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Mortgage & HELOC Solutions to Put Your Home Equity to Work

For many individuals and families, your home is one of your biggest assets. As your home value grows (or even if it remains the same) and you begin to pay off your mortgage, you may have an opportunity to leverage the value that you have in your home to make major home repairs, invest additional funds, or for other reasons.

At First Western Trust, we can help you refinance your loan to help you access your equity, or we also offer Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) to help you put your home equity to work.

What is a Home Equity Line of Credit?

In a HELOC, First Western Trust underwrites a loan for you where we agree to provide you with a maximum amount of money within an agreed-upon period of time. HELOCs are similar to a second mortgage because the collateral is your home’s equity (meaning the value of your home minus the value of your mortgage).

How We Partner with You

Our First Western Trust lending team sits down with each client to learn about your goals for your HELOC and understand what you want to accomplish with the loan, whether that is a major home renovation project, investing your equity, or something else.

We then assess your current financial situation and make recommendations based on your needs and goals. We will also provide advice for alternative solutions to a home equity line of credit if we feel that you can better achieve your goals with a different type of loan or financial tool.

Our Tips for Securing a HELOC

  • Pay attention to introductory rates – It is a common practice for banks to offer low introductory home equity line of credit rates. However, to avoid any unfortunate surprises, you need to pay attention to how long this term will last as well as what changes after the introductory rate goes away.
  • Ask about the mark-up – HELOCs are typically based on the prime rate, but in most cases, there is also a mark-up above this rate, which is based on the bank’s lending practices and expectations. While many lenders will state that HELOCs are based off of a prime rate, be sure to follow up to understand specifically what that mark-up looks like.
  • Understand the minimum draw – Some families want a HELOC as a “just in case” practice. If that is your primary reason for wanting such a loan, or if you don’t expect to draw on the loan often, be sure to understand any minimum amounts that your lender will require you to draw as well as any fees for inactivity on your HELOC. Also, if you’re thinking about this as a “just in case” loan, talk to your financial advisor as there may be alternatives to HELOCs that are better fits for your financial needs.
  • Find out if there is a prepayment penalty – Some lenders do charge a fee if you pay off the HELOC sooner than expected, so be sure to find out how much that will be.
  • Compare your options – There are a lot of different elements to consider on a HELOC between introductory rates, standard rates, mark-ups, margins, and minimum payments. Leverage your advisors to help you compare these different items and see which ones would be best given your particular financial needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can get equity out of your home through our HELOC products, connect with our First Western Trust lending team by filling out the email below, or visit our private banking website at and reach out to one of our local lenders.