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

A home equity line of credit, aka HELOC, is a loan that uses your home as collateral. You can use a HELOC to finance the upfront costs of purchasing a home, such as the down payment and private mortgage insurance. Alternatively, suppose you already own a home. In that case, you can use a HELOC to access the equity you have in it for funds for renovations, medical expenses, debt consolidation, etc.

However, as with other borrowing options, all HELOC borrowers must fulfill specific criteria to qualify. These encompass having a solid credit history and a respectable level of equity in one's property.

If you're curious, here are the guidelines and the application process for a HELOC in Levy County, Florida.

How does a HELOC work?

A HELOC loan works like a credit card because you can draw from it repeatedly and pay it back later. But there are a few differences between a credit card and a HELOC. Notably, a HELOC uses the equity in your home as collateral.

While guidelines may vary, a HELOC typically allows homeowners to access up to 80 percent of their home's equity for immediate cash. Of course, the loan size depends on the difference between the present market value of your property and the outstanding mortgage balance. Depending on the creditor, the repayment terms can last up to 30 years.

Remember that, unlike credit cards, all HELOCs come with draw and repayment periods. You can take out funds from your HELOC during the draw period, which typically lasts between 5 and 15 years, and are only required to make interest-only payments.

Afterward, you won't be allowed to draw from your HELOC. Instead, you will be required to make principal plus interest payments over a period that usually lasts between 10 and 20 years.

Additionally, your HELOC may have upfront costs, including processing fees, service fees, and penalties for early closure or cancellation. But compared to unsecured credit solutions, you'll pay less for a comparable loan size. Nevertheless, you should try and find out about the associated costs beforehand. Request a breakdown from your lender.

That said, HELOC loans usually have lower interest rates than credit cards and other 2nd mortgage options. Additionally, you can deduct the interest from your taxes.

Borrowers can typically withdraw funds from their HELOCs via checks, online transfers, or credit cards.

Requirements for HELOC

While HELOC guidelines vary with lenders, they usually include the following requirements:

Substantial home equity

Equity is the amount that remains after subtracting the outstanding balance of all loans secured by the home from its overall market value. It's often expressed as a percentage of the home's overall market value. Most lenders require HELOC applicants to have between 10% and 20% home equity.

However, the maximum amount you can borrow from a HELOC depends on your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, which is calculated by dividing the outstanding mortgage on your property by its current market value.


While LTV is the outstanding mortgage divided by the home's current market value, CLTV is the outstanding sum of all loans secured by the home divided by its current worth.

You'll have to be fortunate to find a lender who will tolerate high CLTV because most set a ceiling at 85%.

Good credit

Undoubtedly, your credit history matters when it comes to HELOC application assessment.

Borrowers with poor credit are charged greater interest rates than those with good credit to compensate for the high risk of default. HELOC lenders usually require FICO scores of 620-660.

Adequate income

Your income determines whether you can repay your HELOC. As a result, you will need to provide documents that detail your earnings over the last couple of months. These include:

  • Pay stubs
  • W-2 documents
  • Federal tax returns
  • 1099 paperwork
  • Letters confirming social security benefits, retirement awards, etc.

A good track record of repaying debt

Because a HELOC is essentially an additional mortgage, lenders want to ensure that you have a solid history of debt repayment before approving your loan request.


A low DTI is preferable. Ordinarily, lenders can determine if you can take on more debt by evaluating your monthly income vis-à-vis total monthly debt.

Most lenders approve borrowers with DTIs in the 43-50% range, but a lower figure is more advantageous.

HELOC 75-15 for Florida condos

Condo purchases are popular among those moving to Florida. Most of these folks have previously been pre-approved for mortgages in their previous states. However, Florida does not use the same criteria as other states when evaluating traditional condo loans.

Indeed, conventional condo loan transactions in Florida may have to go through a full, limited, or PERS examination depending on the type of property and the amount of financing on the first and second mortgages.

A Breakdown of the Requirements for a Limited Review in Florida:

  • Primary residence - 75% maximum LTV on the first mortgage and 90% combined LTV on the first and second mortgages.

