How To Use Home Equity To Build Wealth By Investing In Real Estate

how to use home equity to build wealth

Strategic Tips On How To Use The Equity In Your Home To Build Wealth

How to use the equity in your home to build wealth is an extremely smart tactic you should be considering. This is an excellent strategy to create generational wealth for your family as well as to combat inflation.

For Canadian homeowners, the equity in their homes can be a valuable financial resource. How to access it and also how to use the equity in your home to build wealth is important however. Given that your home equity represents the portion of your property’s value that you own outright, beyond what you owe on your mortgage, this is something you should make the most of.

Leveraging your home equity can provide opportunities for investments, whether it’s for renovations, debt consolidation, education, or investing in real estate. It should NOT be used to accumulate consumer debt.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various methods Canadian homeowners can use to access and use the equity in their home to build wealth by investing in real estate. This is commonly known as the “Smith Manoeuvre“, a strategy that allows you to write off the interest on your home if you’re using it to create income.

Understanding What Home Equity Is Before Figuring Out How To Use It

Before delving into the ways to access home equity, it’s essential to understand how home equity is calculated. Home equity is the difference between your property’s market value and the outstanding balance on your mortgage. For example, if your home is valued at $500,000, and you still owe $300,000 on your mortgage, your home equity is $200,000.

How To Use The Equity In Your Home: Methods To Access It Effectively

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A Home Equity Line of Credit, or HELOC, is a popular way for Canadian homeowners to access their home equity. It functions like a revolving credit line that you can borrow against as needed. Here’s how it works:

  • You apply for a HELOC with your mortgage lender or a different financial institution.
  • If approved, you are given a credit limit based on a percentage of your home’s appraised value and your creditworthiness.
  • You can draw funds from the HELOC as needed, up to your credit limit.
  • Interest is charged only on the amount borrowed, and you can make interest-only payments or pay down the principal as you choose.
  • HELOCs typically have variable interest rates, which means your payments can fluctuate with market rates.

HELOCs offer flexibility, making them suitable for various investments, such as home improvements or education expenses. However, borrowers must exercise discipline to avoid overextending themselves financially.

Ideally, if you’re using your HELOC, it should be income earning debt, not consumer debt from going shopping or on a trip. I can’t stress this enough! And, whatever you invest in should have a significantly higher return than your cost of borrowing so to minimize your risk and ensure you’re not overleveraged.

Home Equity Loan (Second Mortgage)

A home equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, allows homeowners to borrow a lump sum of money using their home as collateral. The key features include:

  • You apply for a home equity loan through a lender, and if approved, you receive a lump sum.
  • The interest rate is typically higher than that of your primary mortgage but lower than unsecured loans or credit cards.
  • You make regular payments, including both principal and interest, over a predetermined term.

Home equity loans are suitable for one-time expenses, such as a major home renovation or debt consolidation. They provide a fixed amount of funds, making it easier to budget for repayments.

Cash-Out Refinancing

Cash-out refinancing involves replacing your existing mortgage with a new one that’s larger than your current loan. The difference between the new mortgage amount and your existing mortgage is received as cash. Here’s how it works:

  • You work with your current lender or a new one to refinance your mortgage.
  • The new mortgage amount includes your existing mortgage balance plus the additional funds you want to access.
  • You receive the difference between the two mortgages as a lump sum.

Cash-out refinancing can be advantageous if mortgage rates are lower than your current rate or if you want to consolidate high-interest debts. However, it may result in higher monthly mortgage payments, so careful consideration is necessary.

Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage is an option primarily designed for Canadian homeowners aged 55 or older. It allows them to access a portion of their home equity while continuing to live in their homes. Key features include:

  • You can apply for a reverse mortgage through specialized lenders.
  • The amount you can borrow depends on your age, home value, and location.
  • You do not make regular mortgage payments, but interest accrues on the borrowed amount.
  • The loan is repaid when you sell your home, move out, or pass away.

Reverse mortgages can provide financial relief for retirees or seniors looking to supplement their income. However, interest accumulates over time, potentially reducing the inheritance for your heirs.

Factors to Consider When Accessing Home Equity for Investment

Before accessing your home equity for investment purposes, consider the following factors:

Your Financial Goals: Clearly define your investment objectives and how leveraging home equity aligns with those goals.

Interest Rates: Understand the current interest rates and how they will impact your borrowing costs. Variable rates may increase over time.

Costs and Fees: Be aware of any fees associated with the chosen method, such as appraisal fees, closing costs, or lender fees.

Loan Terms: Review the terms and conditions of your loan or credit line, including interest rates, payment schedules, and any prepayment penalties.

Risk Tolerance: Assess your risk tolerance and the potential consequences if your investments do not perform as expected.

Alternative Financing: Explore other financing options, such as personal loans, lines of credit, or investment loans, to compare costs and terms.

Using Home Equity Wisely for Investment

While accessing home equity can provide a financial boost, it’s essential to use these funds wisely for investment purposes. Here are some tips to make the most of your home equity.

Diversify Your Investments: Avoid putting all your borrowed funds into a single investment. Diversifying your investments can help spread risk and potentially increase returns.

Invest in Income-Generating Assets: Consider investments that have the potential to generate income, such as dividend-paying stocks, rental properties, or bonds. This income can help offset borrowing costs.

Create a Solid Investment Plan: Develop a well-thought-out investment plan that aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Consult with a financial advisor if necessary.

Regularly Monitor and Review: Stay vigilant about your investments, track their performance, and make adjustments as needed to optimize returns.

Maintain an Emergency Fund: Keep a financial safety net in place to cover unexpected expenses or setbacks, ensuring you can meet your financial obligations.

Pay Down High-Interest Debt: If you have high-interest debts, consider using a portion of your home equity to pay them off. This can free up more of your income for investments.

How to use your home equity to build wealth can be a valuable financial strategy for Canadian homeowners. Whether you choose a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), a home equity loan, cash-out refinancing, or a reverse mortgage, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate your options, consider your financial goals, and understand the associated costs and risks.

As a REALTOR®, one of the things that’s surprised me most is working with seller’s who have significantly higher mortgages now than they did when they bought their homes – and they have nothing to show for it. They were negligent with their spending and leveraged their homes over and over to refinance their debt into it. This is definitely the wrong way to use the equity in your home, and it won’t help you grow your wealth in any way.

But! If you are using the equity in your home to build wealth and make wise/informed investment decisions, you can leverage your home’s value to achieve your financial objectives and enhance your overall financial well-being. Of course, it’s advisable to consult with a financial advisor or mortgage specialist to assess your specific circumstances and determine the most suitable method for accessing your home equity for investment.

Do you want to buy, sell, or invest? Let’s chat! I support Durham Region and east Toronto and would love to help you! I can be reached at 647.896.6584, by email at or by filling out this simple contact form.

For plenty of other great real estate tips, make sure we’re connected on social @serenaholmesrealtor and you’ve subscribed to my YouTube Channel.


serena holmes


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