It is normally not our business at Money Talks News to urge our readers to take on debt. But when a loan is a good solution, there are good and bad ways to do it. And now there’s technology that allows you to do it the right way at record speed.
Introducing Figure, which can help you get a home equity line of credit (HELOC) of $15,000 to $150,000 in just a few days. Through a process that starts with a short two-screen form (I was pre-qualified for $98,000 in minutes), you can get a quote, finalize paperwork and get funded entirely online without the weeks- or months-long process that has traditionally accompanied home equity loans and HELOCs.
First, let’s look at the reasons that a HELOC makes sense and why it’s a better option than some common alternatives.
When a HELOC makes sense
- Home improvement. Whether you need a kitchen upgrade, roof replacement or a sewer line repair — renovation and repairs are often expensive and sometimes urgent. A HELOC will typically come with an interest rate that is considerably lower than a personal loan, as Bankrate explains. And importantly, with a HELOC, the interest you pay is potentially tax-deductible* when the money is used for substantial home improvements. (There’s a nice rundown of requirements and restrictions here.)
- A sudden major expense: Were you surprised by a big tax bill, major medical or dental expense? Sure, it would be better if you had this covered by an emergency savings fund so that you could handle it out-of-pocket. But for homeowners, tapping into home equity is a less expensive way to cover this type of cost than many alternatives — and certainly cheaper than turning to credit cards.
- Fill a gap in college-education costs: Even with diligent savings through the years, financial aid, student work programs and scholarships, the cost of higher education can seem out of reach. But if you’re a homeowner with college-aged kids, chances are you have enough equity in your home that you could tap into it to cover a shortfall.
- Consolidate high-interest debt. A HELOC can allow you to pay off debt from credit cards or other high-interest loans. Again, it would have been great not to get into that expensive debt to begin with. But paying it off with funds from a home equity loan can make the difference between paying 27% on your balance, and paying 5%. (For another great source of help for credit card debt — especially if you are not a homeowner — check out our Solutions Center.)
How Figure works
As the name implies, a home equity line of credit is for homeowners who are borrowing against equity held in their property — it is a secured loan. In the case of Figure, the total debt-to-equity ratio (including the Figure loan you want) can be as high as 95%, depending on your other credit factors. So, for instance, on a home with an appraised value of $400,000, your primary mortgage and Figure loan could be as high as $380,000. You also need a credit score of at least 600 — and of course you will get a better rate if you have a higher score. When I filled out the initial two screens — entering that basic information, including name, home address and gross income — I was informed that I was pre-qualified to borrow $98,039.
I wouldn’t need to borrow that much for the tax bill I was faced with, so I checked out the cost of a $15,000 HELOC from Figure Lending LLC. This is what popped up:
Note: The rates here are contingent upon agreeing to use auto-pay for monthly payments. Otherwise, the APR would be 0.75% higher. Also, note that there is a $300 origination fee for this loan.
You could go to your local bank or credit union for a home equity line of credit, and you will likely get a competitive rate — we always encourage comparison shopping. But Figure cuts out the trip to the bank and the many weeks that typically pass while awaiting a loan to be finalized and funded. It’s all online and superbly streamlined. Even the notary process is done online via an e-notary.
“This was seriously the easiest financial transaction I’ve ever dealt with. From application start to approval, it was literally about 7 minutes. The electronic notary made things super simple. My application was approved on Monday afternoon and my loan was funded by Friday. I only wish everything was as simple as this! … — Alex B.”
“This is probably the easiest and best home equity loan on the planet. I needed a loan to pay off my charge accounts which had given me an introductory rate of 0% interest for a year. The year is over and the interest is going up to 29.99%! … — Gloria Berry”
“super easy & fast. other finance groups ask the same BS q’s over and over again … run u thru the ringer associate after associate. i don’t want to beg to tap the equity in my primary residence. just let this group run a algorithm on ur bank accounts and u will get ur $ in a week or so … — Scott Miller”
Know thy risk, know thyself
As with any loan, you need to make sure you’re not getting into a monthly payment you cannot afford. This is extremely important in the case of a home equity line of credit because if you can’t make payments you could lose your house.
Before you seek a loan, consider how you came to need it. If you have a long history of paying your mortgage and other bills on time, and now you have an expense you didn’t budget for — maybe it’s a kitchen renovation or maybe it’s to help care for an aging parent or to make the final push to get your college student across the finish line — then a HELOC could be a great option for you. And if you want to minimize the effort to get there — check out a Figure Home Equity Line.
If you have long-term financial woes or a perennial problem with overspending on credit cards, then you may want to look elsewhere for help. Start with our Solutions Center, which offers a path to higher-paying savings accounts, help for managing debt from credit cards, student loans and much more.
Are you in the market for a loan to do a project or cover an unexpected debt? Share your story with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.
*Terms and conditions apply, visit Figure.com for further information.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.