Best HELOC and Home Equity Loan Lenders in New Jersey
Best HELOC and Home Equity Loan Lenders in New Jersey

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The Jersey shore. Atlantic City casinos. Liberty State Park. New Jersey has some fantastic attractions, and with its proximity to New York and Philadelphia, it’s a popular state for working professionals. 

The typical home value in New Jersey is $467,384 as of June 2022 — 15.1% higher than this time last year, according to Zillow. With higher home values, more homeowners can take advantage of home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) to fund home improvement projects, pay for college tuition, or consolidate debt.

But, with great home equity comes great responsibility. While home equity loans and HELOCs are a better alternative to high-interest debt like credit cards and personal loans in many situations, at the end of the day, they’re still forms of debt that can bring serious financial consequences if you can’t repay them. Before taking out any loan secured by your home’s equity, make sure you only borrow what you need and you have a plan to pay it back. 

If you’re ready to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit in the Garden State, be sure to shop around. Comparing offers from multiple lenders in the state will allow you to get the lowest possible rate and save money on your loan. These are NextAdvisor’s picks for the top home equity loan and HELOC lenders in New Jersey. 

Best National HELOC and Home Equity Loan Lenders in New Jersey 

Editorial Independence

As with all of our home equity loan and home equity line of credit (HELOC) lender reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships. For more information about our scoring methodology, click here.

Good for wide nationwide availability

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank

Editor’s Score: (4.4/5)

Good for wide nationwide availability

U.S. Bank

Editor’s Score: (4.4/5)

  • Products offered:

    Home equity loan, HELOC, rate-lock HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    Up to 30 years

  • HELOC terms:

    10-year draw period, unspecified repayment period

  • Maximum LTV allowed:

    80%

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Rate discount for setting up autopay from a U.S. Bank checking or savings account (home equity loans only)
  • Extensive availability nationwide (47 states for both home equity loans and HELOCs)
  • Can apply online, over the phone, or in person at a branch
  • Good price transparency
  • Many customer support options

Cons

  • There may be an annual fee for HELOCs if you don’t have a U.S. Bank Platinum Checking Package
  • Not available in TX, DE, SC
  • Potential early closure fee if you close your HELOC within 30 months of opening

The Bottom Line

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. Bank is the fifth largest banking institution in the U.S. It offers both home equity loans and HELOCs in 47 states, with the option of interest-only HELOCs  available to qualified borrowers. You also have the option to lock all or part of your outstanding HELOC balance into a fix-rate option during your draw period. Available loan amounts for HELOCs and home equity loans range from $15,000 to $750,000, and up to $1 million for properties in California.

There are no closing costs on home equity loans or HELOCs from U.S. Bank, but you’ll be charged an early closure fee of 1% of the line amount ($500 max) if you close your HELOC within 30 months of opening. In addition, HELOC borrowers may be charged an annual fee of up to $90, which can be waived with a U.S. Bank Platinum Checking Package. U.S. Bank offers a rate discount of 0.5% for home equity loan borrowers who set up automatic payments from a U.S. Bank personal checking or savings account.

You can apply for a home equity loan or HELOC through an online application, by phone, or by visiting a U.S. Bank branch in person. If you want a loan estimate for a home equity loan — which includes the estimated interest rate, monthly payment, and total closing costs — without completing a full application, you can get one by speaking with a banker over the phone. 

We like U.S. Bank because of its extensive nationwide availability, many customer support options, and excellent price transparency — meaning you can get a personalized rate quote and fee information just by filling out some basic information, no credit check required. 

Good for price transparency

TD Bank

TD Bank

Editor’s Score: (4.1/5)

Good for price transparency

TD Bank

Editor’s Score: (4.1/5)

  • Products offered:

    Home equity loan, HELOC, interest-only HELOC, rate-lock HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years

  • HELOC loan terms:

    10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    89.99%

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Options to apply in person, on the phone, or online
  • 0.25% rate discount if you set up auto-pay from a TD account
  • No credit check required to see personalized rates and fees
  • Many products and options available

Cons

  • Only offered in 15 states
  • $99 origination fee for both home equity loans and HELOCs

The Bottom Line

Primarily operating on the East Coast,  TD Bank is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S. and serves more than 9.7 million customers. TD Bank offers Home Equity Loans and HELOCs in 15 states, with the option for interest-only and rate-lock HELOCs. Loan amounts for home equity loans start at $10,000, while line amounts for HELOCs start at $25,000.

