The housing market's revival has opened opportunities for buyers and sellers. Those who plan to stay put can cash in, too, as rising home prices provide more home equity and more options. For one, rising equity can open the door for refinancing your mortgage to cut monthly payments and total interest. Generally, refinancing makes sense if you can trim 0.75 percentage point from your current rate, minimize your out-of-pocket closings costs, and cut payments by a meaningful amount. Another idea is to tap your home equity for, say, home improvements. Keep an eye out for a revival of some perks in home equity lending, such as low introductory interest rates. As you shop, check with a range of local lenders, including banks and credit unions with which you have relationships.
Courtesy of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Adviser newsletter – August 2013