  • Second Home - 70% max LTV on the first mortgage and a combined LTV of 75% on the first and second mortgages.

  • Investment Property - 70% max LTV on the first mortgage and 75% combined LTV on the 1st & 2nd mortgage.

The following are the benefits of a limited condo review:

  • Lenders are not permitted to scrutinize the association's spending (including the percentage of reserves).

  • Lenders won't demand fidelity bond coverage documentation while reviewing condo insurance.

  • The lender is unconcerned about the ratio of investors to owner-occupied properties.

  • The condo application form is quick and straightforward.

When buying a condo in Florida, obtaining up to 10% HELOC funding allows you to limit the LTV on your primary mortgage to 75%, qualify for a limited review, and avoid a high-interest rate or the necessity for private mortgage insurance.

Wooden cube block puzzle with home

The Advantages of a HELOC

HELOC loans are advantageous in several ways. Here's the breakdown:

Lower interest rates

HELOCs are adjustable-rate loans. But although the rates may change over time, they usually stay lower than unsecured borrowing options. As of August 2022, the average interest rate on a $300,000 HELOC is 6.5%, while the rate on a comparable personal loan is 8.73%.

Meanwhile, the average annual percentage rate (APR) for a comparable credit card loan is 15.13 percent. Among other things, your credit score will impact the interest rate on your loan.

Rate locks

Some HELOC lenders might allow you to lock down the interest rate, so you're not exposed to changing rates once you've racked up a considerable debt capacity.

Even though this option often entails extra upfront costs, including a higher initial interest rate, it guarantees borrowers more security, especially when rates are skyrocketing.

That said, always research and weigh multiple lenders' total loan costs (upfront fees + interest rates) before selecting one, then pick the best offer.

You only pay interest on the borrowed sum

In HELOCs, interest is only charged on the amount you utilize. Many home equity financing solutions require you to take out and pay interest on the entire loan amount regardless of whether you need it all or not.

On the other hand, a HELOC is a free credit solution that only charges interest on the amount used.

For projects whose overall cost is uncertain, HELOCs can be advantageous. Your HELOC allows you to take out cash whenever you need it and repay it later.

You can use the loan however you like

You are free to spend HELOC funds however you see fit. You do it for home improvements, debt consolidation, medical expenses, etc.

Some advantages of using a HELOC for a remodel include the following:

  • Lower upfront costs
  • Tax-deductible interest
  • Less strict
  • Improves home value

Promotional offers

To encourage customers to use HELOCs, most lenders provide time-limited promotional offers. These include rate locks; reduced interest rates; fee waivers, etc. Taking advantage of such offers is okay, but keep the total cost of the loan (fees + interest rate) in mind.

Larger loan amount

Compared to traditional lines of credit, HELOC loans are usually bigger. Your HELOC loan size will depend on your income, credit profile, home equity, and LTV.

Great for divorcees

In the event of a divorce, it can be challenging to figure out how to pay your ex for their equity stake in the marital home. If you opt to sell the home, pay your ex-spouse and then buy a new property, you could end up with a pricey mortgage, depending on the current interest rates.

The same holds for refinancing; you don't want to do it when prevailing mortgage rates are high. On the other hand, a home equity line of credit works fine. You can access up to 80 % of your equity stake in the marital home for cash to settle the divorce expenses.

The advantages of a HELOC for divorcees include the following:

  • It leaves the first mortgage intact.

  • It helps avoid a sale and related costs such as agent commissions.

  • Lower interest rates than unsecured borrowing options.

HELOC versus Cash-Out Refinancing

Another option for using your property to generate quick cash is to do a refinance. It entails getting a new mortgage in place of the old one. You might be able to profit from the deal, depending on how big the new loan is compared to the outstanding balance from the previous mortgage. The profit is yours to use however you like.

Refinancing has certain advantages over a HELOC. Generally, refinancing is smart when prevailing mortgage rates are lower than what you are paying.

That said, refinancing always comes with substantial closing costs compared to a HELOC, which usually has lower up-front expenses. Moreover, if your equity stake in the property drops below 20% after a refinance, you'll be required to get private mortgage insurance.

