Unlocking Your Investment’s Potential: Home Equity Loan vs. Refinance

home equity loan vs refinance

As a smart real estate investor, you constantly seek opportunities to grow your portfolio and increase your profits. Tapping into your existing property’s equity can be a powerful strategy to fuel your investment goals. 

You have two main options to access this equity: a home equity loan and a cash-out refinance. Diversify investments across different property types and locations to reduce risks and capitalize on market conditions. 

A skilled mortgage broker can be helpful when you’re exploring your options. They can guide you in choosing the financial strategy that best matches your investment goals and the current market situation.

Let’s explore a home equity loan vs a refinance loan to see which option fits your investment goals best.

Understanding Your Options: Home Equity Loan vs. Cash-Out Refinance

Understanding a home equity loan vs a refinance loan can greatly impact your decision-making process, especially if you aim to secure a conventional loan. Both options allow homeowners to access funds by leveraging the equity in their property, but they do so in fundamentally different ways and have distinct implications for your financial future.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan serves as a second mortgage based on the equity accumulated in your property. This means you’ll have two loans to manage and pay off.

A home equity loan allows you to receive a fixed amount of money based on the value of the equity in your home. This loan is separate from your primary mortgage, having its own interest rate and repayment schedule. Generally, you will need to pay back this loan, along with 5 to 15 years of interest.

These loans are often easier to obtain than cash-out refinances, even if you have a moderate credit score.

Cash-Out Refinance

Replacing your existing mortgage with a new, larger one is the essence of a cash-out refinance. You get the difference in cash, but now you have a new mortgage, often with different terms and rates. This changes your original loan agreement. You’ll have a new interest rate and repayment term based on the refinanced loan.

Essentially, you’re refinancing your existing mortgage at a potentially lower rate while extracting additional capital. However, the qualification process can be more stringent, and you may face higher closing costs.

FeatureHome Equity LoanCash-Out Refinance
Loan TypeSecond MortgageNew Primary Mortgage
DisbursementFixed Lump SumCash Based on Equity Increase
Repayment TermFixed (5-15 years)Fixed (15-30 years)
Interest RateMaybe higher than the firstPotentially lower than the current
Impact on Monthly PaymentCreates a new monthly paymentMay increase or decrease

Home Equity Loan vs Refinance: Factors to Consider

Home equity loan

Real estate investment is a strategic game, and the optimal approach depends on your specific goals and circumstances. 

Selecting a cash-out refinance vs a home equity loan requires careful consideration of your investment goals and financial situation.

Here are key factors to weigh when deciding between a home equity loan and a cash-out refinance:

Loan Purpose

Are you seeking a fixed sum for a specific investment project, like renovations or a down payment on another property? A home equity loan might be ideal. On the other hand, if you desire more flexibility in accessing cash over time, a cash-out refinance could be a better fit.

Interest Rates

Generally, cash-out refinances offer lower interest rates than home equity loans because they are considered first mortgages. 

This could result in considerable savings throughout the loan. If you’re already enjoying a low interest rate on your existing mortgage, a cash-out refinance might disrupt your favorable terms. 

A home equity loan might be a better option to avoid higher interest payments.

Loan Amounts

Cash-out refinances typically allow you to access a larger sum of cash than home equity loans, depending on your property’s equity and the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) limits set by your lender. This can be crucial for larger investments.

Loan Terms

Home equity loans often come with fixed interest rates and repayment terms, offering predictability in monthly payments. Cash-out refinances can be structured with fixed or adjustable rates, impacting long-term financial planning.

Impact on Existing Mortgage

A cash-out refinance replaces your current mortgage, potentially extending the loan term and restarting the amortization process. A home equity loan maintains your existing mortgage terms, but adds another monthly payment.

Financial Flexibility

Cash-out refinances can lower your monthly payments by extending the loan term. However, this also extends the overall interest paid. Home equity loans provide a fixed monthly payment schedule, offering more predictability in your budget.


Both options involve closing costs associated with loan origination and appraisal. Cash-out refinances often incur higher closing costs compared to home equity loans. This is due to the more comprehensive nature of the transaction, which includes completely re-evaluating the mortgage terms and reassessing the home’s value.  It’s important to weigh these costs against the benefits of getting extra cash through mortgage refinancing.

Credit Score

While both options require good credit, home equity loans might be more accessible for borrowers with slightly lower credit scores than cash-out refinances. 

This difference in credit score requirements is primarily due to the nature of the lending risk associated with each financing option.

The Power of Professional Guidance

Navigating the intricacies of home equity loans and cash-out refinances can be complex, especially for busy real estate investors. 

A US mortgage broker with expertise in investment property financing can be an invaluable partner in this process. They can:

  • Help you evaluate your financial status and investment objectives.
  • Analyze your current mortgage terms and property equity.
  • Compare various loan options and identify the most advantageous interest rates and terms for your situation.
  • Help you throughout the application process and make sure you fulfill all essential criteria.
  • Simplify the closing process to guarantee a seamless transaction.

Talk to The Mortgage Shop About Home Loans and Refinancing

The team of mortgage professionals at The Mortgage Shop will explain the key differences between a home equity loan and refinancing and how they will apply to your situation. Schedule a call with one of our mortgage consultants.

Brenna Carles

Brenna Carles

I help people who want a place to call their home, where memories can be made, and stories to be shared. Where i can help clients build generational wealth for years to come. I provide the perfect combination of southern hospitality and relentless knowledge and passion for mortgage lending as if you were family.