HOW MUCH EQUITY DO I HAVE IN MY HOME: Explained and All You Should Know

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It’s thought that everybody is familiar with the concept of home equity. Nonetheless, there is still widespread misunderstanding. You, as a homeowner, should learn the ins and outs of home equity and how they work. This is especially important if you want to use your home’s equity to secure a loan or refinance your mortgage. Your equity grows as you pay down your mortgage and as the market value of your house improves. At some point, you may want to access some of your equity by way of a loan. This article will discuss how to calculate home equity, what a good amount of equity is in a house, and how to increase the equity in a home.

What is Equity?

Equity refers to the monetary surplus above the mortgage balance that a homeowner has built up in their home. Understanding the difference between equity and what you’ve paid is crucial. A home’s appreciation, or the prospective growth in value owing to demand, inflation, or other factors, also contributes to equity alongside your mortgage payments.

Furthermore, having equity in your home means having a higher value for the home than what you still owe on the mortgage. Your financial situation is affected in a variety of ways, including whether or not you need to pay private mortgage insurance and the availability of financing choices, by the amount of equity you have in your house.

How Does Home Equity Work? 

Your house will serve as collateral for a loan against the equity in it. Lenders need to verify that you genuinely have equity in your house and that your loan-to-value ratio, often known as your LTV, is satisfactory before they will even consider approving your application for a home equity loan. If your loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is high, it indicates that your equity is low, which makes it more difficult to convince lenders to let you borrow against it.

What Are the Steps to Access Equity?

#1. Estimate the Amount of Equity That Is Currently Available

Determine your home’s equity by subtracting the balance of any loans secured by the property from its estimated market value, which is typically based on recent similar sales in the region or a professional real estate agent’s valuation.

#2. Figure Out the Accessibility of Fairness

Determine how much cash will be needed to realize your goals. Depending on your servicing capacity, you may not need or want to take advantage of the whole amount of potential equity. In other words, the sum of equity you have access to may be affected by your financial situation and your ability to make extra payments. Let’s use an imaginary equity of $150,000 as an illustration. If, after factoring in your income and other outgoings, you determine that you can only afford to make $50,000 in additional principal repayments per year, then you should not attempt to unlock the full $150,000.

#3. Think About Your Financing Choices

It could be a good time to consult with a Mortgage Choice broker about your home loan alternatives and get started exploring them. Your mortgage broker can perform a “health check” on your existing home loan and compare its terms to those of other mortgage products offered by your present lender or by other lenders in the market.

#4. Determine What It Will Cost to Gain Access to Equity

There may be a range of fees and costs involved, depending on the type of product you select and the amount of equity you wish to tap. A good illustration of why Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance might be necessary is when you borrow more than 80% of your home’s value (LMI). Costs may be incurred when switching lenders, such as those related to terminating a fixed-rate program, applying for a new loan, and paying associated government fees.

#5. Making an Offer on a Loan and Closing on It

After you and your Mortgage Choice broker have settled on a loan choice, they will help you fill out the necessary paperwork and guide you through the process until settlement.

How to Calculate Home Equity 

If you have a good understanding of your home equity, it will be easier for you to make sound decisions regarding your finances and gain access to funds for home improvements and other expenses. In general, you can figure out how much equity you have in your house by deducting the amount still owed on your mortgage from the value that an appraiser has placed on your property.

To calculate how much equity you have in your home, follow these steps.

#1. Determine the Market Value of Your Property

Finding out how much your home is worth on the open market is the first thing you need to do when figuring out how much equity you have in it. Using a professional appraiser or making a request for a house appraisal from your lender is going to provide you with the most accurate results possible. Appraisals of single-family homes typically cost between $300 and $400, however, this range might be significantly more or lower depending on the property’s size, condition, and value.

You can also get a broad estimate of how much your property is worth by researching recent sales of comparable properties in your neighborhood or by making use of an online home value estimator service such as Zillow. However, keep in mind that the accuracy of these estimations is reliant on the data that is readily available in the area.

#2. Find Out How Much Money You Still Owe on Your Loan

Your next step is to determine the amount of money that is still outstanding on your mortgage. You should be able to locate this information on the most current mortgage statement that you have received. If your lender makes this information available online, you can request your mortgage payoff amount by logging in to your mortgage dashboard and making your request there. Contacting your mortgage lender directly to find out how much you owe is another option.

