What Can You Do with Your Home Equity?


When you own a property, your home equity is the difference between the current market value of your home and the outstanding balance on your mortgage. There are two main financial tools for accessing these funds. Home equity loans allow you to borrow a fixed amount at a fixed rate. Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) allow you to open up credit against your home equity to use if and when you need it. Both options have rates that can be lower than most credit card rates, making them a popular choice for debt consolidation.


Local First Fed homeowners were invited to share their stories in a contest about how they used their home equity funds. Read their winning stories which represent a wide variety of possible uses.


Rainy Day Fund... Literally

“It was a dark and stormy night. We were settled indoors, warm and dry and comfortable in front of the television, when we heard a terrifying noise. Plop! Plop! Splat! A dark spot began to grow in the carpet right in front of us, and we knew... the roof had sprung a leak.

“This could have been a horror story, but we had a hero on our side: the First Fed Home Equity Line of Credit we had opened but never used. With that HELOC we could take quick and fearless action to get a new roof installed right away. The storms never bother us anymore.”

Richard Q. from Sequim

Photo courtesy of Richard Q.
Photo courtesy of Richard Q.

Medical or Dental Expenses

“I was in dire need of dental work, so I used my home equity funds to get much needed teeth pulled, as well as bottom denture implants. Now I’m finally out of pain! I also used some funds for a kitchen renovation to bring it up to date.”

Tanna M. from Port Angeles

Photo courtesy of Tanna M.
Photo courtesy of Tanna M.

Home Renovation

“In 1990 we landed in an old farmhouse on a couple of acres in the Pacific Northwest. Enough to keep us busy and a home that lovingly flexed through all the stages of a growing family. More than 30 years of hopes and dreams recently came to fruition thanks to being able to reinvest equity into the home. Having such convenient access to funds when and as we needed them was amazing. Of course, one project always leads to another. The stress of living in the midst of what grew into a rather large remodel was eased by the financial flexibility.

“The main bathroom was transformed into an ADA accessible space with tiled floors and a zero-rise shower entry. A wide hallway to the bath and bedroom created a large first floor master suite. Previously dropped ceilings were removed exposing cross beams that supported the untouched fir from the floors above. The dining room, office and stairwell walls were removed, and new energy efficient French doors and windows were put in place. A failed HVAC system was replaced with mini splits, bringing comfort to a very old house. A wide deck was added around the side and back of the house, creating entertainment space to enjoy with family and loved ones.

“A recent health crisis placed my husband in a wheelchair for several months. Our remodel priorities focused on "age in place" features that we are now blessed to appreciate much sooner than we could have anticipated. Life truly is what happens when you are making other plans.”

Colleen H. from Bremerton

Photos courtesy of Colleen H.
Photos courtesy of Colleen H.

Vacation Home

“We purchased a piece of land in Hansville about 5 years ago. We realized we had some equity in our personal residence to get a HELOC. We used the HELOC to build a vacation home using HiLine homes as the initial builder. This was a much easier process than a construction loan!”

Jamie T. from Hansville

Photos courtesy of Jamie T.
Photos courtesy of Jamie T.

Financial Tool

“We were staring down the barrel! We had sold our home on Bainbridge Island and purchased another home in Gig Harbor with a healthy down payment and plenty of equity. Problem was, we had a balloon payment coming due on some commercial property we owned and needed the LOC to complete the commercial property payoff. If the balloon wasn't paid off, we would sustain serious penalties, possible foreclosure, etc.

“We reached out to First Fed and met Kimbril Moore at the Bainbridge Branch. Within thirty minutes he had set us up with both a new Home Equity LOC account and sufficient funding to meet our needs and then some. Thank you, First Fed, for coming to our rescue and being our future banking partner.”

Lee J. from Gig Harbor

Photos courtesy of Lee J.
Photos courtesy of Lee J.

Other Uses for Your Home Equity


These customer stories represent just some of the uses for home equity. Other popular uses include debt consolidation, education, and even starting a new business. With responsible planning and prudent decision-making, home equity can be a valuable tool on the path to financial well-being.


What might your home equity do for you? Learn more and apply online for a home equity loan or line of credit.


First Fed is a Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.