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Understanding Home Equity Loans: Interest Rates and More

home equity loan is a type of loan that allows homeowners to borrow against the equity they’ve built up in their home. Equity is the difference between the current market value of the home and the outstanding balance on the mortgage. 

Do home equity loans have interest? Yes, home equity loans do have interest. The interest rate is typically lower than credit cards or personal loans and can be fixed or adjustable. It’s expressed as an APR (annual percentage rate), which includes the loan’s interest rate plus any fees or points. Rates are influenced by factors such as credit score, loan-to-value ratio, and market rates.

With a home equity loan, you’re using your home as collateral to receive a lump sum of cash, which you repay along with interest over a set period of time. These loans can provide funds for major expenses like home renovations, debt consolidation, college tuition, or other large purchases.

A calculator on top of cash

How Does a Home Equity Loan Work?

To qualify for a home equity loan, you must have sufficient equity built up in your property. Lenders typically require a minimum of 15-20% equity before they will approve a home equity loan. 

The loan amount you can borrow depends on the amount of equity available, along with factors like your credit score, income, and overall debt levels. Many lenders will allow you to borrow up to 80-85% of your home’s value minus what you owe on your mortgage.

With a home equity loan, you receive the full loan amount upfront in one lump sum payment. The loan is secured against your home, meaning if you default the lender can foreclose. You repay the loan plus interest with fixed monthly installment payments over a set repayment term, usually 5-30 years.

Home equity loans have fixed interest rates, meaning your monthly payment stays the same over the full loan term. The interest rate is usually lower than credit cards or personal loans. Closing costs range from 2-5% of the total loan amount.

Do Home Equity Loans Have Interest?

Yes, home equity loans charge interest. Interest is the cost you pay to borrow money. The interest rate on a home equity loan is expressed as an APR or annual percentage rate. The APR factors in the loan’s interest rate plus any fees or points.

For a $100,000 home equity loan with a 5% interest rate and 2-point origination fee, the APR would be around 5.04%. With a 10-year repayment term, the monthly payment would be $943 at this rate. Over the full loan term, you would pay around $17,175 total in interest charges.

Interest rates on home equity loans can be fixed or adjustable. Fixed rates remain the same over the full loan term while adjustable rates can fluctuate up or down periodically. Fixed rates are usually a better choice, providing certainty and stability with your monthly payments.

How Is the Interest Rate Determined for a Home Equity Loan?

Several key factors determine the interest rate offered on a home equity loan:

  • Credit score – Borrowers with higher credit scores qualify for lower interest rates. Scores below 620 may disqualify you.
  • Loan-to-value ratio (LTV) – The higher the LTV, the higher the rate since it represents more risk to the lender. 
  • Equity amount – More equity means lower rates. With less than 20% equity expect higher rates.
  • Loan term – Shorter terms often have lower interest rates.
  • Market rates – General interest rate environment impacts all loans. Rates usually between 4-10%.
  • Lender – Each lender sets rates based on own criteria. Shop and compare options.

In addition, your income, existing debts, and credit history will factor into the lender’s decision on your rate. Improving your credit and LTV can help you secure the most favorable interest rate.

What Are the Average Interest Rates for Home Equity Loans?

Currently, average interest rates for home equity loans range from around 5% to 8% for prime borrowers with good credit. Here’s an overview of current rate ranges:

  • Excellent credit (720+ score): 4.99% – 6.647% 
  • Good credit (680-719 score): 5.496% – 7.297%
  • Fair/Average credit (620-679): 8.248% – 12.246% 
  • Poor credit (below 620): May not qualify, if so above 12%

Rates are also impacted by loan term. On average today:

  • 5-year home equity loan: 4.5% to 6.5%
  • 10-year home equity loan: 5.25% to 7% 
  • 15-year home equity loan: 5.5% to 7.25% 
  • 20-year home equity loan: 6.25% to 8%

As you can see, shorter 5-year loans often have lower interest rates. However, the tradeoff is higher monthly payments because you repay the balance faster.

How Can You Lower Your Interest Rate on a Home Equity Loan?

If your goal is to get the lowest rate possible on a home equity loan, here are some tips:

  • Shop lenders – Compare offers from banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders. Rates can vary significantly.
  • Boost your credit score – Improving your score even a small amount could mean a lower rate.
  • Reduce debts – The less existing obligations you have, the lower your rate.
  • Consider a shorter term – Shorter home equity loan terms often have lower interest rates. 
  • Make a larger down payment – Increasing your equity lowers the LTV ratio used to qualify you.
  • Choose a fixed rate – Adjustable rate mortgages have higher rate risk over time.
  • Lower the loan amount – Borrowing less reduces the risk for lenders.

Taking some time to increase your equity, improve your credit, and evaluate lenders can potentially save you thousands on a home equity loan.

