Back in the days of rapidly rising home values and easy credit, some homeowners used their home equity like an ATM, using the value built up in their home to pay for a nicer car or to take a vacation. Mortgage lenders were often willing to approve home loans for bad credit borrowers as much as 100 percent or more of their home's value, but once the housing crisis hit, lenders changed in several ways: Today, lenders require better credit profiles from homeowners, complete documentation of income and assets, and are typically willing to loan only up to a maximum of 90 percent combined loan-to-value for a first and second mortgage.

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The good news is that home values are rising and homeowners therefore have more home equity than in previous years. However, bad credit loans are still not widely available. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, a composite of 20 major U.S. cities, home prices increased 12.1 percent from April 2012 to April 2013.

Sufficient home equity is one piece of a home equity loan approval. The other piece is your financial profile. Find out if you qualify for a poor credit mortgage by completing the form on this page.

Home equity loan benefits

Homeowners can choose between a home equity loan, which has a fixed loan amount, or a home equity line of credit, which can be accessed over time like a credit card account. Some of the reasons to consider borrowing against your equity include:

1.Consolidate high-interest credit card debt. If you have credit card debt, a home equity loan is likely to have a lower interest rate so you can pay if off more quickly.

2.Add to your emergency fund. If you're draining your savings to fix debt problems, you can take out a home equity line of credit that can function as your emergency fund while you rebuild your savings.

3.Make home improvements. If your home is in disrepair but you have sufficient equity, you can use a home equity loan to make improvements and deduct the interest on the loan from your taxes.

Be aware that defaulting on home equity loans will result in your losing your home; so before you decide to apply, make sure you can afford the payments on the loan.

Complete the form on this page to see if a home equity loan is an option for you.