If you've watched any amount of daytime TV, especially on minority channels, you can't fail to have seen some of the many adverts extolling the virtues of taking out a loan secured on your home. These adverts all seem to follow similar themes - a busy family situation with smiling children but a somewhat saddened parent pondering on their financial troubles, with the suggestion that taking out a loan will free you from your financial worries and lead to a brighter, happier life. The implication of these promotional messages is that taking out a secured loan is a beneficial part of everyday life, and one which you'd hardly need to think twice about pursuing. In actual fact, a secured or homeowner loan represents a very significant financial decision with ramifications far into your future, and at least one loan company has recently been censured by the financial regulators for not sufficiently emphasizing the gravity associated with such a financial commitment. Of course, there are times in life when we really do need a helping hand, especially when existing debts are becoming unmanageable or we're faced with an essential but unaffordable expense. In these kinds of situation, a secured loan can work out well if properly researched and planned for.
However, many people are tempted by the prospect of having some extra cash available to buy luxuries or improve their homes, and take out a loan when they don't really need one, or take out a larger loan than is necessary to fix their financial problems. This is a very bad idea, as the whole point behind a secured loan is that you're using your house to guarantee that the debt will be covered. If you get into difficulties somewhere down the line you run the very real risk of losing your home.
You may also be tied to your loan for a long period of time, with repayment terms of up to 25 years not uncommon. The amount of interest you'll pay over that period can be considerable, and if you work out the figures you can easily find that you're paying well over the odds in the long term for a short term luxury. Not that this means that you should never take out a secured loan, but it will stand you in good stead to properly consider whether the serious commitment of a secured loan is the most suitable course of action to take, or whether an unsecured method of finance such as a smaller personal loan or an cheap rate credit card might be a more sensible option. After all, if you do have money worries at some point in the future, the last thing you'll need is the additional stress of facing the prospect of losing your home.
Michael writes for Loan Vision, where you can compare secured loans as well as unsecured and tenant loans.