What is home equity and how can you use it to your advantage?

November 25, 2021 BY

Leigh Deledio - Director, UFinancial

What exactly is home equity?

Simply put, home equity is the difference between the current value of your property and how much you owe
on it.

If you have been paying your loan for a few years, you may have built up reasonable equity. For example, if your property is worth $500,000 and the current debt on your loan is $290,000, your equity would be $210,000.

Can you use your home equity to buy a second property?

The short answer is yes.

You can borrow against your equity to purchase another property. But not just that, you can also use your home equity to fund other big-ticket purchases, such as renovating your home or starting a new business.

A common way to access your home equity is to refinance your current loan. By borrowing against your home equity, your existing property becomes a security on the loan.

Understanding total equity and useable equity

We’ve established that you can use your home equity to buy another property. In the example above, your equity would be $210,000. Does that mean that you can put this amount towards a deposit on a second property? Not exactly.

How much can you actually borrow?

Using the example below:
Property value: $500,000
80 per cent of property value: $400,000
Minus current debt on loan: $290,000
Your useable equity would be $110,000.

How much useable equity you’ll be able to use will vary between lenders. Still, as a rule of thumb, lenders will generally lend you only 80 per cent of the value of your home, meaning that your useable equity should amount to at least 20 per cent of the property value to be used as a deposit. If your useable equity is less than 20 per cent, you may need to add from your pocket to make up the difference or consider other properties.It’s worth noting that it’s possible to borrow more than 80 if you take out Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

Property experts suggest, however, that when it comes to buying an investment property, you should use the “rule of four”, which consists of multiplying your useable equity by four to find out your maximum purchase price.

Accessing your equity is a great strategy to buy an investment property, but just like any big financial decision, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Our specialist mortgage brokers can help you to work out how much home equity you have and the best way it can be accessed to fund your next investment. Book a free chat today.

LEIGH DELEDIO – Director, UFinancial

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute financial advice. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own circumstances and seek professional advice.


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