Both refinance home mortgage loan and home equity loan allows cashing out the equity in a property. However, they are different type of loans, serving different needs.
Refinance mortgage is used to replace the existing mortgage with a new and improved loan. The purpose of refinance mortgage loan is mainly to lower the interest rates and the monthly payments on a mortgage. During the process of mortgage switch with refinance, providing there is equity in the property, some cash may be taken out by getting a larger mortgage. Refinance is similar to a normal mortgage in that you have closing costs and fees to pay. Refinance works well in the periods of lower interest rates. The homeowner may take advantage of lower rates by replacing the existing higher interest home mortgage with the improved one. This process will lower the interest on the entire mortgage on the house. In fact, the borrower may pay off several loans including personal loan and credit card bills with the new mortgage. By doing that the overall interest rate and monthly loan payments may be lowered substantially.
In order for refinance mortgage to be beneficial, the home owner needs to stay at least couple of years in the property to recover the closing costs and fees paid during the refinance process and start saving real money.
Home equity loans do not require the home owner to pay off the existing mortgage. They are taken as cash out in the form of second mortgage on top of the existing mortgage. The existing mortgage with its interest rate and payment terms remains untouched. The fees and closing costs on home equity loans are much lower compared to refinance mortgage. On the other hand the interest rates offered on refinance mortgage loan would be lower than home equity loan.
Home equity loans may work out better at periods of high interest rates, especially when the existing mortgage rates are lower than the rates offered currently. Home owner who needs cash and wants to tap into the home’s equity to get the cash in the high interest periods could just get the cash needed in the way of additional borrowing. As the home equity loans are stand alone loans, these loans can be paid off separately from the home mortgage. The home owner may want to improve the home before selling so that it could be sold for a higher price shortly. If the home is to be sold in the near future, home equity loan would be a better option.
When deciding which financing option to choose, consider the purpose of the loan. If the mortgage applicant wants to stay at the property, but wants to lower the mortgage interest rate or change his mortgage from adjustable rate mortgage to fixed rate mortgage, refinance mortgage serves this purpose. If small amount of cash needed for a short period of time, getting a home equity loan will be a much cheaper option of borrowing for this purpose. Home owner should consider how long the house intended to be kept. If the property is to be sold shortly after refinancing mortgage, the home owner may loose money, due to the closing costs paid during the refinancing process.