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HELOC Loans in Gilchrist County, Florida: Learn About the Benefits and How They Work

Gilchrist County is rated top five counties to buy a house in Florida. It's perfect for families, has a vibrant nightlife and excellent public schools. If you're thinking of a nice place to live with all the amenities you and your family will need in sunny Florida, Gilchrist should be at the top of your list.

Because it is a seller's market, expect the property to cost a little more than in other areas in Florida, and the houses fly off the market like hot cake. If you see something you like and want to own, you must move quickly to put finances together and close on the house.

One option you can consider is a HELOC mortgage, which is perfect if you already own another property. You can also use the home equity line of credit for various functions, including renovating your current house. Here's everything you need to know about it.


What is HELOC?

A home equity line of credit or HELOC is a second mortgage that gives you access to funds based on the value of your home. You can draw from a home equity line of credit and repay all of it or some of it monthly. More or less the same way as a credit card.

If you already own your home outright, you can still get a HELOC, in which case it becomes your primary mortgage instead of a second one. One of the reasons why a HELOC mortgage is preferred is because it has collateral and will often get you the best rates.

Some key highlights to keep in mind when considering a HELOC include the following:

  • You have 10 years to withdraw cash from the home equity line of credit while paying back only interest. After which, you have another 20 years to pay back the principal plus the interest.

  • The interest on the loan will change based on market conditions over the life of the credit line.

  • To qualify for the home equity line of credit, lenders require a credit score of over 620 and a debt-to-income ratio of below 40%. You also need to have an equity of at least 15%.

  • HELOC lenders can let you borrow up to 85% of the value of your home. Though the limit usually depends on the lender. Some can let you borrow up to 90%, but the industry standard is about 75%.

How to get a home equity line of credit

Getting a HELOC is similar to purchasing a property or refinancing a mortgage. You'll need to provide some documents and prove that you're worthy of credit. Here is a step-by-step guide to what you need to do:

  • The process begins by determining that you have sufficient equity to get the HELOC—more on this below.

  • Once you know what you can borrow, you can shop around for HELOC lenders to find one with the most favorable terms and can lend the percentage you need.

  • Gather all the necessary documents to apply for a HELOC beforehand to ensure everything goes smoothly.

  • Proceed to apply for the HELOC from your preferred lender.

  • The lender will send you disclosure documents. Take time to go through them. If there are questions, ask the lender and ensure the terms fit your needs.

  • The underwriting process for HELOCs varies depending on the lender, but it's not as long as when you apply for a mortgage. However, it can take a couple of weeks.

  • The final step is closing. After signing, the line of credit becomes available.

Why Get a HELOC Loan in Gilchrist County, Florida

There are many reasons you should consider taking a HELOC in Gilchrist County. Most people use credit to consolidate debt, finance home improvements, or pay some personal expenses.

But there are three main reasons why you should pay attention to a HELOC:


HELOCs and Condos

HELOCs are similar to a second mortgage and work perfectly when used for a condo. One of the benefits of using a HELOC is that lenders aren't authorized to analyze the homeowner's association budget.

That means the lender won't look into the number of funds directed toward reserves. Also, a HELOC only requires a limited review, meaning the underwriter isn't interested in how many units are owner-occupied within the condo complex.

That's a huge advantage because, in a full condo review, this could kill the application if the number of owner-occupied units exceeds the allowable threshold.

Going the HELOC way when you live in a Condo in Gilchrist County can save you most of the bureaucracy and time and increase your chances of getting approved.


Divorce

You don't buy a home thinking about divorce, but should the time come, it might be better to consider taking out a HELOC.

It leaves your primary mortgage intact, and if you're lucky to have a great interest rate on the first mortgage, it will not be affected by the 2nd HELOC, which makes this an excellent way for a divorce settlement payout.

If you don't have the cash to settle the divorce, a HELOC is just what you need. It keeps you from refinancing your home and losing an excellent interest rate. You can also lock in that rate after closing, so you don't worry about fluctuating rates if the market turns.


Home improvements

Home improvements can cost an arm and a leg. You can opt for a renovation loan, but these are based on future value. A HELOC is based on the current value. Also, HELOCs have no closing costs, or the costs are pretty low.

Taking out a HELOC will work the same way as a credit card. The money you draw is what you will pay back. The draw period is up to 10 years. A HELOC is a good option because improving your home increases its value. Even better, the interest you pay on your HELOC may be tax deductible, saving you some serious money.


Model house on a pile of coins


How Does HELOC Work in Gilchrist County, Florida

HELOCs and credit cards have a lot in common. At its most basic, a home equity line of credit works like a credit card. It gives you access to cash based on the value of your home.

You borrow against your equity, which is the home's value minus what you owe on your primary mortgage and other debts. If you own your home outright, you can still apply and get a HELOC, but it will be your first mortgage.

Like a credit card, a HELOC allows you to borrow against your home's equity, repay and repeat. Most HELOCs have adjustable interest rates, which means the interest charged will depend on the fluctuation of the base interest rates. The good news is that because HELOCs are secured, the interest rate is closer to a mortgage rate than credit card rates.

Before you sign off on the HELOC, you should make it a point to see the amount of the markup. Although the interest rates are adjustable, they are specific to applicants based on various factors that lenders have to consider, like an index rate and your credit profile—generally, the higher your credit score, the lower the markup.


How much can you borrow?

The maximum amount you can borrow using a home equity line of credit varies based on the value of your home. It also depends on the percentage of that value the lender will allow you to borrow and how much you still owe on the primary mortgage if you still have one.

You can use two quick calculations to give you an idea of what you might be able to borrow through a HELOC.


The first calculation

Your home's current value x Percentage of value the lender allows you to borrow = maximum amount of equity that could be borrowed.

