As a homeowner, you’ve invested time and money into your house. Now, you may wonder how you can get more out of your home. A home equity loan is a great way to pay for home renovations, an emergency bill, or something else entirely without draining your savings account!
But how long does it take to get a home equity loan? What’s the approval process and how can you prepare? We’ll go over the average time it takes to get a home equity loan including some insights into what could slow down the process.
Understanding Home Equity Loans
With a home equity loan, you use the equity you’ve built up in your home over time as collateral for borrowing money. Equity refers to the portion of your home that you own after making mortgage payments.
With a home equity loan, you get all the money you’re borrowing up front and then pay it back over time. If you qualify, you can borrow around 80-85% of your home’s appraised value in total loans. Most home equity loans have fixed interest rates and amortized monthly payments. This means you’ll pay the same amount each month over the life of the loan, which keeps budgeting simple.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Home Equity Loan?
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer to how long the home equity loan process takes. Each financial situation is unique and lenders’ requirements are different—so the timeline will vary.
Generally, you can expect the process to take 2 to 6 weeks from application to closing. Most closings happen within a month, but keep in mind the timeline is flexible because a variety of outside factors influence the process.
Set the timeline expectation from the beginning by understanding more of the approval process we outline below.
It’s best to speak directly with our team here at Greater Texas Credit Union for more specific details about our application process. The outline below goes over some of the basic steps most lenders generally follow.
1. Check Your Qualifications
You need to meet a few requirements before qualifying for a home equity loan. The most common qualifications include:
- Having at least 20% equity in your home
- A low debt-to-income ratio (keeping it under 50% is ideal, with 43% being a lender preference)
- Stable employment history
- A strong credit score and repayment history
2. Collect Supporting Documents
The sooner you collect and submit your documents, the faster you’ll go through the underwriting process. We’ll want to see paperwork like your credit report, current pay stubs, and bank statements as proof of your income and employment history.
A mortgage underwriter will analyze your credit history, income, assets, and your home’s value to help decide the approval of your home equity loan.
Bonus tip: Gather the documents you had collected for your mortgage application and update them. These will most likely be the same things you’ll need to submit for your home equity loan approval.
3. Know Your Appraisal Timeline
As a lender, we will need to know what your home is worth. To figure that out, your home will be appraised by a professional appraiser who will look over the home to determine its value and consider the sale price of comparable homes (known as “comps”) in the area.
With today’s advanced technology, many lenders will use the Automated Value Model or AVM. An AVM gives an instant value of your home through computer-generated metrics. Having an AVM can expedite the application process if it’s available. If not, expect to add 1 to 3 weeks for a full appraisal report to be created.
Elements That Can Impact Timelines
There are several elements of the process that can either speed up or slow down the home equity loan timeline. Many closing dates get pushed back to allow for more time to review documents, finish the appraisal, and more.
By taking the time to understand these factors, you can mitigate the risk of delays and speed up the process so you can access your funds sooner. While some may be out of your control, below are a few likely culprits behind delayed approval timelines.
Verifying your submitted paperwork usually takes the most extended amount of time. Underwriters are thorough and will perform a detailed review of all financial and property information. As we mentioned previously, your personal financial history such as your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and current property debt will hold the most weight in a decision.
If you’re worried you won’t meet qualification requirements with a lender checking these items, prepare to provide any relevant supplemental information you have to speed up the process!
Insufficient Application and Paperwork
You may need to submit a copy of your property tax bill, homeowners insurance policy, and current mortgage statement. Not having these documents readily available may lead to delays in processing your application. At Greater Texas Credit Union, we’ll provide you with a list of specific requirements so you can prepare ahead of time!
Finally, you’ll meet with a notary and your lender to sign and deliver all final documents. If your state requires a lawyer to be present for this, scheduling around a lawyer’s availability may delay the process.
Also, be prepared to plan for closing costs. The costs, which usually include your application fee, appraisal fee, and credit report fee, can range from 2% – 5% of the total amount you’re borrowing.
Get Approved With Greater Texas Credit Union!
A better understanding of how long it takes to get a home equity loan sets you up for success in the process. When shopping for a home equity loan, compare your options by knowing what best benefits your current finances.
The biggest fee with home equity loans is interest. Here at Greater Texas Credit Union, we offer low-interest rates and fees to ensure you’re getting the most competitive loan terms. Because of this, our home equity loans tend to be the most affordable option.
Click below to learn more about our home equity loans and apply today!