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Understanding Mortgage Equity Take Out
 June 2 2024     Posted by Guriqbal Chahal, MBA, PMP

Understanding Mortgage Equity Take Out

Mortgage equity take out (METO) is a financial strategy that has gained significant traction among Canadian homeowners. Essentially, it involves borrowing against the equity built up in a home. Equity, in this context, refers to the difference between the current market value of the property and the remaining balance on the mortgage. This method allows homeowners to access a portion of this accumulated value in the form of a loan, which can then be used for various purposes.

How Mortgage Equity Take Out Works

In Canada, homeowners can access the equity in their homes through several mechanisms, including refinancing their existing mortgage, obtaining a home equity line of credit (HELOC), or taking out a second mortgage. Here’s a closer look at each option:

  1. Mortgage Refinancing:

    • This involves breaking the existing mortgage and arranging a new one with a higher principal amount. The difference between the new mortgage and the old mortgage balance is provided to the homeowner as a lump sum.
    • Typically, refinancing allows homeowners to borrow up to 80% of the home’s appraised value, minus the remaining mortgage balance.
  2. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC):

    • A HELOC works like a credit card, providing a revolving line of credit based on the equity in the home. Homeowners can borrow, repay, and borrow again as needed.
    • HELOCs also generally allow borrowing up to 65% of the home's value, combined with the balance of any existing mortgage not exceeding 80%.
  3. Second Mortgage:

    • This is an additional loan taken out on a property that is already mortgaged. The second mortgage is subordinate to the first, meaning in case of default, the first mortgage is paid off before the second.
    • It allows homeowners to borrow against their equity but often comes with higher interest rates due to the increased risk to lenders.

Uses of Mortgage Equity Take Out

Homeowners opt for METO for various reasons, including:

  1. Debt Consolidation:

    • High-interest debts, such as credit card balances or personal loans, can be consolidated into a lower-interest mortgage loan, reducing overall monthly payments and interest costs.
  2. Home Renovations:

    • Investing in home improvements can increase the property’s value and improve living conditions. Many homeowners use METO funds to finance renovations.
  3. Investment Opportunities:

    • Some homeowners use the funds to invest in other real estate properties, stocks, or other investment vehicles, aiming to generate additional income.
  4. Education Expenses:

    • The equity can be tapped to pay for education expenses for the homeowner or their children, providing a cost-effective way to finance higher education.

Advantages and Risks


  • Lower Interest Rates: Mortgage loans typically have lower interest rates compared to credit cards and personal loans, making METO an attractive option for financing large expenses.
  • Access to Large Sums: It allows homeowners to access significant amounts of money, depending on their home’s value and the equity built up.
  • Flexibility: Especially with HELOCs, homeowners can borrow as much or as little as needed, up to their credit limit.


  • Increased Debt: Borrowing against home equity increases the overall debt load, which can be risky if the homeowner’s financial situation changes.
  • Foreclosure Risk: If the homeowner is unable to make the loan payments, they risk foreclosure, which could result in losing their home.
  • Interest Rate Fluctuations: For HELOCs, which often have variable interest rates, monthly payments can increase if interest rates rise.

Eligibility and Considerations

To be eligible for a METO, lenders typically require:

  • Good Credit History: Lenders look for a strong credit score and history of on-time payments.
  • Stable Income: Proof of stable and sufficient income to cover the new loan payments.
  • Sufficient Equity: Adequate equity in the home to cover the loan amount, usually up to 80% of the home's appraised value.

Homeowners should carefully consider their financial situation and future plans before opting for a METO. Consulting with financial advisors and understanding all terms and conditions is crucial to making an informed decision.


Mortgage equity take out in Canada offers a viable solution for homeowners looking to access the value tied up in their property. While it provides opportunities for financial flexibility and consolidation, it also comes with inherent risks. As with any significant financial decision, thorough consideration and professional advice are key to leveraging home equity effectively and responsibly.

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