Does a Heloc Require Me to Live in My House?

Does a Heloc Require Me to Live in My House

Homeownership comes with a myriad of financial opportunities, one of which is the Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A HELOC allows homeowners to tap into the equity they’ve built up in their homes, providing a flexible and convenient way to access funds for various purposes. However, a common question that arises is whether a HELOC requires you to live in your house. Let’s delve into this query to better understand the nuances of HELOCs and residency requirements.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) requirements for Residency

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) requirements for Residency

In general, HELOCs do not mandate that you live in your house full-time. However, residency requirements may vary depending on the lender and their specific terms and conditions. Some lenders might have stipulations about the property being your primary residence, while others may be more lenient.

Primary Residence vs. Secondary Residence:

Most lenders are primarily concerned with the property being your primary residence when approving a HELOC. If you primarily live in the home for most of the year, it is typically considered your primary residence. However, some lenders may allow a HELOC on a secondary residence, such as a vacation home, but the terms and conditions may differ.

Key Points: Can I get a HELOC on a property I don’t live in?

Getting a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) on a property you don’t live in is possible, but it may be subject to certain conditions and restrictions.

Here are key points to consider:

Property Type

Property Type

Lenders may have restrictions on the type of property eligible for a HELOC. While some institutions may allow HELOCs on non-owner-occupied properties such as rental homes or vacation properties, others may limit it to primary residences.

Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio

Lenders typically assess the Loan-to-Value ratio, which is the ratio of the loan amount to the appraised value of the property. The LTV ratio influences the amount you can borrow. For non-owner-occupied properties, lenders may have stricter LTV limits.

Residency Requirements

Some lenders may require the property owner to be a resident of Canada. Non-residents or those living abroad may face additional scrutiny or restrictions.


Your credit history, income, and overall financial situation will be important factors in the approval process. Lenders will assess your ability to repay the HELOC.


Expect to provide documentation proving ownership of the property, as well as information on the property’s value. Additional documentation may include proof of income, credit history, and other financial details.

Purpose of the HELOC

Purpose of the HELOC

Lenders may inquire about the purpose of the HELOC. While some may have specific restrictions on using the funds for certain purposes, others may provide more flexibility.

Interest Rates and Terms

Interest rates and terms for a HELOC on a non-owner-occupied property may differ from those for a primary residence. Be sure to understand the terms, including interest rates, repayment terms, and any associated fees.

There may be legal and regulatory considerations that vary by province or territory. It’s important to be aware of and comply with local laws and regulations.

How Home Equity Works?

Home equity is the difference between the current market value of your home & the outstanding balance on your mortgage. For example, if your home is worth $300,000, and you owe $200,000 on your mortgage, you have $100,000 in equity.

Lenders typically look at factors like credit score, income, and the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) to determine eligibility. Homeowners apply for a HELOC through a bank, credit union or private lenders, much like a mortgage or any other loan. The amount of equity you have in your home influences the credit limit.

How Home Equity Works

Lenders often allow you to borrow a certain percentage (e.g., 80-90%) of your home’s appraised value minus the outstanding mortgage balance. Once approved, you can access funds up to your approved credit limit whenever needed. Lenders provide various methods to access funds, such as checks, credit cards, or online transfers.

HELOCs often have variable interest rates tied to a benchmark like the prime rate. This means your rate  of interest can fluctuate based on market conditions. Given the complexity of financial instruments like HELOCs, it’s advisable to consult with financial professionals to ensure it aligns with your financial goals.


In conclusion, a HELOC typically does not require you to live in your house full-time. However, residency requirements may vary among lenders. It’s essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of different lenders to determine their specific criteria. Factors such as the loan-to-value ratio, creditworthiness, debt-to-income ratio, and property value will significantly influence your eligibility for a HELOC. Always consult with financial professionals to ensure you make informed decisions that align with your unique circumstances and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions on HELOC

1. Can I get a HELOC if I rent out my home?

Yes, in most cases, you can still qualify for a HELOC if you rent out your home. The key consideration is the equity in your property.

2. Are there any restrictions on using HELOC funds for non-residential properties?

HELOC funds can be used for various purposes, including home renovation, education, or debt consolidation. However, it’s essential to check with your lender regarding specific usage restrictions.

3. How is the interest on a HELOC calculated?

HELOCs often have variable interest rates. The interest is typically calculated based on the outstanding balance during the draw period. It’s crucial to understand the terms and conditions of your specific HELOC agreement.

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