Equity Release

6 Alternative Ways to Get Equity Out of Your Home

Tom BurchnellReviewed by

Wondering how to get equity out of your home? We’ll discuss several alternative ways you can access your home’s equity.

The ability to build equity draws many people to homeownership. After all, it functions as the ultimate financial safety net and resource. Simply put, equity is the difference between what your home is worth, and what you owe on your current mortgage. 

To that end, the amount of equity you have in your home builds over time, and it serves as a valuable financial asset.

When you need to get equity out of your home, many people automatically envision having to sell their primary residence and move. While putting your asset on the market—especially when the housing market is high—is always an option, there are also several other ways to extract equity out of your home without having to put you and your family through a major life change. 

If you’re wondering how to get money out of your home equity investment, without having to leave the home you love, we’re here to explain six alternative financial solutions: 

  • Home equity loan
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
  • Cash out refinance
  • Reverse mortgage
  • Shared appreciation company
  • Sale-leaseback program

Why Converting Equity May be Right for You 

Every homeowner's situation is unique, and there are many reasons you may want to convert your home's equity you’ve worked hard to build into accessible funds. In which case, consider these common examples of how to use home equity if you need extra capital on hand:

  • Debt consolidation of credit card debt, car loans, school loans, etc.
  • Home repairs and improvements
  • Sending your child to college
  • Launching a small business
  • Handling an unforeseen expense like a medical bill

The beauty of converting your equity is that you can use the resources to meet your family’s individual needs—whatever they may be. However, it’s critical to keep in mind that different options come with their own set of risks and rewards. 

This is especially true if you choose a more traditional option like a home equity loan (second mortgage), home equity line of credit (HELOC), cash-out refinancing, reverse mortgage, or shared appreciation company. 

Let’s take a closer look.

#1 Home Equity Loan

What is known as a home equity loan, or second mortgage, is a fixed-term loan that’s based on how much equity you’ve already built.  

To access a home equity loan, you apply for a set amount, and if you’re approved, you’ll receive the money in an upfront, lump-sum payment. Once you’ve received the funds, you’ll be responsible for paying them back based on a fixed interest rate and schedule of interest payments, in a structure that’s similar to a fixed rate mortgage. 

Although these types of loans can be an effective option, it’s important to note that the total amount you can borrow is directly linked to how much equity you have in your home, as well as your credit score. If you’re a new homeowner who hasn’t had time for their equity to accumulate, or you don’t have a high enough score or have bad credit, this may not be the right fit for you. Just be sure to fully weigh out the pros and cons of home equity loans before you make a decision.

#2 Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit, frequently referred to as a HELOC in the finance world, is an alternative means to taking out a home equity loan. These two are often compared but there are clear differences between a home equity loan vs. HELOC. A HELOC is essentially a credit card where your credit limit is directly linked to equity in your home. It serves as a revolving source of funds, which means you can take out funds, pay them back, and repeat as needed.

 Here’s are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering this option: 

Draw and Repayment Periods

The terms of a HELOC are broken down into two parts—the draw period and the repayment period. The draw period is a set period (usually between five and ten years) when you can withdraw funds, while only being responsible for paying interest. At the conclusion of the draw period, you’ll enter the repayment period, which is when you are then responsible for paying both the principal and interest amounts.

Variable Interest Rates

HELOCs have a variable interest rate, making it difficult to budget accordingly and ensure you can afford your payments. The variable interest rate makes HELOCs a risky option because it’s impossible to predict what the market and economy will look like in the future.

One of the most distinguishing features of a HELOC is that instead of taking out a large sum at once, you convert equity as you need it. This can be advantageous because you won’t pay interest on funds you don’t end up using. 

However, it can also lead to a considerably slippery slope of overspending and accumulating debt.

#3 Cash Out Refinance

The best way to understand a cash out refinance is to think of it as a way to pay off your current home mortgage with a higher one. With this option, the difference in value will go directly in your pocket, and you can use the funds as needed. It’s essentially starting the original mortgage process again, since you’ll be responsible for new interest rates, loan term modifications, and payment schedules.

