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How refinancing, HELOCs, can be source of emergency cash

The house you own is more than a place to live. It can also serve as a source of cash.

When financial emergencies arise, getting access to cash can serve as a temporary lifeline. But if your savings are low and you don’t want to run up debt on high-interest credit cards, tapping the equity in your home is an option to consider.

If your home is worth more than you owe on your mortgage, you have positive equity in your home. After eight straight years of median price gains for single-family homes, there’s a good chance you’re one of the 45 million borrowers with equity in their homes at the end of 2019, according to Black Knight, a real estate data analytics company. The average equity held by those mortgage holders is $119,000. Overall, there’s $6.2 billion in so-called “tappable” equity, according to Black Knight.

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Using your home as a piggy bank to pay for non-essential purchases is ill-advised, of course. But tapping the equity in your home via a home equity line of credit (HELOC), for example, during an emergency is a more responsible personal finance strategy.

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