For a home equity loan or HELOC with TD Bank, closing costs only exist on loan amounts greater than $500,000, but you will be required to pay a $99 origination fee at closing regardless of your loan amount. There is also an annual fee of $50 on HELOCs unless your loan amount is less than $50,000. You’ll be charged an early termination fee of 2% of the outstanding balance if your HELOC is closed within 24 months from opening. Additionally, you’ll receive a 0.25% rate discount if you set up auto-pay from a TD personal checking or savings account. 

If you decide to apply for a TD Bank home equity loan or HELOC, you can do so online, by phone, or by visiting a TD Bank in person. The online application includes a calculator that will tell you the maximum amount you can borrow based on the information you input, but you can also see a full breakdown of rates, fees, and monthly payments by entering some basic information online. No credit check is required for this service. 

Though its nationwide availability is limited, we like TD Bank because it has a wide variety of product offerings — including interest-only and rate-lock options on its HELOCs. The bank’s good online user experience and price transparency make it easy to work with this lender,  and the customer service is very accessible.

Good for wide range of customer service options

Connexus Credit Union

Connexus Credit Union

Editor’s Score: (4/5)

Good for wide range of customer service options

Connexus Credit Union

Editor’s Score: (4/5)

  • Products offered:

    Home equity loan, HELOC, interest-only HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    5 to 15 years

  • HELOC terms:

    15-year draw period, 15-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    90% for home equity loans

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Available in 46 states
  • Excellent customer service options
  • Membership requirements are relatively easy to meet

Cons

  • Credit check required to get a personalized rate quote and product terms
  • Not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, and Texas
  • Potential for high closing costs
  • Must be a member of the credit union to get a loan

The Bottom Line

With over 420,000 members in all 50 states, Connexus Credit Union has a far reach in the United States. The credit union offers home equity loans and HELOCs in 46 states (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, and Texas). Loan amounts for home equity loans and HELOCs range from $5,000 to $200,000. Within its HELOC product offerings is an interest-only HELOC which may allow you to pay a lower monthly payment. Since Connexus is a credit union, its products are only available to members. But, membership eligibility is open to most people: you (or a family member) just need to be a member of one of Connexus’s partner groups, reside in one of the communities or counties on Connexus’s list, or become a member of the Connexus Association with a $5 donation to Connexus’s partner nonprofit. 

Connexus does not specify any rate discounts, but it does offer an introductory rate for the first six months of your loan term. You won’t have to pay an annual fee for a home equity loan or HELOC with Connexus, but closing costs can range from $175 to $2,000 depending on your loan terms and property location. 

To apply for a home equity loan or HELOC with Connexus, you can fill out a 3-step application online. Though the application process is quick, you won’t be able to see a personalized rate or product terms without a credit check.

Connexus offers expansive nationwide availability and has several product offerings, part of the reason this lender ranked highly for us. Its straightforward application process is another bonus that makes applying for a home equity loan or HELOC easy.

Good for online application user experience

Spring EQ

Spring EQ

Editor’s Score: (4/5)

Good for online application user experience

Spring EQ

Editor’s Score: (4/5)

  • Products offered:

    Home equity loan, HELOC, interest-only HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    5 to 30 years

  • HELOC terms:

    10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    90% for home equity loans, 97.5% for HELOCs

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • No credit check required to see personalized rates
  • Available in 38 states

Cons

  • Origination fee of $995
  • Minimum credit score of 620 required
  • No specified rate discounts

The Bottom Line

Spring EQ may be a relatively new bank founded in 2016, but it has already earned a positive reputation from customers across the 38 states it serves. Spring EQ offers home equity loans, HELOCs, and interest-only HELOCs, providing borrowers with flexible loan options. Home equity loan amounts range from $5,000 to $500,000, while HELOC line amounts range from $50,000 to $500,000.