Lenders determine how much cash you’ll be able to access based on:

  • How much equity you have in your home 
  • Your credit history
  • Bank or mortgage lender standards

Converting equity through a mortgage refinance can be an attractive option since it often comes with better loan term stipulations and interest rates. That said, the fees, approval process, and qualification standards associated with a cash-out refinance put this option out of reach for many homeowners. Just be sure to weigh out the complete pros and cons if you’re choosing between a cash-refinance vs. a home equity loan or other options.

Convert your Home Equity to Cash

#4 Reverse Mortgage

If you’re over the age of 62, you may be eligible for a reverse mortgage. If your net worth is wrapped up in your home equity, but you’d like to have access to extra capital during your retirement, this can be a great option.

What is a reverse mortgage, exactly? A reverse mortgage loan is complex, and the best way to conceptualize how one operates is in the name itself—they’re a mortgage that works backwards. Instead of paying a fixed monthly payment to the mortgage lender, the lender sends you a monthly payment. 

This can be in the form of:

  • A monthly payment 
  • A lump sum
  • Term payments
  • A line of credit
  • A combination of these structures

Since many older homeowners have limited income, the funds from a reverse mortgage loan can help make ends meet and make life more comfortable.

As you age, your debt goes up and your equity goes down, which is why this method of converting equity is designed specifically for older homeowners. If the borrower moves or dies, the proceeds of the sale go towards paying back the reverse mortgage. 

#5 Shared Appreciation Companies

If you’re wondering how to get equity out of your home without taking out a traditional home loan, using a shared appreciation company may work for your circumstances. These companies essentially act as silent partners and purchase a portion of your home. 

They also purchase a portion of its future appreciation, and in return they give you the cash you have as equity in your property. At the end of the loan term, not only do you have to pay back the equity you took out, but you also have to pay for the agreed-upon portion of your home’s appreciation. These agreements are complicated, require you to pay for an appraisal at the end of the term, and are risky because you never know when a housing boom is on the horizon.

You should only use a shared appreciation company if you feel confident you’ll be able to pay back the large sum looming at the end of the repayment term. 

#6 Sale-Leaseback 

If you’re worried about the risks, interest rates, or application requirements inherent in the methods we’ve discussed so far, don’t worry. Another effective option for homeowners who want to convert their equity is a sale-leaseback program. 

How does a sale-leaseback work, exactly? The premise of this home equity loan alternative is as simple as it sounds. It allows you to sell your house, converting your equity to cash without having to take out a home loan or move out. Here at EasyKnock, our sale-leasebacks are tailored to homeowners in all different circumstances.

When you sell your house to EasyKnock, you gain access to its value, while getting to stay in it for as long as you need as a renter. You can convert up to 100% of your home’s equity to cash upfront. Depending on your goals, you can even retain the option to buy back your property when you’re ready. If you decide to move, EasyKnock can help you sell the home on the open market to access any remaining value and appreciation.

Your Home Equity Solution, Simplified 

EasyKnock makes converting your equity into accessible funds easy. 

Our sale-leaseback programs are different from traditional options because they’re flexible, straightforward, and transparent. At EasyKnock, we understand that homeowners are more than their credit score or debt-to-income ratio. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, we’re dedicated to helping every owner find their perfect financial solution. 

If you’re ready to convert your home equity to cash, then we’re here to assist. 

This article is published for educational and informational purposes only. This content is based on research and/or other relevant articles and contains trusted sources, but does not express the concerns of EasyKnock. Our goal at EasyKnock is to provide readers with up-to-date and objective resources on real estate and mortgage-related topics. Our content is written by experienced contributors in the finance and real-estate space and all articles undergo an in-depth review process.

Tom Burchnell
Product Marketing Director

Tom Burchnell, Director of Digital Product Marketing for EasyKnock, holds an MBA & BBA in Marketing from University of Georgia and has 6 years of experience in real estate and finance. In his previous work, he spent time working with one of the largest direct lenders in the SouthEast. 

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