Our goal at Arsenal is to put you in more control of your financial life. Almost all employees are also members who use our products and services on a daily basis.

Staff who work in the marketing department (that’s me) have situations where they need to borrow money for various reasons. One of the most convenient and affordable ways to borrow, if you own a home, is with a home equity line of credit.

If you’ve ever considered applying for a home equity loan or line of credit, the sections below are first-hand experiences of what goes into the application process, appraisal, your credit score and what happens after you receive your funds.

This blog post and the situations described are unique to me. Your need for a home equity loan and your application experience will likely vary. Rest assured that when you apply, you’re going to work with a staff member who is highly educated in the home equity process and will be there to answer any questions you have.

I needed a new basement

My need for a home equity loan came up when my basement randomly decided to flood. After paying companies to remove the damage, clean and fix the pipes under my home, my basement was left unfinished and unusable.

Part of my job in the marketing department is to promote the fact that a home equity loan is a great way to make repairs or remodel your home. So I decided to take myself up on my own offer.

To start applying for my home equity loan, I reached out to our lending department. If you’re interested in applying, just complete our quick online form and a representative will contact you (almost always within an hour or two).

From there, you’ll need to fill out a packet with your personal information, tax returns, mortgage statements and other info. Don’t worry if it seems like a lot, our staff will help you through every step.

Contact a home equity specialist

I didn’t know my home was worth so much

After applying for my home equity loan, the next step of the process was to get an appraisal. Arsenal did all of the work scheduling for the appraisal company to come out to my house. After about 15-20 minutes, the appraiser finished his job. A couple of days later I found out that the value of my home increased by about $80k since I bought it in 2021!

With home values so high right now, the available equity you can borrow on will likely be quite high. Arsenal has a unique product where you can borrow up to 100 percent of your built-up equity. Even if you don’t have a major home project to take care of or need to consolidate debt, you can still have an open home equity line of credit as a safety net.

One of the really nice things about choosing Arsenal for a home equity loan is that appraisals are free. In fact, all closing costs (like title search, flood certification and recording fees) are free if you keep your loan open at the credit union for at least 12 months.

I can borrow on my line of credit as needs pop up

Home equity loans come in two types. They both have a lot more similarities than differences, but both products are pretty unique.

  • Home equity loan: You borrow a lump sum of money with a set interest rate. Your monthly payment stays the same throughout the life of the loan.
  • Home equity line of credit: You receive a line of credit that you can access at your convenience. The interest rate is variable and your monthly payment changes based on how much you have borrowed.

For my situation, a home equity line of credit was the best choice. The first thing I wanted to do was pay off a few credit cards (more about that later). Then, our contractor requested part of his payment for a commitment, then payment at the beginning and end of the project. With a line of credit, I was able to pay him when he requested it with a pack of special checks that Arsenal provided me that linked directly to my loan.

These were the main purchases for my loan, but I also needed to buy one-off things like furniture and appliances for my new basement. With online + mobile banking, I was easily able to transfer money to my checking account whenever I needed to make a purchase.

My credit cards got paid off

The first rule about being a homeowner is that something will break down or need to be replaced at the worst possible time. Before applying for my home equity loan, my air conditioner broke and I had debt on a credit card for basement plumbing repairs. I got both of these credit cards through the companies that provided the services, and both of them had some pretty high interest rates.

Every month I was paying so much on these credit cards that it was hard to budget for anything else. When I opened my home equity line of credit, Arsenal paid off my loans and consolidated them. Now I’m paying less interest and only have a single monthly payment to remember. Arsenal even took care of mailing the payments into the credit card companies.

If you are struggling with high-interest credit card debt, I highly recommend consolidating it with a home equity loan. If you don’t own a home, you still have the option of consolidating your high-interest debt to a lower-rate personal loan or credit card.

See your debt consolidation options

And my credit score went way up

Inside of Arsenal’s online + mobile banking there’s a tool called Savvy Money that lets you check your updated credit score every day. After my high-interest credit cards got consolidated into my home equity line of credit, my credit score went up by over 77 points!

Part of the reason for this dramatic credit score increase is because the ratio of available credit to the amount I have borrowed went way down. If you choose to consolidate your debt with a home equity loan (or any other type of loan) your credit score could also go up.

A home equity line of credit was the perfect way for me to remodel my basement and pay off some high-interest credit cards. Is it the right type of loan for your situation? Maybe. There’s only one way to find out.

Contact us today to see if it’s the correct type of loan for you, or start a live chat right now to talk to an Arsenal representative.

Contact a home equity specialist

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