How to apply for a HELOC in Levy County, Florida

Start by comparing offers from multiple lenders. Do not fall for worthless promotional offers. That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider them; keep the overall loan cost (interest + upfront costs) in mind.

Prepare your documents, then submit your applications. Some lenders may require a visit to the local branch, but most have systems for online applications.

Get your house appraised. Lenders must conduct an appraisal to determine the current worth of your home. Be ready to pay for it yourself.

If the credit provider approves your loan request, you'll receive details about the loan size and interest rate.

Get ready to close the deal. You'll be allowed up to 3 working days to accept or reject the loan. If you accept the loan, you will be given a contract to sign. The closing costs will be subtracted from the loan amount.

How long does the HELOC application process take?

A HELOC application and approval typically take 2 to 4 weeks. However, depending on the lending institution and the intricacy of your application, the process can take even longer.

About Levy County, Florida

Levy County, situated along the Florida coast, was created in 1845 following the end of the Seminole Wars and named after former plantation owner turned politician David Levy Yulee. The expansion of the Florida Railway line through Cedar Key resulted in a rise in the county's population. The county has roughly 41,000 residents.

The county comprises six cities, two municipalities, and several unincorporated towns. It's known for its beautiful gulf scenery, seafood, and annual cultural events and is typically described as calm, tranquil, and quaint. Despite these labels, there is rarely a lack of things to do.

The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge and the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge are located here. Both are nationally protected wildlife reserves and attract many tourists for animal sightings, photography, canoeing, and fishing.

Some animals found in the refuges include deer, manatees, sturgeon, eagles, and turkeys. Additionally, there is the Cedar Key State Museum, which boasts a beautiful nature trail and a sizable collection of Indian relics and shells.

Data from shows that the county is cheaper than the entire state regarding the cost of living. The hourly rate required to maintain oneself and one's family is $14.55 for one adult and $28.94 for one adult and a child.

The median price of a home is $154,600, while the state's average price is $294,900.

Some of the best ice cream places in the country are:

  • Frozen In Time Gourmet Ice Cream - This isn't your average ice cream parlor. With classic flavors and one-of-a-kind tastes, it attracts both old-fashioned and daring ice cream enthusiasts. The Cookie Monster, vanilla pudding, or chocolate brownie are all excellent choices.

  • Flamingo Freeze - Flamingo Freeze, well-known for its expansive menu, is rarely short of hungry patrons eager to satiate their sweet cravings. The staff is friendly. Ice cream tastes great and has excellent toppings. There's even Italian ice. Try the peppermint flavor with a mint chocolate chip scoop.

  • La Rue's Ice Cream Parlour - This ice cream parlor is, without a doubt, the most sophisticated in Dunnellon. Every tasty ice cream flavor is available in large scoops with various toppings. It's all served fast and with a smile on top!

  • Florida Creamery - This shop, which can be found at 23629 Highway 27, High Springs, Florida 32643, is well-known for its delicious ice cream and classic delicacies, including Oreo milkshakes, Coke floats, and sundaes. Even non-dairy snacks are available for lactose-intolerant people.

  • Lynn's Ice Cream & Belgian Waffles - A family-run business, this ice cream parlor offers a fusion of American and Belgian flavors. Combine your scoop with a fluffy, sweet Belgian waffle for a genuine diner-style experience.

Is getting a HELOC a wise decision?

Not sure if a HELOC makes sense? There are various scenarios in which a HELOC might be advantageous.

For example, if you want to buy a house but don't have enough money for a down payment, you can piggyback on your primary mortgage using a HELOC, supplement the down payment, and close the purchase faster. Additionally, it will broaden your options, enabling you to look at bigger homes or even those in upscale communities.

Conversely, if you already own a home, a HELOC allows you to use the equity for immediate cash for expenses such as debt consolidation, home improvements, medical bills, etc.

However, remember that a HELOC isn't your only way to use your home's equity for immediate cash. Depending on your income, credit history, local property prices, and prevailing mortgage rates, you may find other financing options advantageous.

Please speak with a respected local lender about your situation so that they might do the math and help you make the best decision.

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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