Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as "Credible."

Financial professionals sometimes refer to home equity as “trapped” because it’s wealth you’ve accumulated but can’t spend unless you sell your house. If you have good credit, though, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can free your equity by taking out a new loan secured by your home and use the money however you want. This maneuver — known as a cash-out refinance — isn’t without risk, however, so it’s wise to proceed cautiously.

Here’s what you need to know about cash-out refinances:

What is a cash-out refinance and how does it work?

A cash-out refinance is a new, bigger mortgage that pays off your existing mortgage and gives you the difference to spend or save as you please. By comparison, a rate-and-term refinance replaces your existing mortgage with one that’s roughly the same size and gives you limited or no cash back.

See: Limited Cash-Out vs. No Cash-Out Refinance

Can I get a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home?

Yes, it’s possible to get a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home. It’s still considered a refinance even though you won’t be paying off an existing mortgage.

Reasons to consider a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home

Here are some reasons to consider getting a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home.

Fund home improvements, renovations

Thanks to a cash-out refinance, you could use your home’s equity to fund home improvements.

For example, you could use the cash to build an addition, convert your garage into an apartment, or build a smaller stand-alone dwelling in your backyard.

Then, you could rent out that space for additional income or allow a dependent family member to live there, like an older parent you’re taking care of or a child who just graduated and is looking for the right job to launch their career.

Related: Reasons for a Cash-Out Refinance: How to Use Your Home Equity

Consolidate debt

If you have high-interest debt on credit cards, personal loans, student loans, or auto loans, a cash-out refinance can give you a lump sum to pay off all this debt and start over with a single lower interest payment.

If you’d rather owe money to one mortgage lender (and have a fixed monthly payment and payoff date) than owe money to seven credit card companies (with variable payments and no set payoff date), this option might appeal to you.

Free up money to invest

A cash-out refinance might give you funds to save up for retirement, college or another meaningful expense. Essentially, you’d be using the cash to fund your living expenses so you could put more of your income into a 401(k), IRA, 529 college savings plan or other savings vehicle.

You could also use the cash to invest in stocks through a taxable brokerage account or to purchase a second home or investment property. You’d be using your main home as leverage and trying to earn more through your investments than the interest rate you’re paying on your mortgage.

Learn More: Should You Get a Cash-Out Refinance to Invest?

Pros of a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home

Below are some potential benefits of doing a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home:

  • Low-cost financing to fix up your home: Most homeowners will need to make repairs or will want to make updates or do renovations at some point, but these projects can be expensive and difficult to pay for with savings. That said, some renovations won’t increase a home’s value and only make sense if your main goal is to enjoy your home more.
  • Debt consolidation: If the annual percentage rate (mortgage rate plus closing costs) on your cash-out refinance is lower than the APR on the debt you’re paying off, you could save money, at least in the short run. In the long run, you might pay more interest if you take 30 years to repay your consolidated debt.
  • Potential tax deduction: If you use your cash-out refinance loan to renovate or remodel your home, the interest may be tax deductible. Keep in mind that most people don’t itemize their deductions because the standard deduction is so high, and the value of a tax deduction is low compared to the value of a tax credit.

Cons of a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home

Here are some disadvantages of using a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home:

  • Risk of foreclosure: With a cash-out refinance, or any other mortgage, you could lose your home if you can’t make your monthly payments. By comparison, credit card debt and most personal loans are unsecured. Your house is still an asset that creditors can go after, but that process could take far longer than a mortgage foreclosure.
  • Loss of control: When a lender has an interest in your home, they call the shots about what type of insurance you have to carry and how much. You may also have to use an escrow account and rely on your lender to pay your property taxes and insurance on time.
  • Closing costs: Closing costs on a cash-out refinance typically range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount, or $2,000 to $5,000 for every $100,000 borrowed. Other borrowing options may be less expensive overall if they don’t have these fees, even if the interest rate is slightly higher. You’ll want to compare APRs when evaluating your options.
  • Slow way to get cash: It usually takes several weeks to refinance a home loan because so many parties are involved: loan officers, appraisers, title companies, and so on. Federal law also requires a three-day waiting period, or right of rescission, before the lender can disperse your loan proceeds.

How to apply for a cash-out refinance

If you’re interested in applying for a cash-out refinance, follow these steps:

  1. Set a goal. Know what you want to accomplish with your loan, how much you need to borrow, and what monthly payment amount (dictated by the APR) fits into your budget.
  2. Get quotes from multiple lenders. There’s no way to know how good of a deal you’re getting unless you compare offers from at least three lenders. Credible can help you compare options without hurting your credit score.
  3. Choose a lender and submit a full application. Gather and submit the documents your lender needs to underwrite your loan. These include your two most recent tax returns and bank statements; two most recent paystubs or financial statements for your business; and proof of homeowners insurance.
  4. Get a home appraisal. The appraisal provides an official estimate of your home’s market value that your lender will use to determine how much you can borrow. Your loan may require a full in-person appraisal, or you may be able to order a simpler and less expensive drive-by appraisal or automated valuation.
  5. Review and sign your closing documents. If your application passes underwriting, you’ll need to review all the paperwork to make sure the loan terms are correct and you understand your agreements. You’ll hire a notary to witness your signature on key documents. After the three-day waiting period, your lender will fund your loan and deposit the proceeds in your bank account.
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Other ways to borrow against your paid-off home

A cash-out refinance isn’t the only way to borrow against your home’s equity. Consider these other options.

