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As a homeowner, you have monthly mortgage loan payments on your residence

As you make payments and reduce your mortgage balance, you build up equity in your home.

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So, what can you do with home equity, and how you do know how much you have?

What is Home Equity and What Can it Do For You?

First, let’s define home equity.

Simply put, home equity is the difference between the appraised value of your home and amount owed on loans secured by your home.

Over time, as you make mortgage payments and your home’s resale value rises, the amount of equity in your home grows.

It is important to know the amount of equity in your home, because you can use it as a financial tool. You may choose to access the equity you have built to obtain a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, commonly referred to as HELOC, to help pay for your children's college education, fund the addition of a new master bedroom or pay down high-interest credit card debt.

Determining your home equity

It’s relatively easy to get a general sense of how much equity you have in your home.