Spring EQ loans may be subject to an origination fee of $995 and an annual fee of $99 in some states. Spring EQ does not specify any rate discounts.

The Spring EQ loan application process is transparent and easy to understand. Customers can see an extensive breakdown of their loan term and rate options without needing to undergo a credit check or provide their social security number. To be eligible for a home equity loan or HELOC with Spring EQ, you’ll need a credit score of 620 or higher, along with a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less.

We ranked Spring EQ highly because of the lender’s price transparency, which allows potential borrowers to get pre-qualified for a loan with only basic information. This makes it easy to compare rates without needing to provide sensitive personal information or undergo a hard credit check. Additionally, the online experience is user-friendly and the application’s breakdown of rates, fees, and terms is easily digestible for customers.

Good for wide range of product offerings

KeyBank

KeyBank

Editor’s Score: (4/5)

Good for wide range of product offerings

KeyBank

Editor’s Score: (4/5)

  • Products offered:

    Home equity loan, HELOC, interest-only HELOC, rate-lock HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    5 to 30 years

  • HELOC terms:

    15-year draw period, 15-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    80% for standard home equity loans and HELOCs, 90% for high-value home equity loans and HELOCs

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Interest-only and rate-lock HELOC options
  • Streamlined application process for existing KeyBank customers
  • Smooth online user experience and website

Cons

  • High closing costs if you plan to use a closing agent
  • Annual fee for HELOCs
  • Origination fee for home equity loans

The Bottom Line

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, KeyBank has been around for nearly 190 years. KeyBank offers home equity loans to customers in 15 states and HELOCs to customers in 44 states. Aside from a standard HELOC, KeyBank also offers interest-only and rate-lock options. Home equity loan amounts of $25,000 and up are available, while HELOCs have line amounts of $10,000 and up. 

KeyBank HELOCs come with an annual fee of $50, but no closing costs unless your closing is performed by a closing agent. In that case, your closing fee could be up to $400. KeyBank offers a 0.25% rate discount for clients who have eligible checking and savings accounts with KeyBank. Additionally, home equity loans have an origination fee of $295.

The KeyBank application allows you to apply for multiple products at one time. If you’re not sure whether KeyBank loans are available in your area, the application will tell you once you input your zip code. If you’re an existing KeyBank customer, you’ll have the option to skim through the application and import your personal information from your account. 

We like KeyBank because of its extensive product offerings. The streamlined application process for existing customers is helpful, but both existing and new customers will likely be pleased with the online user experience and availability of customer service that KeyBank offers.

Good for rate match guarantee

Third Federal Savings & Loan

Third Federal Savings & Loan

Editor’s Score: (3.9/5)

Good for rate match guarantee

Third Federal Savings & Loan

Editor’s Score: (3.9/5)

  • Products offered:

    Home equity loan, 5/1 home equity loan, HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    5 year, 10 year, 5/1 adjustable rate (6-30 years)

  • HELOC terms:

    10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    80%

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • No application, closing, or origination fees
  • Lowest rate guarantee
  • Smooth online application process

Cons

  • Limited geographic availability for home equity loans
  • $65 annual fee on HELOCs (waived the first year)

The Bottom Line

Opened in the midst of the Great Depression in 1938, Third Federal Savings & Loan sought to help unemployed and underemployed Ohio residents achieve home ownership. Since its opening, Third Federal has expanded significantly, now offering HELOCs in 26 states and home equity loans in eight states. Home equity loans and HELOCs are available in amounts from $10,000 to $200,000.

Home equity loans and HELOCs with Third Federal come with an annual fee of $65 (waived the first year) but no application fees, closing fees, or origination fees. If you set up autopay from an existing Third Federal account before closing, you’ll be eligible for a 0.25% rate discount. Additionally, Third Federal offers a lowest rate guarantee on its HELOCs and home equity loans, meaning Third Federal will offer you the lowest interest rate relative to other similar lenders or pay you $1,000.