Are the Interests on Home Equity Loans Tax Deductible?

In some cases, yes – the interest portion of your home equity loan payment may qualify as a tax deduction, which can provide substantial savings each year. 

To qualify for tax deductible status on a home equity loan, you must use the loan solely for home improvements or repairs. If you use any portion for other expenses like debt consolidation or a vacation, the deduction would not apply.

The interest deduction can be claimed regardless of whether you itemize or take the standard deduction on your tax return. For 2022, you can deduct up to $750,000 in mortgage interest under the new tax laws.

It’s a good idea to consult a tax professional to determine your specific deduction eligibility when applying for a home equity loan. Tracking interest payments separately can help maximize your potential deduction amount.

What Are the Risks Associated with Home Equity Loans’ Interest Rates?

While home equity loan rates are relatively low compared to other financing options, there are some risks to factor in:

  • Missed payments may result in foreclosure – Your home is used as collateral, so missed payments put your property at risk.
  • Variable rates may increase over time – Starting rates are often low but can ultimately increase if you have an adjustable rate loan.
  • Shorter terms mean higher monthly payments – Fast repayment can strain your monthly budget.
  • Interest charges add significant costs – Interest can sometimes equal or exceed the actual loan amount.
  • Refinancing is difficult once initiated – You cannot refinance a home equity loan into a new mortgage.
  • Your home’s value may decline – If the market drops, your equity could potentially be erased.
  • Predatory lenders may offer high rates to desperate borrowers – Seek reputable lenders and be wary of deals that seem too good. 

Considering these risks relative to your personal financial situation is key before moving forward.

What Factors Should You Consider Before Taking Out a Home Equity Loan?

Home equity loans allow homeowners to leverage their equity for access to funds, but it’s wise to weigh several factors first:

  • Your needs – Do you have a specific purpose requiring a substantial amount of money?
  • Loan costs – Closing costs, interest charges, and fees will add to your total repayment.
  • Payment affordability – Are you comfortable committing to a new long-term monthly payment?
  • Your timeline – When and for how long will you need the funds from the loan?
  • Your credit – Good credit means more options and better rates.
  • Future plans – Will you look to move or refinance within the loan’s term? 
  • Equity impact – This debt will immediately reduce your available equity.
  • Risks – Are you prepared for foreclosure risks if you struggle to repay?

Looking closely at these considerations will help determine if tapping your home equity is the right move.

How to Apply for a Home Equity Loan?

Applying for a home equity loan is relatively straightforward. Here are the basic steps:

  • Contact lenders like banks, credit unions, or mortgage lenders to obtain rate quotes and loan estimates based on your specific circumstances.
  • Submit a loan application with information on your income, debts, assets, credit history, and property. 
  • If approved, you will receive a home equity loan agreement outlining all terms, costs, and interest rate details for your review and acceptance.
  • A home appraisal will be required by the lender to verify available equity, on which the loan amount maximum will be based.
  • Final loan approval will require documentation like pay stubs, tax returns, and home appraisal report.
  • At closing, you will sign the final loan paperwork and receive your lump sum payout. The lien will be recorded against your home.
  • Repayment begins on a set schedule according to your amortization and payment requirements outlined in the loan agreement.

Be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons before making this long-term financing decision and leverage competitive quotes from multiple lenders.


Home equity loans allow homeowners to tap into their equity to access lump sum financing at relatively affordable interest rates compared to alternatives like credit cards. While loans do charge interest and present certain risks, they can provide substantial funds for major one-time expenses if used judiciously. Shopping lenders, evaluating your finances, and understanding the terms are keys to determining if a home equity loan makes sense for your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Do you pay interest on a home equity loan?

Home equity loans are a type of loan in which the borrower uses the equity in their home as collateral. Interest is typically paid on a home equity loan, with the amount of interest charged depending on the borrower’s credit score and the loan’s term length. The interest payments on a home equity loan may be tax deductible, depending on the borrower’s individual circumstances.

What is the monthly payment on a $50000 home equity loan?

A home equity loan is a type of loan that uses the equity in a borrower’s home as collateral. The monthly payment on a $50,000 home equity loan will depend on the interest rate and repayment term of the loan. Generally, the monthly payment on a $50,000 home equity loan will range from $250 to $750 depending on the interest rate and repayment term.

What is the downside to a home equity loan?

Home equity loans can be a useful tool for homeowners to access extra funds, however there are potential drawbacks to be aware of. One of the main disadvantages associated with home equity loans is that they come with a greater risk of foreclosure if the borrower defaults on payments. Additionally, home equity loans may have higher interest rates than other types of loans and may require closing costs.

Does home equity have interest?

Yes, home equity does have interest. Home equity is the difference between the value of a home and the amount of any mortgages or liens against it. Homeowners can take out a loan against their home equity, and this loan will typically have an interest rate associated with it.