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Saying Hello to a HELOC

Making your biggest investment work for you

Article by Dana Slone

Photography by Rachel Audette, The Turquoise Camera

Originally published in Arvada Lifestyle

Mortgage Broker Cleo Lewis says, “Home ownership is one of the most exciting aspects of our lives.” As CEO of Central Park Mortgage, Lewis knows the value of investing in your home and using that accrued value to continue to invest in your and your family’s future, be it through acquiring a second property or enhancing your current home through a variety of improvement projects. Lewis is no stranger to offering creative ways to help homebuyers and homeowners regardless of credit or economic status.

In 2021, she helped found the Open Hand Initiative, which gives out grants to help first-time buyers pay off credit debt and increase their credit scores, helping qualify them for mortgage loans and other homeownership programs. “I love thinking outside of the box to help our customers obtain financing and ultimately the dream of home ownership. Our team has the same passion,” says Lewis.

With over 20 years’ worth of experience in serving the greater Denver area, including its suburbs such as Arvada, Lewis offers one of the best ways to tap into the investment; your home equity and the ease of her five-day home equity line of credit program, also known as a HELOC.

First, explain what home equity means.

Equity in your home means opportunity. It means you have money sitting in your home that you could make work for you and your family. Usually, you can borrow up to 85% of your home value or sometimes even more. Coloradan homeowners have significant equity in their homes that they can tap into and just don’t know it. 

With that, what does “tapping” into your home equity make available?

You can use the equity in your home as a down payment to purchase another home. You could use it to consolidate bills, you could make needed repairs or updates to your current home. Perhaps start a business, or just have cash for a rainy day. The possibilities are endless. 

Are there any disadvantages?

Once you borrow against your home you will have to pay back that loan just in any other situation. However, if you use your equity the right way you will only see it as an advantageous investment.

How are the HELOC funds accessible? Are there rules?

As long as you have equity in your home and a decent credit score you can take advantage of this very easily. You can use your income and your spouse's income even if only one of you is on the loan. So, if one of your credit scores isn't so great we can use the higher score but still use all income. We are just looking for a 50% Debt-to-income ratio. No appraisal and no underwriting. It is a very simple program. 

How do you begin the process with a client?

I will get your general information and perform a soft credit inquiry. If everything is looking good, we can move forward. The application process takes about 10 minutes or less. 

Does applying for a HELOC hurt a homeowner’s credit score?

No, we will initially perform a soft credit pull. It will have no effect on your credit score at all.

What’s the difference between a HELOC and a home equity loan?

A HELOC is a line of credit. Think of it like a revolving credit card that is secured by your home. It can be in addition to any other loan you have on your home. However, you can use it to pay it off and then reuse it for a number of years. Your payment is based on the amount you have spent out of the credit line. A home equity loan is usually a cash-out refinance of your existing mortgage where you take out one lump sum of cash as closing. Or a closed-end second mortgage. Once you use or take out the lump sum, you start making the payments to pay it off. You are not allowed to pay it back and reuse it again like a line of credit.

What advice would you give a homeowner interested in a HELOC?

Let’s chat! It doesn't hurt to explore your options. This is just one route to go in today’s market. There are many options out there for your situation, but if you don't start the conversation, you will never get the answers you need.  

Visit Central Park Mortgage at centralparkmortgage.coor call 720-SAY-HOME.

  • Cleo Lewis, CEO, Central Park Mortgage.
  • Lewis advises clients on getting the most out of their biggest investment: their home.
  • Lewis advises clients on getting the most out of their biggest investment: their home.
  • Cleo Lewis, CEO, Central Park Mortgage.


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