What’s a HELOC? A great option for home winterization and other improvements

By John Platt, Bryant Bank Vice President
NMLS ID 779562

My first home was an older house not built with modern-day insulation standards. As winter approached, I used a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to insulate the walls and to purchase and install windows that were better insulated as well. The result was a much-reduced heating bill throughout the winter. 

This option of taking out a line of credit that is secured by the equity in your home is a great choice for home improvements and repairs all year long, but it can be an especially great solution when it comes to winterizing your home. 

Why use a HELOC for home winterization?

Keeping your house warmer maybe your first goal, but another great thing about winterizing your home and paying for it with a home equity loan is that the energy savings will essentially pay for the improvements. Oftentimes, these types of renovations can help increase the market value of your home as well, which is another big benefit. 

Some solutions may be more inexpensive or fall into the DIY category, such as weather stripping and caulking. However, other tasks such as replacing windows or buying a new furnace are probably beyond the skill set of most homeowners, and often beyond savings account balances as well.

This is when a HELOC may be the best answer.  

It’s important to note that there are significant differences between home equity loans and HELOCs. With most home equity loans, your funds are delivered in one lump sum, and you have a fixed interest rate and repayment plan for a specific period of time. 

With a HELOC, you have a revolving line of credit, similar to a credit card. You pull from it as needed, up to a specified amount. HELOCs also come with variable interest rates. You pay only on what you draw, but the rate may increase or decrease. Many HELOCs come with specified draw periods that are followed by repayment periods.

How to Decide If a HELOC is Right for Your Home?

If you think there might be work to do when it comes to winterizing your home, start by asking some questions and making a list. Are there areas of your home you know are drafty? Have you been thinking windows or insulation needs to be replaced? Don’t put these concerns off any longer, but look into what local resources may be available to help you make these decisions. 

Many utility companies offer free energy audits and DIY improvement tips, which could be a great place to start. There may be some small winterization tasks you can tackle yourself, but when you have large, labor-intensive, expensive projects that need to be done, you are probably going to need some help. 

If you are interested in obtaining a HELOC for repairs and renovation, contact one of our bankers at Bryant Bank. You won’t do this by dialing a 1-800 number that goes to a call center. You will make a local call and talk to local people. We are proud to do business in the communities we serve, and our Bryant Bank bankers will be able to assist you with the HELOC process from start to finish to get your home ready for the changing seasons. 

Our Bankers in Alabama Would Love to Work With You! 

At Bryant Bank, family is at that heart of what matters most.  And for us, Alabama is that family. Our vision is to see Alabamians experience a financially stable future and live in a thriving community.  To accomplish this, Bryant Bankers put care into action each day to help others invest in their full potential. We are proud to offer Personal, Business, and Mortgage Banking services.  Click here to locate your closest Bryant Bank to open an account with us today.