You can apply for a home equity loan or HELOC on the Third Federal website. Both applications are included on the same page along with multiple rate and term options, allowing the customer to assess what will be best for them. Third Federal also provides helpful tools and tips on its application page to answer questions that borrowers may have. You won’t have to register an account to apply, but you’ll still be able to save your application and return to it later.

We like Third Federal’s application process and the lender’s price transparency. If you’re not sure what kind of home equity product you’re looking for, the website provides useful information to help you decide. Third Federal also offers a unique product not commonly found among other lenders: a 5/1 adjustable-rate home equity loan, where the rate is fixed for the first five year and then adjusts annually, much like how an adjustable-rate mortgage works. However, you won’t be eligible for this product unless you live in one of the eight states in which Third Federal offers home equity loans.

Good for HELOCs with longer repayment periods

PNC Bank

PNC Bank

Editor’s Score: (3.8/5)

Good for HELOCs with longer repayment periods

PNC Bank

Editor’s Score: (3.8/5)

  • Products offered:

    HELOC, rate-lock HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    N/A

  • HELOC terms:

    10-year draw period, 30-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    89.90%

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Variable and fixed-rate HELOC options
  • 30-year repayment period on HELOC
  • Option to choose a custom loan term
  • User-friendly website

Cons

  • Don’t offer home equity loans
  • $50 annual fee on HELOCs

The Bottom Line

PNC Bank is the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. by consolidated assets, according to the Federal Reserve. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, PNC serves 44 states. Though the bank does not offer home equity loans, it offers both variable-rate HELOCs and fixed-rate HELOCs. You can even switch between variable and fixed-rate interest over the course of your draw period. Another benefit of a PNC HELOC is that the repayment period is 30 years, unlike most other lenders who have 20 year terms. A longer payment period generally means lower monthly payments (but more interest paid in the long run), which can be beneficial to those who want to borrow large amounts. Line amounts from $10,000 to $1,000,000 are available on a PNC HELOC.

PNC offers a 0.25% interest rate discount to borrowers who set up and maintain automatic payments from a qualifying PNC checking account. There is a $50 annual fee for HELOC borrowers, except in Texas. 

The PNC website is user-friendly, giving customers the ability to estimate their home equity with an easy-to-use calculator. It also provides several useful graphics and videos to help borrowers better understand how their HELOCs work. PNC allows potential borrowers to see their rate and term options early on in the application process, indicating good price transparency. PNC also gives customers the option to choose a custom loan term. 

We like PNC Bank because its application is straightforward and the bank is very transparent about its rates, fees, and terms without requiring a credit check. Though PNC doesn’t don’t offer home equity loans at all, its wide nationwide availability for HELOCs is noteworthy.

Honorable mentions

Good for existing Citizens Bank customers

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank

Editor’s Score: (3.4/5)

Good for existing Citizens Bank customers

Citizens Bank

Editor’s Score: (3.4/5)

  • Products offered:

    HELOC, interest-only HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    N/A

  • HELOC terms:

    10-year draw period, 15-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    Not specified

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Rate discount options for existing and new customers
  • No application or closing fees
  • Good online user experience

Cons

  • Does not offer home equity loans
  • Limited nationwide availability

The Bottom Line

Based in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens Bank is a regional bank that serves 19 states across New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest regions. Citizens offers standard and interest-only HELOCs to borrowers in 19 states. However, the bank does not offer home equity loans at all. HELOC line amounts start from $17,500. 

Opening a HELOC with Citizens Bank won’t require any application fees or closing costs, but you will have to pay a $50 annual fee every year except the first during the draw period. According to Citizen Bank’s website, obtaining the best rate requires having a Citizens consumer checking account with automatic monthly payments set up. In states where Citizens does not offer checking accounts, customers can get the same discount with automatic payments set up from any checking account. 

You can apply for a HELOC on the Citizens Bank website, but you also have the option to speak to a loan specialist on the phone. You’ll need to sign up with a phone number and email to access the application. 

