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    What is a HELOC?

    A Home Equity Line of Credit, commonly referred to as a HELOC, is a flexible financial tool offered to homeowners. It allows you to borrow against the equity you’ve built up in your home without changing your primary mortgage rate.

    HELOCs provide a revolving line of credit rather than a fixed, one-time lump sum payment. This means you can draw from it as needed, much like a credit card, up to a pre-approved limit. HELOCs are an excellent financial tool that can give you flexible access to funds without tapping into other investments or assets.

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    The Benefits of a HELOC

    One of the primary advantages of a HELOC is that you’re only charged interest on the amount you’ve drawn, not on the total equity available. Additionally, your payments each month will be interest-only, ensuring maximum financial flexibility. Here are some of the other key benefits and considerations:

    1. Quick Access to Funds You Can Use For Any Purpose

    Unlike a standard loan, a HELOC provides a quickly-available, revolving credit line. This means you can borrow exactly what you need, when you need it, reducing unnecessary interest payments. You have the freedom to use the funds as you deem fit — for any purpose.

    2. Preserve Your Current Mortgage Rate

    A HELOC does not alter or reset your current mortgage rate. For homeowners who locked in a favorable low mortgage rate, this ensures your great rate remains untouched. Access your equity seamlessly, without the need to refinance your primary mortgage.

    3. Numerous Tax Benefits to Take Advantage Of

    Interest on HELOCs, when used for home improvements, or to buy or build the taxpayer’s home, can be tax-deductible. This can reduce a homeowner’s taxable income, potentially saving money during tax season. Consult with your accountant to understand the full range of benefits associated with HELOCs.

    4. Competitive Interest Rates to Help You Save Money

    Generally speaking, HELOCs offer a variable interest rate, which can be more competitive than fixed-rate loans, especially in low-rate environments. This means you can capitalize on potential savings over the life of the loan, as well as reduce your monthly payment responsibilities.

    5. Get Full Access To Your Untapped Equity

    HELOCs are rooted in your home's equity, often a substantial safe-haven of value. This enables homeowners to seamlessly fund sizable projects or expenditures, eliminating the need to rely on multiple loan avenues or deplete cash reserves. It's about leveraging the wealth your property holds.


    How Much Can You Borrow with a HELOC?

    The borrowing limit for a HELOC primarily hinges on the equity you've amassed in your home. Through Cohen Financial Group’s strategic relationships, you can get up to 65% LTV (Loan-to-Value) financing for up to a $5M HELOC amount, and up to 90% LTV for lower HELOC amounts.

    It's worth noting that other factors, like credit score, and debt-to-income ratio also influence your HELOC borrowing limit. Mark Cohen and Cohen Financial Group can help you secure a HELOC with some of the best rates and terms available on the market — guiding you every step along the way.

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    HELOC Loan Requirements

    Securing a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) requires meeting specific lender criteria. Here are the key requirements to be aware of:

    • Home Equity: Typically, lenders want to see a significant amount of equity before approving a HELOC. The amounts may vary, but a typical minimum amount of equity is between 15% and 20%.
    • Credit Score: A strong credit score is paramount. While the exact score required for approval can vary by lender, higher scores generally result in better loan terms and interest rates.
    • Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): This ratio gives lenders insight into your ability to manage additional debt. Some lenders only allow a max of 35% DTI, while others may allow as high as 50%. A lower DTI is always preferable.
    • Property Appraisal: An up-to-date home appraisal is necessary to determine its current market value, which plays a role in setting your credit limit.
    • Proof of Homeowners Insurance: This is crucial as the lender wants assurance that their interest in your property is protected against unforeseen damages or losses.

    HELOC Rates Explained

    Understanding how HELOC rates are determined can empower you to secure the best possible terms; let's break down the key factors:

    • Prime Rate and Lender’s Margin: HELOC rates are tied to the prime rate, a foundational interest rate set by banks. When the prime rate fluctuates, your HELOC rate will likely adjust also. On top of the prime rate, lenders will add a margin based on the borrower's creditworthiness. This margin is essentially the lender's markup and can vary significantly, which is why it’s essential to work with an experienced loan broker like Cohen Financial Group to secure the best rate.
    • Your Credit Score: Lenders see a high credit score as an indicator of creditworthiness, making them more inclined to offer better rates. Check your credit report regularly and have any errors corrected. Pay off outstanding debts, keep credit card balances low, and ensure timely payment of bills. Avoid opening new credit lines close to your HELOC application.
    • Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio: This is the ratio of how much you owe on your home to its current value. A lower LTV often means a lower interest rate. It signifies a stronger equity position in the property and ultimately means less risk to the lender. Consider getting a professional home appraisal before approaching a lender. By ensuring your home's valuation is accurate and up-to-date, you can potentially access better HELOC rates.
    • Caps and Floors: Some HELOCs have caps (maximum limits) and floors (minimum limits) on how much the interest rate can change over a specific period or over the life of the loan. These caps and floors ultimately dictate the potential range of your interest rates.
    At Cohen Financial Group, we find and negotiate the best rates for you – so you can rest assured that your financial asset is being utilized to its maximum potential. Apply Today

    HELOC vs. Home Equity Loan:

    While a HELOC provides a flexible, revolving line of credit with variable interest rates, a home equity loan is different in that it offers homeowners a one-time lump-sum with a fixed interest rate. This means that with a home equity loan, borrowers receive the entire amount upfront and make consistent monthly payments covering both principal and interest from the outset.

    In contrast, for HELOCs, you only make payments on what you have borrowed. Additionally, HELOCs have long periods where only interest payments are required, ideal for phased expenses or when costs are spread out.

    Home equity loans tend to be better suited for single, substantial expenses where the total cost is known upfront. However, potential borrowers should be aware that home equity loans carry higher closing costs similar to those of a primary mortgage.


    Are Helocs Right For You?

    At Cohen Financial Group, we recognize that every homeowner's financial blueprint is unique. A HELOC, with its many benefits, can be strategically tailored to enhance and support your long-term financial vision. Trust our seasoned team to ensure that your HELOC is executed swiftly, with the most favorable terms, and aligned with your goals.

    With the expertise of Cohen Financial Group and the seasoned insights of Mark Cohen, a HELOC becomes more than a mere line of credit. It's an effective financial strategy, designed to harness untapped opportunities and strengthen your long-term financial stability. Entrust your financial aspirations to us, and together, we'll unlock the full potential of your home's equity.

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