When you're paying a mortgage, you own a certain percentage of your home, while the bank owes the other percentage. The amount that you own is your equity. You need to know this amount when applying for a home equity loan or when you're thinking about selling your home and buying another. The equity in your home is tied to the market value of the home, so it may fluctuate over time. Still, you are able to easily estimate the equity you have.
Assess the market value of your home. If you need concrete numbers, you'll have to hire a professional appraiser. If you only want an estimate for personal use, you can get get an estimate from a website like Zillow.com, which calculates it based on current data of comparable homes selling in your area.
Check your mortgage statement to see how much you still owe on the loan. This should be the amount of principal you have left, not including any interest payments.
Subtract the amount of money that you still owe on your mortgage from the estimated value of your home. This value is your equity.
- You can increase equity in your home by making larger payments toward the principal balance or by increasing your home's value.
- Your equity is closely tied to market conditions. If there is a sudden shift in your area's housing market, you may experience a sharp increase or decrease in your equity.
Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.