The Difference Between Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit and how to choose

Your Alabama home is one of your most valuable assets.

Home equity – the difference between your remaining mortgage loan amount and the current market value of your home -- is established through initial down payments and continues to increase overtime as you make monthly payments on your loan.
It may also increase if the value of your home rises. As of the third quarter of 2021, the average Alabama homeowner gained $33,000 of equity in their home vs. the $57,000 national average, according to CoreLogic Home Price Index.

Homeowners can borrow against their home’s equity for larger purchases and unexpected expenses, so let MAX Credit Union explain the difference between the types of home equity financing, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Home Equity Loans vs Home Equity Lines of Credit

There are two different ways that consumers borrow against the equity in their home – either as a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit are considered secure loans that use the borrower’s home as collateral. Both borrowing strategies provide
homeowners with immediate access to funds, which need to be repaid according to the loan or line of credit terms. So, what’s the real difference between the two?

  • A home equity loan gives the borrower a single lump sum of money that is paid back at a fixed rate and monthly payments.
  • A home equity line of credit (HELOC) gives the borrower a revolving credit line that can be continuously drawn upon and paid back as needed, sort of like a credit card, but usually with better rates. This can cause fluctuations in the monthly payment, as borrowers spend more or less.

Which is Right for You?

The best way to borrow will be based on your money-management preferences and how you plan to use the funds. If you prefer predictability and fixed payments, then a MAX Credit Union Home Equity Loan may be the best option. This can be particularly helpful when you have a defined budget and need to pay for certain large expenses such as college or car repairs, or even debt consolidation.

If you prefer flexibility and don’t mind balancing the books every month, then a HELOC might be right for you. This can be useful you are doing home renovations and need to pay multiple contractors or taking time off to travel. Get started using our MAX Credit Union mortgage loan calculator.
The Best of Both Worlds? Introducing flexLOC.
Imagine combining the best of both worlds – the flexibility of a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) and the predictability of a fixed-rate Home Equity Loan. That's our flexLOC in a nutshell.
You have the power to secure all or a portion of your current balance with a fixed interest rate and a set monthly payment in up to 3 different loans we call segments. 

'Segments' allow you to take control of your financial stability. By locking in specific portions of your line of credit, you're ensuring that they won't be subject to interest rate fluctuations. This means your monthly payments remain steady and predictable, making it easier to manage your finances and plan for the future with confidence.

How To Get a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit

You can apply for a home equity loan or flexLOC line of credit from MAX Credit Union. Your approval will be dependent your home loan-to-value-ratio, creditworthiness and other factors decided by your lender of choice.

Apply online for a MAX Credit Union HELOC or home equity loan, or contact us to get started.
MAX Credit Union is a full-service financial institution serving Central and East Alabama, including Montgomery, AL; Auburn, AL; Opelika, AL; Prattville, AL; Wetumpka, AL; Tallassee, AL; and Troy, AL.

Apply for a flexLOC (HELOC) today