A home equity loan can allow homeowners to withdrawal a lump sum of cash for myriad uses— such as paying off credit card bills—with their home as collateral.
But getting such a loan with a low credit score of 620 or so can be tough. Here are some factors that can make getting a home equity loan easier.
Lower Debt-to-Income Ratio
A home equity line of credit, which is another form of a home equity loan, is a second mortgage that can be acquired even if you have bad credit. Lowering your debt can improve your credit and chances for home equity loan approval.
A low debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is a good thing for lenders. A DTI in the lower 40s or less shows you don’t have as much debt compared to your income, and can help you get a lower interest rate. DTI is determined by taking what you owe and dividing it by what you make.
Equity in Your Home
Up to 80 percent of a home’s value can be borrowed against. This is called a loan-to-value ratio and is determined by multiplying your home’s current market value by .80, then subtracting what you owe.
For example, on a home valued at $300,000 that you owe $200,000 on, the equation is:
$300,000 X 0.80 = $240,000 – $200,000 = $40,000.
You could borrow up to $40,000, which is 80 percent of the equity you have in the home. Knowing this number before applying for a home equity loan will give you an idea of how much money you can borrow.
Improve Your Credit Score
If your credit score is around 620, work to improve it within a few months. Pay your bills on time, pay off any credit card bills that you can and work with debtors to settle debts.
These may be tough to do, but fixing your credit will help you in the long term and make getting other loans much easier.
Consider a Cash-Out Refinance
If your credit score and equity are too low to obtain a home equity loan or line of credit, consider a cash-out refinance of your home. This requires refinancing your mortgage and taking out some of your equity as part of the new loan.
It isn’t a second mortgage and should be easier to qualify for than a home equity loan. Be sure to shop for lenders to find the best refinance options.