8 HELOC FAQs: How To Use a HELOC as an Investor


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The HELOC FAQs we hear most often from real estate investors.

Over our 20+ years in the business, we’ve helped many investors get correctly set up with HELOCs.

Leverage is your best friend in real estate, and a home equity line of credit can be some of the quickest, most flexible money available.

Let’s go over the 8 most frequently asked questions we get about HELOCs.

HELOC FAQs #1: What Is a HELOC?

A HELOC is like a big line of credit based on the equity you have in a piece of real estate. You can think like a big credit card on a property.

If a property you own is worth more than the amount you owe on it, then you could be eligible for a HELOC. You can use this line of credit for anything you want.

This line of credit is typically in second position. It works similarly to a credit card in the sense that you can use it and pay it off over and over.

HELOC FAQs #2: What’s the Draw Period on a HELOC?

The draw period is the timeframe the credit union or bank allows you to use the line of credit. They typically offer a 5 or 10-year draw period. Within that period of time, you can borrow money and pay it back over and over.

Once the draw period ends, you can’t use the HELOC anymore – you just have to pay it off. It stops being a line of credit and now acts like a fixed mortgage you have to either:

  • Pay off over time.
  • Refinance into a new HELOC with a new draw period.

HELOC FAQs #3: Can I Only Have a HELOC on the House I Live In?

You can do a HELOC on your owner-occupied residence, but you can also do one on your rental properties.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • A HELOC doesn’t work on a flip – but it does on a completed rental property.
  • The loan-to-value on a rental HELOC will be less than one on your own home.
  • Some investors have 5-10 HELOCs on different properties. It’s a common strategy.

HELOC FAQs #4: Where Do You Get a HELOC?

If you’re an investor, the number one place to look for a HELOC is credit unions. Next, is national banks. Those are the two best resources for HELOCs.

HELOC FAQs #5: What Should I Look For When Shopping for a HELOC?

The main thing you should look for in a HELOC is loan-to-value (LTV).

As an investor, you don’t need to worry much about rate – what you borrow will be paid off with your projects. Plus, a HELOC interest rate will be lower than most other forms of leverage available to you.

You also don’t need to be too concerned with the draw period. You can refinance your HELOC at any time.

Your main concern should always be maximizing the amount you can get. When shopping around, ask about LTVs.

HELOC FAQs #6: Are HELOCs Risky?

Are they dangerous? Is there a big risk in taking out a HELOC? The answer is yes and no.

It’s the same as any other line of credit. If you use it wrong (for personal use, living life, etc.), the debt accumulates with no way to pay it off. This becomes a burden not only for your credit but also for your home.

However, used correctly, HELOCs are a low-risk, high-value tool. Use them for a real estate project, then pay them off right after your project sells or refinances.

HELOC FAQ #7: Can I Do a HELOC on a Free and Clear Property?

Yes, you can take out a HELOC on a property you own free and clear.

A HELOC comes in first or second position (sometimes third, from some banks). So if you own your home, or a rental property, with nothing owed, then the HELOC will come in first position.

HELOC FAQ #8: What Can I Use a HELOC for in Investing?

You could use a HELOC for almost anything in real estate investing:

  • Down payment
  • Closing costs
  • Carry costs
  • Rehab/construction expenses
  • An entire property, if the line of credit is large enough.

A HELOC is some of the easiest, fastest, most flexible money you can get. Your greatest limitation is the LTV of the HELOC.

Get a Line of Credit for Real Estate Investors

Want a personalized list of the best HELOCs for you?

We’ve reached out to hundreds of credit unions and banks to find the best, highest-LTV HELOCs on the market.

Reach out to us at Info@TheCashFlowCompany.com to get this report.

You can also download this free checklist of questions to ask lenders to get the best deal on a HELOC.