#3. Calculate Your House Equity

Calculating your home equity is as simple as taking the value of your home, as determined by an appraisal, and deducting the amount still owed on your mortgage from that number. Once you have those two numbers, you can determine how much equity you have in your home.

For instance, if the market value of your home is $200,000 and the amount that you still owe on your mortgage is $100,000, then the equity in your home is $100,000. Also, read How to Calculate Home Equity with Practical Examples & All You Need.

How Much Equity Can I Borrow From My Home?

The amount of equity that can be taken out of property varies from lender to lender; nevertheless, the majority of lenders will enable you to borrow between 80% and 85% of the value that your home is valued at.

What Happens When You Have No Equity in Your Home?

The majority of the time, a lender will not be able to give you a loan for more money than the value of your home. This indicates that if the equity in your home is negative, your lender may request that you bring cash to the closing table in order to make up the difference.

When Does Equity Become Negative and How Does That Happen?

When the value of a property is less than the loan against it, the owner has negative equity. A loan with negative equity may be described as “underwater” or “upside-down” by the lending institution. But how can this be, you ask, because banks typically won’t give you more money than your home is worth?

Say you’ve saved up a 10% down payment of $15,000 and can now afford to buy a home for $150,000. At the bank, you sign a $135,000 mortgage. Since you paid your lender $15,000 at closing and your home is now worth $150,000, you have $15,000 in equity.

A year later, the local property market declined. You’ve only paid $1,000 on your loan principle, but your home’s worth has climbed by $10,000. You no longer have access to the $134,000 you owe on your original mortgage from when home prices were higher. You have negative equity of $14,000 if you owe your mortgage lender $14,000 while your home is worth $10,000.

Furthermore, not paying on a loan for a short period of time and allowing interest to build up. As a homeowner, negative equity may cause issues. You may have trouble refinancing since lenders can’t lend more than your home is worth. Your home is only worth $120,000, so you can only refinance up to that amount. To qualify, you must erase negative equity.

There’s a chance you won’t be able to sell your house, either. For most people, paying off their mortgage is the first priority after selling their property. If a balance remains after the sale, it must be paid in full before the loan can be closed.

How Do You Avoid Negative Equity?

Negative equity is a nightmare that no homeowner ever wants to face. The following are some precautions you can take.

#1. Don’t Get In Over Your Head With a Mortgage

Negative equity can quickly accumulate if you fall behind on your payments early in the life of your loan. Before committing to a loan, it’s important to calculate all of the expenditures associated with home ownership.

#2. Consider the Present Market Price

Buying a property that will appreciate in value is the best method to keep from falling into negative equity. You’ll build equity in your home without paying a mortgage if its market value grows. A real estate professional can help you choose the right time to buy a house.

#3. Dedicate More Resources

While a 20% down payment is no longer required to purchase a home, making a too-small down payment can be detrimental to your equity. If the local home market were to suddenly decline after you obtained a VA loan with no down payment, for instance, you would quickly find yourself in negative equity. You can avoid this predicament by saving up for a higher down payment or by purchasing a less expensive home.

What Is a Good Amount of Equity in a House? 

It is necessary to preserve at least 20% of your equity in your house in order to qualify for a number of different refinancing alternatives, therefore it is in your best interest to do so. For instance, borrowers must have at least 20% equity in their houses in order to qualify for a cash-out refinance or loan. This requirement is standard across the industry. Occasionally, this is described as having a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 80% of the home’s current worth. LTV stands for loan to value.

How Can I Increase the Equity in My Home?

Gaining equity in a home is a major part of becoming a homeowner because it can assist guarantee one’s financial increase and stability in old age. To top it all off, you might be able to borrow money against it in the event of an emergency. When you truly need money, you may be able to tap into your home’s equity with a loan or line of credit. Here are ways to increase the equity in your home.

#1. Increase Your Down Payment

Paying a down payment when you buy a home is one way to immediately increase your equity in the property. Mortgages often require a down payment of a particular percentage of the buying price. As a rule, it ranges from 3% to 3.5% but can go as high as 20% if your loan qualifies for the highest bracket.

