s equity wisely. Delivered monthly.

advertisement

Ask Dr. Don

Too soon for home equity loan?

Dear Dr. Don, I was wondering if it is possible to take out a second mortgage on my house to pay for my student loans. I've owned my house for about one year now, but I don't have much equity in the home. My student loan... Read more

Partner Center
advertisement

Connect with us