• February 5, 2024
  • Posted by General Electric Credit Union
  • 4 read

HELOC 101: Your Introduction to the Draw Period

The draw period is a critical phase in a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), representing the time during which borrowers can access funds from their credit line. This period typically lasts between 10 to 20 years, allowing homeowners to tap into their home equity for various purposes, such as home improvements, debt consolidation, or other major expenses.

How it works

Once the draw period begins, borrowers can use their line of credit and repay funds as needed, much like a credit card. The interest accrued during this phase is usually based on the outstanding balance. However, it's crucial for homeowners to understand that the draw period is not indefinite, and it’s followed by the repayment period.

How to navigate the draw period

During the draw period, homeowners can employ various strategies to make the most of their HELOC:

  • Strategic planning. Identify the specific expenses or projects that require funding. Whether it's a home renovation, education expenses, or debt consolidation, having a clear plan ensures the funds are used wisely.
  • Budgeting. Establish a budget to manage HELOC funds responsibly. This helps in avoiding unnecessary debt and ensures that the borrowed funds are utilized efficiently. A disciplined approach to spending during the draw period can prevent financial strain later on. Use Money Management to monitor your spending habits and identify areas of improvement. 
  • Regular monitoring. Keep a close eye on the outstanding balance and interest rates. Regular monitoring helps in understanding the financial impact and allows for adjustments to your borrowing strategy if needed.
  • Consider repayment. HELOCs generally allow you to make interest only payments during the draw period. Although principal repayment is not mandatory during the draw period, making periodic principal payments can reduce the overall interest cost. It's a proactive approach that can lead to financial benefits in the long run.

As the draw period transitions into the repayment phase, homeowners should be prepared to start repaying both the principal and interest. Understanding the terms of the HELOC and implementing thoughtful strategies during the draw period can make this financial tool a valuable resource for homeowners.

General Electric Credit Union members can fund home renovations, education, or other personal finance needs for less with a low-rate HELOC.1 Enjoy no application fee, annual fee, or prepayment penalties. Plus, easy account management through Online Banking or our top-rated mobile app.2

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