Getting a Home Equity Line of Credit in Canada means tapping into the equity you’ve built in your home through a line of credit. It is a way of utilizing the value of your home that you truly own. Note that it only sounds similar but is not the same as an unsecured line of credit.
A Home Equity Line of Credit is a type of revolving loan that is secured by the equity of your home. It is not the same as a home equity loan because a home equity loan is a one-time loan of your home equity that will have to be paid back in full before you can use it again.
A HELOC can be reused again and again as long as you don’t exceed the ceiling amount within the time agreed for your HELOC. Interest rates for a HELOC are more manageable as well because only the exact amount withdrawn gets computed for interest. This means that if your HELOC has a ceiling of $100,000 and you only used up $1,000, you only have to pay interest for the $1,000 you used. As you pay back that $1,000, your ceiling goes back to $100,000. Think of a HELOC like a credit card with a high spending limit that is tethered to the equity of your home.
HELOC Interest Rates
Interest rates for a Home Equity Line of Credit has been made a little bit higher since the Bank of Canada increased its key interest rate to 0.75% on July 12, 2017. This is still easier to manage than interest for credit cards which are more than 10X higher than that.
Those who have a HELOC can expect that their variable interest rates will be a little less predictable but ultimately they will still end up saving upwards of a few hundred dollars a month in interest as compared to more traditional loans.
How to Get a HELOC?
Applying for a HELOC may be a bit tricky if you’ll be doing it on your own or will be approaching big institutions to get one. Requirements vary by lender and some lenders (such as banks) can have very strict requirements.
If you are self employed, have variable income, have a non-perfect credit history, or have other debts, going the bank route may not be the best option for you. A good option is to apply for a Home Equity Line of Credit to private lenders or smaller lenders with the assistance of professional mortgage brokers to ensure that you’ll get higher chances of approval and that all your bases are covered.
If a HELOC is not for you, you can also look into a home equity loan or second mortgage, a private mortgage, or even home refinancing. The key is to ensure that you’re talking to the right people and that you really do your due research to determine what is right for you.