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What Credit Score Is Needed for Home Equity Line of Credit?

April 15th, 2012 | Author:

A home equity line of credit or HELOC is a form of revolving credit in which the collateral is your home. It is similar to a credit card that homeowners can draw money from whenever they need it, but enjoying much favorable interest rates. A HELOC can affect your credit score either positively or negatively.

Consumers value their home very much, that is why HELOC is typically used for essential items only like medical bills, home improvements and education, and not for regular daily expenses. There are certain qualifications that applicants should satisfy in order to qualify for a HELOC, and credit score is one of them.

In fact, credit rating bears a lot of weight in the underwriting process of a HELOC application. Credit reports must show that the homeowners have a good to excellent credit score, and have made payments to creditors on time, suggesting a pattern of financial stability overall. Every lender has its own minimum credit score requirement, although generally speaking the chances of getting approved is higher with a high credit score.

Your credit score will determine your risk of not being able to pay back the money you have borrowed through the HELOC loan facility. You may not even qualify for a loan if you have an extremely low credit score like below 500. Meanwhile, a credit score of above 700 – which is considered an excellent score – will likely qualify you for the best rates and terms. Only applicants with FICO scores of 620 or higher can qualify for the prime interest rates.

Any borrower that opens a HELOC is essentially accessing his home’s equity. For starters, equity is the difference between the determined value of the property and what is owed against it.  The credit limit is calculated by subtracting the balance in your first mortgage by a certain percentage of the home’s appraised value, which is around 75 to 80 percent.

To illustrate, if the appraised of a home is $400,000, it will be multiplied against 80 percent (or in some cases 75 percent), which will fetch $320,000. It will then be subtracted by the balance in the mortgage loan, say $250,000. In sum, the equity of the home is $25,000 and through the HELOC loan facility, the homeowner can borrow up to that amount. In most cases, the HELOC credit line is a lot higher compared to a regular credit card.