HELOC

A home equity line of credit might be a better option than a cash-out refinance if you want to borrow smaller sums as you need them and you don’t mind paying a variable interest rate. Many lenders offer HELOCs with no closing costs and only require you to pay interest, not principal, during the draw period. Some offer below-market introductory rates and will let you lock in a fixed rate on some or all of what you borrow.

Home equity loan

A home equity loan will function just like a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home. You’ll borrow a lump sum with a fixed interest rate for up to 30 years. A home equity loan that’s the only loan against your house — what lenders call in “first-lien” position — can have a similar interest rate to a cash-out refinance.

Also, closing costs on a home equity loan may be lower than those on a cash-out refinance. It’s worth getting home equity loan quotes to compare with cash-out refi quotes.

Personal loan

With an unsecured personal loan, you can avoid pledging your home as collateral. You may be able to get an interest rate comparable to a cash-out refinance or home equity loan rate, but you may not be able to borrow as much and the loan term may be shorter. You could pay less interest and close on the loan within days, not weeks.

The personal loan companies in the table below compete for your business through Credible. You can request rates from all of these partner lenders by filling out just one form (instead of one form for each) and without affecting your credit score.

LenderFixed ratesLoan amounts


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
7.99% - 29.99% APR $7,500 to $50,000
  • Fixed APR: 7.99% - 29.99% APR
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $10,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Time to fund: If approved, funds sent within 24-72 hours†
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: No
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except CO, CT, HI, KS, NH, NY, ND, OR, VT, WV, WI, and WY
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. Income: None
  • Loan Uses: Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, travel, medical expenses, and other purposes


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
9.95% - 35.99% APR $2,000 to $35,000**
  • Fixed APR: 9.95% - 35.99% APR
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 550
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $35,000**
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5*
  • Time to fund: As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except CO, IA, HI, VT, NV NY, WV
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Loan servicer: Avant
  • Loan Uses: Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposes
  • Min. Income: $1,200 monthly


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
7.99% - 15.19% APR $10,000 to $50,000
  • Fixed APR: 7.99% - 15.19% APR
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 700
  • Loan amount: $10,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): 3 to 6
  • Time to fund: Next business day
  • Fees: No prepayment penalty
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. Income: Does not disclose
  • Loan Uses: Debt consolidation, home improvement, self-employment, and other purposes


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
8.99% - 35.99% APR $5,000 to $50,000
  • Fixed APR: 8.99% - 35.99% APR
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 600
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Time to fund: As soon as 1 to 3 business days after successful verification
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except DC, IA, VT, and WV
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Loan servicer: Best Egg and Blue Ridge Bank
  • Min. Income: None
  • Loan Uses: Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
6.99% - 24.99% APR $2,500 to $35,000
  • Fixed APR: 6.99% - 24.99% APR
  • Min. credit score: 660
  • Loan amount: $2,500 to $35,000
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Time to fund: As soon as the next business day after acceptance
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility:  Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Loan Uses: Auto repair, credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home remodel or repair, major purchase, medical expenses, taxes, vacation, and wedding


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
7.99% - 29.99% APR $5,000 to $40,000
  • Fixed APR: 7.99% - 29.99% APR
  • Min. credit score: 600
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Time to fund: As soon as 2 to 5 business days after verification
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except MA and NV
  • Customer service: Phone, email, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. Income: None
  • Loan Uses: Debt consolidation and credit card consolidation only


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
8.3% - 35.89% APR $1,000 to $40,000
  • Fixed APR: 8.3% - 35.89% APR
  • Min. credit score: 600
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 5
  • Time to fund: Usually takes about 2 days
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Loan servicer: LendingClub Bank
  • Min. Income: None
  • Loan Uses: Debt consolidation, paying off credit cards, home improvement, pool loans, vacations, and other purposes


