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3 times to use a home equity loan to purchase a second home

Your home equity could be your key to owning a second home.  Getty Images

Are you thinking about purchasing a second home? Maybe you live in a cold climate and want a home in a warmer area during the winter months. Or, maybe you have adult children who moved away and you'd like to be near them during the holidays. 

A traditional mortgage is one option for purchasing a second home, but your primary home could also help. For example, you may be able to tap into your home's equity with a home equity loan to get the money for a down payment or cover the full cost of purchasing of a second home.

Home equity loans are often a smart option to consider because you can borrow large amounts at a competitive rate. And, since the average homeowner currently has about $193,000 in tappable equity, a home equity loan may be a compelling way to purchase a second home right now.

Find out the top home equity loan rates available to you now

3 times to use a home equity loan to purchase a second home

Here are three times it makes sense to use a home equity loan to purchase a second home. 

When you have plenty of home equity but little cash

The amount of cash required to purchase a second home is a significant hurdle for many people. And, if you take the traditional mortgage route, you will need enough for a down payment and to cover your closing costs. That often means having tens of thousands of dollars or more on hand, depending on the price of the home and other factors. 

A home equity loan could be useful if you don't have as much cash as you need on hand to purchase a second home. You can use the funds to make a down payment on the second home you're purchasing, for example. And, depending on the amount of equity available to you, you may have enough to also cover the closing costs for your second home. 

Explore your top home equity loan options online now.

When you need a fixed monthly payment

There are multiple ways to finance the purchase of a second home with your home equity. Some, like home equity loans, come with fixed interest rates. Others, like home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), have variable rates that can change over time. If your goal is to have a consistent monthly payment amount on the money you borrow from your home's equity, a home equity loan is usually the better option.  

"Fixed-rate home equity loans provide much more certainty when compared to a variable-rate HELOC because homeowners can know exactly what their monthly payment will be before taking out the loan," says Darren Tooley, a senior loan officer at Cornerstone Financial Services. "This allows the borrower to budget and know exactly what to expect on a month-to-month basis."

When you know exactly how much money you need

Home equity loans allow you to borrow against your equity with a lump-sum loan. As such, it can make sense to use a home equity loan to purchase your second home if you know exactly how much money you'll need to make the purchase. 

For example, you may be purchasing a new home that is unlikely to need repairs in the near future. Or, you may have a clean inspection report and aren't planning to make updates or changes to the home's appliances, fixtures or features. 

In these cases, you likely won't need to borrow extra home equity money for renovations or repairs, so the costs are relatively fixed in terms of the amount you need to borrow. In turn, a home equity loan can make more sense than other options.

Compare your home equity lending options to find the right loan for you today

The bottom line

If you're in the market for a second home, it can make sense to use a home equity loan to fund your purchase. That's especially true if you have plenty of equity but little cash, want a fixed monthly payment amount and know exactly how much money you'll need to purchase your second home. Compare your home equity loan options now.

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