This first calculation determines the maximum amount of HELOC you can borrow with your selected lender. Keep in mind the percentage you can borrow depends on the lender. Some have higher others have lower percentages.


The second formula

The maximum amount of equity you can borrow – remaining balance on your mortgage = Total amount you can borrow.


For example

If your home or condo is currently worth $300,000, you still owe $200,000 on your first mortgage, and your lender will only allow you to access up to 85% of your home's value; the calculation will work out as follows:

$300,000 x 85% = $255,000 (This is the total you could borrow from your lender).

$255,000 - $200,000 = $55,000 (This is the actual amount you can borrow after removing the mortgage expenses).


How Much Does a HELOC Cost?

As with credit facilities, expect to pay interest on the amount you borrow through the HELOC program. However, the interest rates are often lower because this is a secured loan, and your home acts as the security.

The loan has a variable interest rate, meaning the rates can go up or down over time. The HELOC line will also come with other costs like:

  • Application fees
  • Transaction fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Upfront charges
  • Appraisal fees
  • Title search fees
  • Annual fees
  • Mortgage preparation and filing

The exact costs you pay will vary depending on the lender and the services you choose to use. You should know that most of these fees are determined by the lender. That's why you should take time to find a suitable lender and the specifics before you agree.


How Do You Pay Back a HELOC?

You should be aware of two critical phases and times in a HELOC - the draw period and the repayment period.


The draw period

You can borrow from the credit line by transfer, check, or a credit card linked to the account during this time. During the draw period, you're only obligated to pay the monthly interest-only minimum payments, but you can also pay the principal if you wish. Although the length of the draw period varies, it is often set at 10 years for most lenders.


Repayment period

You can no longer borrow against the credit line during the repayment period. It is time to pay back the loan in monthly installments, including the principal and the interest. The draw period's length also varies but is often 20 years.


HELOC Interest Rates

Actual HELOC rates depend on the lender you choose. The rates are lower and can range between 5.7% and 7.85%. The interest rate is adjustable, meaning it will fluctuate during the loan period. Other factors like your credit score and credit history will also influence the final interest rates you pay on your HELOC application.


5 Places to get Ice Cream in Gilchrist County, Florida

As you seriously consider HELOC loans, you might need a cold treat to manage the hot Gilchrist County weather and give you a clearer perspective. Luckily, plenty of amazing ice cream shops around have just the treat.


Sweet Marya's

Sweet Marya's is the perfect place for every sweet tooth and ice cream lover. It is nestled in the heart of Trenton, offering a wide assortment of ice creams, candy, and soda.

While here, you can choose from an extensive range of ice cream flavors, some common and others more authentic.

Customer favorites include chocolate, homemade vanilla, butter pecan, rainbow sherbert, cherry vanilla, cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, and strawberry.

Whether you're in the mood for a world-renowned flavor like strawberry or want something authentic like rocky road, Sweet Marya's will whip it up.

The best thing about the place is getting other treats like soda to wash everything down and some candy to take back home. There are also some seasonal flavors like banana pudding, black cherry, pecan praline, and peachy peach that you can try out if you're adventurous.

Location - 203 NW 1st St, Trenton, FL 32693, United States


Grace ReStore and GG Ice Cream

Grace ReStore and GG Ice Cream deliver flavor and an intense experience. They don't specialize in ice cream sales but if you're looking for a nice place to enjoy a scoop or two of ice cream as you stroll through the isles, it's the right place for you.

It's a great place to enjoy delicious ice cream as you feast your eyes on a wide array of merchandise at unbelievable prices.

Location - 3249 W Railroad Ln, Bell, FL 32619, United States


McDonald's

Mcdonald's is a great place to go for fast food, and its world-famous ice cream blends. When looking to cool down and experience a sugar rush, this McDonald's joint has a slew of treats you can choose from that will deliver the ultimate experience.

From simple treats like the vanilla cone, you can enjoy on the road and chocolate chip cooking to more advanced flavors, offerings like the McFlurry with Oreo Cookies, McFlurry with M&M candies, and a series of shakes in different flavors are some of the options available.

You can also indulge in selecting hot sundaes like hot fudge sundaes and hot caramel sundaes. While at it, you can treat yourself to baked apple pie to shake off the chills after your ice cream treat.

Location - 209 E Wade St, Trenton, FL 32693, United States


El Taco Regio

El Taco Regio is a Mexican cuisine restaurant, but they have some dessert treats that will blow your mind. The restaurant has excellent staff and an intimate setting that will set the stage for the celebration. Your taste buds are about experience.

If you would like to quiet down the sugar rush, you can give their wide range of spicy foods a try. If you've brought the family, there is a kids' menu, so they're not left out of the fun.

Location - 321 N Main St, Trenton, FL 32693, United States


Burger Spot

Burger Spot is a nice little place to go when you want to get the most bang for your buck. It's a fast food joint, meaning you get a selection of ice cream and other sweet treats to treat yourself. They have some fantastic milkshakes, but these are just the beginning.

You can also try out their assorted range of ice creams that will blow you away. If you work up an appetite, try the onion rings. They are to die for!

Location - 204 W Wade St, Trenton, FL 32693, United States


Get Your HELOC Approval Today!

When looking for a line of credit, a HELOC loan is one of the favorable options, especially if you live in a condo and want something that overlooks the bureaucracies and makes the application and approval process easier and more efficient.

This type of loan comes with numerous benefits, among them lower interest rates, and it is more flexible on what you can do with the money. The HELOC could also be a feasible option if you're staring down a divorce settlement.

But, like every other credit option, you need to carefully way your options to be sure that it is the right move for you. Of course, you need to check if you're eligible and which is the best place to start to get your HELOC approval.

With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.

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