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How to use your home equity to buy an investment property

If you have enough equity in your home, you may be able to use it to buy an investment property and even to build a property portfolio. We show you how.

What is equity and how does it work?

Your equity in your home is how much of it you actually own. For instance, if your home is worth $750,000 and you owe $350,000 on your home loan, your equity is $400,000.

You may be able to use some of this amount – although probably not all of it – to fund the purchase of another property.

How much equity do you need?

Lenders are typically happy to lend up to 20% of a home’s value without lenders mortgage insurance (LMI). So, your usable equity is the total equity you own minus the 20% of the value of your home.

For instance, in the same scenario your usable equity would be:

$400,000 – (20% x $750,000) = $400,000 – $150,000 = $250,000

That means, in this scenario, you may be able to borrow as much as $250,000 to buy an investment property. Depending on your lender, by taking out LMI you could potentially borrow even more.

How much can I borrow using the equity in my home?

Just like when you bought your first home, a lender will most likely lend you up to 80% of your investment property’s value with a home loan – although, again, they may lend you more with LMI.

That means once you’ve worked out the usable equity in your home, you can get a rough estimate of what you can afford to buy simply by multiplying your usable equity by four. So, in this same scenario, you’d be able to spend 4 x $250,000 or $1,000,000, with a 20% deposit of $250,000.

Just make sure when you’re doing the maths on what you can afford to buy that you factor in the cost of stamp duty, legal fees and other upfront costs.

Using equity to build a property portfolio

If you take out a principal and interest home loan, you will soon start building equity in your investment property, just as you are in your home. Your equity will also rise if the value of your properties goes up. This means you’ll have more usable equity that you can draw on to purchase another investment property.

Over time, as you keep using this approach and adding properties to your portfolio, it will have a compounding effect. Each time the market rises, your property wealth and your usable equity rise even more. Conversely, each time the market falls, your losses will be greater too.

Should I use my current home loan to purchase an investment property?

One of the biggest benefits of buying an investment property is often the opportunity to offset the interest and other expenses you pay against your income. If you use your existing home loan to fund your investment property you may not be able to do this.

For this reason, you should always speak to a financial adviser or other finance professional before you use this strategy to buy an investment property.

Want to know more? Home Loans helps you to search, find and finance all in one place. With hundreds of options from all the lenders you know, you could save time and money on your home loan. We’re here to help you online, on the  or meet one of our brokers at a time and place that suits.

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, REA recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. REA recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.


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