HELOC for Mortgage Payoff: Smart Move or Risky Business?

Homeowners looking to accelerate their mortgage payoff might consider a home equity line of credit (HELOC) as a strategy. But is this a financially sound decision? Let’s explore the pros and cons to help you decide.

The HELOC Advantage: Potential for Lower Interest Rates

The key attraction of using a HELOC for mortgage payoff lies in the possibility of securing a lower interest rate. HELOC rates can be enticing, especially compared to older mortgages. By replacing your mortgage with a HELOC, you could shorten the payoff timeline and potentially save thousands of dollars in interest.

Beware the Variable Rate Risk

However, unlike traditional mortgages, HELOCs typically come with variable interest rates. This means the rate you enjoy initially can fluctuate, potentially exceeding your original mortgage rate. If interest rates rise significantly, you could end up paying more over time.

Equity Requirements and Borrowing Limits

Qualifying for a HELOC requires sufficient home equity, usually at least 20%. Additionally, lenders may cap the amount you can borrow through a HELOC to a percentage (often 80-90%) of your home’s appraised value. So, depending on your remaining mortgage balance, a HELOC might not be enough to cover it entirely.

HELOC vs. Alternatives: Weighing Your Options

While a HELOC can be a strategic tool, it’s not the only option for mortgage payoff. Consider these alternatives:

  • Cash-Out Refinance: This option replaces your existing mortgage with a new one for a larger amount. You keep the difference in cash, which can be used to pay off the original mortgage.
  • Bi-Weekly Payments: Making bi-weekly payments instead of monthly can effectively add one extra mortgage payment a year, accelerating payoff.


Before using a HELOC to pay off your mortgage, carefully assess your financial situation and risk tolerance. Consider consulting a financial advisor to determine if this strategy aligns with your long-term goals. Remember, a HELOC can be a powerful tool, but it requires careful planning and a solid understanding of the potential risks involved.


What do you think?

Hold Your Horses: 5 US Cities with Shrinking Populations That Might Not Be Ideal for Homebuyers

As Seen on TV Mogul Makes Miami Splash with $100 Million Estate Buy