women holding a home

What is Mortgage Equity?

Equity is your share in an asset if sold for current value. Equity has many definitions depending on the context of how it is used, but there are some important points to know about how equity pertains to the housing market.

Mortgage Equity

When you have a mortgage on a home, equity is the amount you have paid off your loan. Essentially, it is the amount or fraction of the house that you own. This number can fluctuate depending on the market price of your property, but when thinking about a long-term mortgage, it is best to consider overall goals and the future of your investment.

Your mortgage equity begins when you place a down payment on a home. On a $200,000 home loan with a 20% down payment, your equity is $40,000. As you make payments, your investment will grow, but there are other ways equity can fluctuate.

Housing Market Growth

The housing market can fluctuate, causing your equity to change along with it. Continuing the example, your $200,000 home has increased in value by $50,000 in the first few weeks.

This is great because you have a $200,000 loan on a $250,000 house, leaving you with a larger equity. What $40,000 you had paid has increased 25% to $50,000 in equity. You do not have the extra $10,000 going towards your mortgage, but your stake in the overall investment is worth more.

Home Prices Drop

If there is a sudden drop in price of your home, you can lose equity. If the price of your $200,000 home drops to $150,000, then your equity will decrease by 25% to $30,000. You will still be paying towards the $200,000 loan, but you will not be earning equity.

When home prices drops, refinancing loans and re-assessing your mortgage might be the safest choice to get back on track towards gaining equities.

Selling Your Home

If the housing market is stable and your home is the same price month to month, every loan payment will gain you a larger stake.

Say after three years you have paid off $100,000 of your loan and your home is still worth $200,000. If you get a new job in a different city or just want to sell your home, your equity is 50% of the home price. You can sell your home and cash in the equity you have built up over the years.

What’s Important

Overall equity is important because it is how you can track the fairness of your investment. Home prices shift so it is important to be accounting your assets properly. We at American Capital Mortgage Group want you to be happy with your home loan. Give us a call to talk about your future.

broker with young couple advising on mortgage

Tips for Getting the Best Possible Mortgage Rate

Getting the best mortgage rate depends on more than just your credit score.

Different banks offer different incentives for clients who do business with them. All banks will have their advantages and disadvantages. Pay attention to the following factors when hunting for a lower mortgage rate.


1. Know Your Property

Think about how you plan to purpose the property you’ll be buying, the size of the property, and its location. All of these factors help your bank determine the risk they will undertake and, consequently, your interest rate.

Credit unions will only fund properties that are within a certain area of their property. Area is important to them. Places with a higher risk of crime, for instance, increase the risk of property destruction and abandonment, so banks must adjust interest rates to ensure a return on their investment.


2. Build a Positive Credit Score

The higher your credit score is, the lower your mortgage rate is going to be. There is a tier system that credit holders fall into based on credit score that determines the types of rates they are most likely receive.

Top Tier
A score around 740 to 760 or higher will get you the best rates.

Second Tier
Scores between about 620 to 640 are seen as less likely to repay the loan. Loans given to second tier borrowers usually have a higher rate or more restrictions.

The lower your credit score is, the higher your rate will be.

For those with low credit scores of 550 and below, there is the option of FHA (Federal Housing Authority) loans. An FHA loan is insured by the federal government which means the borrower is paying for the insurance on the loan so the lender is protected if the borrower defaults on the loan.

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Let your accounts age

When you finish paying off an account, it will either close on its own, or you’ll have to close it yourself. If you have the option, keep a paid account open and let it age. An account without a balance that has a long history is a strong sign that you are not a risk.

Maintain a $0 balance on lines of credit

Pay off your credit cards and keep them paid off. One of the best ways to show that you are reliable is to have statistical proof that you have, for a long time, used and paid off your lines of credit promptly. Even if you don’t use your lines of credit, keeping them at a $0 balance is also a signal that you are so responsible with money that you don’t often need your credit.

Join a credit class

There are also programs designed to help certain groups of people who have been irresponsible with credit in the past. These groups help prepare credit holders mentally to overcome the challenges of creating budgets, living within their means, and creating reasonable spending habits.


3. Ask Questions

Lenders want your business, so when you’re shopping around for a mortgage, don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions about rates, the loan process, and extra incentives.

Be careful when signing

When you sign for a mortgage, your lender will perform a hard credit check, which will affect your credit score and let other lenders know that you have been shopping for a mortgage.

Ask for your lender’s mortgage rates, but be wary when filling out paperwork. Avoid pre-approval and don’t try to sign with multiple lenders.

Start using these tips as soon as you begin looking for a home. The sooner you begin to plan for your property, improve your credit score, and research mortgage options, the lower the rates will be when it comes time to sign for a mortgage.

bar owner using credit card on tablet

What is a Credit Score?


A credit score is a numerical value that signals to creditors how likely you are to make payments on your line of credit on time and in full.

Your score influences a creditor’s decision to give a loan to you. If you’re approved, your score can also help you get a lower interest rate on your loan. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate.
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