January 18, 20224 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Equity 

How is home equity calculated? Basically, it’s your home’s current value, minus the amount you owe on it. The equation would look something like this: 

The current value of your home:

– Remaining mortgage balance: $125,000 

= Home Equity: $  75,000 

But, building home equity takes time. Each month, a portion of your mortgage payment goes toward the loan principal. You build equity as your principal decreases, which usually occurs over many years. If you want to speed up the process so you can build equity faster, here are four things you can do. 

Make a Larger Down Payment

The down payment you make when buying a home goes directly toward the loan’s principal. If you make the traditional 20% down payment (which allows you to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI), then you have 20% equity in your home from day one. 

If you use loan programs, like FHA, which require only 3%-5% down payment, and only pay the minimum amount required, you’ll have considerably less equity in your home. It’s almost always better to make a larger down payment, when possible.


Choose a Shorter Term

The average mortgage term is 30 years. If you choose a 10-, 15-, or 20-year mortgage instead, you’ll build more equity in your home every time you make a payment. The shorter the loan term, the more equity you grow at a faster rate. 

The added benefit is that shorter loan terms mean you’ll pay off your mortgage quicker and pay substantially less interest over the life of your home. However, shorter loan terms do mean your monthly payments will be higher than longer terms. It’s essential to make sure you choose the right term for your current budget. 


Use Equity to Build Equity

If you already have some equity in your home, you can use this as an opportunity to reinvest in your home through remodeling projects. The key is to  research your area to determine which improvements add value to your home and which may work against you.  

For instance, in some areas of the country, a pool adds value. In others, not-so-much. Work with local real estate agents or appraisers before you embark on a remodel to estimate your project’s potential returns.  


Pay More Toward the Principal

For many, this is the simplest solution. Paying extra toward the principal of your mortgage each month will help you build equity faster while also helping you pay less interest and pay your loan off sooner.  

Before you do this, make sure your mortgage does not have prepayment penalties. Then pay a little extra toward your loan each month or whenever you can financially afford to do so. It’s important you tell your lender to apply the additional amount toward the principal balance on the home. Another option is to choose bi-weekly payments, which help you pay an extra mortgage payment each year toward the principal. 

We’re Here to Help!

Having equity in your home is a powerful financial tool. You can borrow a portion of this equity for any reason, including home remodels, consolidating debt, or even using it as an emergency lifeline.  

Let us help you build equity in your home faster and make better-informed financial decisions when it comes to your mortgage loan. Visit any branch location or give us a call at 1-800-226-6673 to learn more about building home equity and the many benefits it provides. 

Each individual’sfinancial situation is unique, and readers are encouraged to contact PEFCU when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; It does not constitute legal advice. If such advice or a legal opinion is required, please consult with competent local counsel.   

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