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
7.99% - 35.99% APR $2,000 to $36,500
  • Fixed APR: 7.99% - 35.99% APR
  • Min. credit score: 580
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $36,500
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Time to fund: As soon as the next business day
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except NV and WV
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. Income: $20,000
  • Loan Uses: Home improvement, consolidate debt, credit card refinancing, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
5.99% - 23.99% APR $5,000 to $100,000
  • Fixed APR: 5.99% - 23.99% APR
  • Min. credit score: 660
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*
  • Time to fund: As soon as the same business day
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except RI and VT
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: No
  • Loan servicer: LightStream
  • Min. Income: Does not disclose
  • Loan Uses: Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
18.0% - 35.99% APR $1,500 to $20,000
  • Fixed APR: 18.0% - 35.99% APR
  • Min. credit score: None
  • Loan amount: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Time to fund: As soon as 1 to 2 business days after approval
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must have photo I.D. issued by U.S. federal, state or local government
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. Income: Does not disclose


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
7.74% - 17.99% APR $600 to $50,000
(depending on loan term)
  • Fixed APR: 7.74% - 17.99% APR
  • Min. credit score: 660
  • Loan amount: $600 to $50,000*
  • Loan terms (years): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Time to fund: 2 to 4 business days after verification
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: No
  • Min. Income: Does not disclose
  • Loan Uses: Debt consolidation, home improvement, transportation, medical, dental, life events


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
6.99% - 35.99% APR $2,000 to $50,000
  • Fixed APR: 6.99% - 35.99% APR
  • Min. credit score: 640
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Time to fund: As soon as one business day
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except IA, ND, WV
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. Income: None
  • Loan Uses: Debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicles, small business, new baby expenses, and other purposes


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
5.99% - 35.99% APR $3,500 to $40,000
  • Fixed APR: 5.99% - 35.99% APR
  • Min. credit score: 600
  • Loan amount: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Time to fund: 90% funded within a day13
  • Fees: Origination Fee, $15 Late Fee, $25 NSF Fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except CO, CT, ME, NV, NH, TN, VT, WV, WY, and all U.S. Territories
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Loan servicer: Reach Financial
  • Min. Income: $1,000 monthly
  • Loan Uses: Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
7.99% - 23.43% APR10 $5,000 to $100,000
  • Fixed APR: 7.99% - 23.43% APR10
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Time to fund: 3 business days
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except MS
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. Income: Does not disclose
  • Loan Uses: Solely for personal, family, or household uses


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
7.9% - 29.99% $2,000 to $25,000
  • Fixed APR: 7.9% - 29.99% 7.9% - 29.99%
  • Min. credit score: 660
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $25,000
  • Loan terms (years): Does not disclose
  • Time to fund: 1 to 3 business days
  • Fees: Annual fees range from $0-$300
  • Discounts: APR discount available for Tally+ membership
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except NV, VT, and WV
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Loan servicer: Tally
  • Min. Income: Does not disclose
  • Loan Uses: Personal line of credit, debt consolidation


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
11.69% - 35.93% APR7 $1,000 to $20,000
  • Fixed APR: 11.69% - 35.93% APR7
  • Min. credit score: 560
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 5 years 8
  • Time to fund: Within one day, once approved9
  • Loan types: Debt consolidation, pay off credit cards, home improvements, unexpected expenses, home and auto repairs, weddings, and other major purchases
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: A U.S. citizen or permanent resident; not available in DC, SC, WV
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

8.49% - 35.97% APR $1,000 to $50,000
  • Fixed APR: 8.49% - 35.97% APR
  • Min. credit score: 560
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000*
  • Loan terms (years): 2 to 7
  • Time to fund: Within a day of clearing necessary verifications
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except West Virginia
  • Customer service: Email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. Income: Does not disclose
  • Loan Uses: Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
5.4% - 35.99% APR4 $1,000 to $50,0005
  • Fixed APR: 5.4% - 35.99% APR4
  • Min. credit score: 580
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,0005
  • Loan terms (years): 3 to 5 years4
  • Time to fund: As fast as 1 business day6
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. Income: $12,000
  • Loan Uses: Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes
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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | 10SoFi Disclosures | Read more about Rates and Terms

Reverse mortgage

A reverse mortgage might make sense if you are 62 or older and don’t have a source of income to make monthly payments on a home loan or a personal loan. However, these loans can be pricey and difficult to understand, so proceed cautiously and seek out independent financial guidance if you need it.

Is a cash-out refinance on a paid-off home right for me?

Cash-out refinancing can be a good option for many people, but it isn’t the best choice in every situation.

It may be a good option if:

  • You’ve shopped around and determined it’s the least costly way to meet your goals.
  • You’re OK with using your home as collateral.
  • You can wait several weeks to get the money you want.

If may not be a good option if:

  • You’ve shopped around and found a different type of loan that will meet your needs at a lower cost.
  • You like owning your home free and clear and don’t want to use your home as collateral.
  • You need money within days.

Disclaimer: All insurance-related services are offered through Young Alfred.

About the author
Amy Fontinelle
Amy Fontinelle

Amy Fontinelle has been a personal finance writer since 2006. Her work has been published by Forbes Advisor, Capital One, MassMutual, Prudential, Reader’s Digest, The Motley Fool, Investopedia, International Business Times, Business Insider, Bankrate, and other outlets.

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