It would be wise to put down as much money as possible. Since you aren’t putting any borrowed funds toward the down payment, all of the money you put toward the home comes straight out of your own pocket and becomes part of your home’s equity. So, the larger the down payment, the sooner you will begin to build equity in the home.

#2. Increase or Add to Your Mortgage Payments

As a rule, just a small percentage of your monthly mortgage payment will go toward the actual cost of purchasing the home. Extra payments, or payments made on top of the monthly minimum, reduce the loan’s principal and increase the homeowner’s equity. You can build it in your home by paying down your mortgage principal balance (before interest, taxes, and other costs).

#3. Reduce Your Loans to a Shorter Term

Once you’ve paid off your mortgage and any other liens on the property, you’ll own your home free and clear. You can save money on interest over the life of the loan by refinancing to a shorter term. Also, you will avoid spending a significant amount of money on interest throughout the course of the loan’s lifetime, saving you thousands of dollars. Remember that if you pay off your debt faster, you will have to pay more each month. Make sure you can afford the new loan’s closing charges before applying to refinance to a shorter term.

#4. Eliminate the Need for Mortgage Insurance

Borrowers pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums to lenders to safeguard the lender’s loan investment in the event of borrower default. When buying a home, the only option to avoid paying for PMI is to make a 20% down payment. PMI premiums range from 0.1 percent to 2 percent of the outstanding loan balance annually. The total price is divided into installments that are applied to your regular mortgage payment. This can increase your regular payment and slow down your progress toward home ownership. If you can get rid of PMI, you can put that money toward the loan’s principal and pay it down more quickly.

If you have a traditional loan and 20% or more of the value of the home is invested in the property, you can drop the PMI. After that, get in touch with your mortgage servicer and ask them to cancel your PMI. When your equity in the home reaches 22%, your PMI will be canceled immediately.

Insurance for an FHA loan is called a mortgage insurance premium (MIP). If you put down less than 10%, mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) will be due for 12 years. Paying MIP is a requirement if your down payment is less than 10%. Your only options for getting rid of private mortgage insurance (PMI) on a 10% down payment FHA loan are refinancing into a conventional loan or waiting 11 years.

#5. Find Other Ways to Make a Living

The best way to amass equity is to pay down debt as the value of your home rises. Just making the required monthly payment will prevent you from gaining as much equity as possible. For this reason, it seems sensible that many homeowners who are comfortable with their equity could be interested in looking for ways to eliminate their mortgage.

Money from unexpected sources (like a windfall, a gift, or an inheritance) is always welcome, but it’s not easy to come by. Reevaluating your budget and income possibilities will help you pay down your loan faster and boost your equity.

#6. Be Patient and Let the Price of Your Home Rise Before You Sell It

Your home’s equity might develop over time, which can be relieving if you don’t need the money for anything imminent. With consistent mortgage payments and an increase in your home’s value over time, you can build equity. Yet, before investing in a home, it’s essential to conduct thorough research. Making sure that the neighborhood, property values, and the condition of the house are all solid bets for future growth.

As a precaution, consider the drawbacks of allowing your land to develop organically. Dropping property prices, for example, could wipe out a portion of the equity you’ve amassed in your home.

#7 Get Your House in Order by Spending Money on Renovations

Increasing your home’s value is the second most important factor in building equity after paying down the principal on your loan. A kitchen remodels, for example, can increase the value of your home and pay for itself over time. Both professional and amateur renovations can increase your home’s resale value and equity. To pay off your mortgage, enhance your home’s worth.


Your home’s equity is the portion of its market value that you actually possess. To find out how much equity you have in your home, you’ll need to know how much is still owed on your mortgage and get an official valuation. When you have equity in your house, you can use it as collateral to get a higher loan amount. As a result, you improve your chances of being approved and can obtain financing at more favorable interest rates.

In addition, you can utilize your home’s equity as collateral for a loan or line of credit, or you can refinance your mortgage for a lump sum of cash.

Equity FAQs

What is the current interest rate on a home equity loan?

The interest rate on a home equity loan will depend on your credit score and the lender you select.

How is the value of a house determined?

An appraisal is necessary to establish the market worth of a home. Lenders will typically order one before authorizing a loan and roll the cost of the appraisal into the loan balance.

Can you sell a house before paying it off?

Yes. You certainly can. You’ll pay off your debts, cover your closing costs, and make a nice profit from the sale.

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