The Seattle Times posted an interesting article giving the pros and cons of refinancing homes in order to take out an cash (or a line of credit). Interestingly, the number of people doing this is extremely high with “nearly three out of four homeowners who refinanced through Freddie Mac between July and October cashing out.”
What are the downsides to “cashing out”?
- By carrying more debt (secured by your house), you put your assets at greater risk if you lose your job, get sick or run into other financial difficulties.
- More debt also means higher monthly payments, especially if you opt for a 15-year payback term.
- Refinancing typically costs much more in settlement and loan-origination fees than home-equity lines, unless you have your closing charges rolled into the note rate.
With that said, there are several good reasons to strongly consider an equity line:
- Convenience and control
- You pay interest on only the amounts you’ve pulled out, not the approved limit.
- Most lines allow immediate access to more money using credit cards or checks