You need to “buy out” the equity of a spouse or co-owner.

You have credit card debt that just doesn’t seem to go away and you need it to. This could be a very good or a very bad idea and should only be considered if you have the discipline to leave the credit cards alone after paying them off.  The last thing you want to do is to use your home equity to pay off debt and then max out your cards again.

Not so obvious:

You want to use your home equity for the down payment or purchase of a second home or investment property. (Given the recent decline in home values this is a great time to do it)

You can’t seem to come up with the money you need to start saving for retirement or for a child’s college fund.  A refinance with cash out can get you the funds you need to get things going in a big way.

You recently inherited a home and you would like to use the equity to buy another home, invest for retirement, a child’s education, renovate the property, etc.

You took out a 15 year loan a while back, but in your current financial situation you need the lower payments of a 30 year fixed rate.

You can’t seem to bring yourself to pay ANY additional principal at all, you have debts to consolidate and you would like to pay your loan off quicker – this is when you want to consider a 20 year fixed.

All of the above require that you have a decent chunk of equity, so if you have the equity you owe it to yourself to take a good hard look at your financial goals to see if it makes sense to consider a “cash out” refinance in spite of the fact that you have a low rate.   Now is the time since the current rates are not going to be around forever.

Mercedes M Pasqualetti is a General Manager with HLM Financial Group and can be reached at

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