Citizens has good price transparency and responsive customer service, but its products are limited to 19 states. In addition, though Citizens offers multiple HELOC options, it does not offer home equity loans at all.

Good for high loan-to-value ratio options

BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

Editor’s Score: (3.4/5)

Good for high loan-to-value ratio options

BMO Harris Bank

Editor’s Score: (3.4/5)

  • Products offered:

    Home equity loan, HELOC, interest-only HELOC, rate-lock HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    5 to 20 years

  • HELOC terms:

    10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    85% for HELOCs; 89.99% for most home equity loans

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Available in 48 states
  • No hard credit check required
  • Flexible product offerings
  • Option for 100% CLTV for borrowers who meet certain qualifications

Cons

  • Limited customer service options
  • Can only receive personalized rates on the phone
  • $75 annual fee for HELOCs

The Bottom Line

As the 8th largest bank by assets in North America, BMO Harris Bank (a subsidiary of the Canadian financial services company Bank of Montreal) serves more than 12 million customers globally.  Currently, BMO Harris products and services are available in 48 states (all but New York and Texas). BMO Harris offers home equity loans and three variations of a HELOC. Loan amounts for home equity loans start at $5,000 and up while HELOC lines start at $10,000 and up. 

The normal maximum combined loan-to-value ratio allowed is 85% for HELOCs and 89.99% for home equity loans, but a 100% max CLTV option is available for low-to-moderate income borrowers or Low to Moderate Income Census Tract customers who need to make home improvements.

There is no application fee for a home equity loan or line of credit with BMO Harris. In addition, BMO Harris will pay closing costs for loans secured by an owner-occupied 1 to 4-family residence, but borrowers will have to pay a $75 annual fee for a HELOC. If you authorize auto pay from a BMO Harris checking account, you’ll be eligible to receive a 0.50% rate discount.

You can apply for a home equity loan or HELOC online or in-person, but in order to get personalized rates, you’ll have to speak with a representative on the phone. Getting personalized rates does not require a hard credit check. 

We like that BMO Harris offers both home equity loans and three types of HELOCs almost nationwide, but the lender fell short because of its low price transparency. Additionally, the online application requires your social security number and has some elements that could be confusing for customers. 

Good for 24-hour customer support

Flagstar Bank

Flagstar Bank

Editor’s Score: (3.1/5)

Good for 24-hour customer support

Flagstar Bank

Editor’s Score: (3.1/5)

  • Products offered:

    Home equity loan (in some areas), HELOC, interest-only HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    10, 15, or 20 years

  • HELOC terms:

    10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    80%

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Available in 49 states
  • Accessible customer service, including 24-hour phone support
  • Flexible product offerings

Cons

  • No online application (can only request a phone call)
  • Unable to get personalized rate quote through website

The Bottom Line

Flagstar Bank has the highest nationwide availability yet, offering home equity loans and HELOCs in 49 states (all but Texas). Though both products are offered in 49 states, the availability of home equity loans may be limited depending on your area. Available loan amounts for home equity loans and HELOCs are $10,000 to $1,000,000.

HELOCs with Flagstar require a $75 annual fee, but it is waived the first year. To avoid closing fees, you’ll have to keep your HELOC open for at least 36 months. Additionally, there is a 0.50% rate discount for borrowers who have monthly automatic payments set up from a Flagstar Bank deposit account.

Flagstar doesn’t have a full online application, only a form where you can submit your information to be contacted by a representative later.  Flagstar does not provide rates on its website, you can get a custom rate based on a soft credit check and some additional information. 

While its nationwide availability for HELOCs is strong, Flagstar’s tedious application process and lack of transparency may be frustrating for customers seeking a quick, easy process. The lender does offer several customer service options, including 24-hour loan support via phone, so this may be appealing to those who enjoy accessible communication with customer service. 

Good for fast funding among traditional banks

Truist

Truist

Editor’s Score: (2.9/5)

Good for fast funding among traditional banks

Truist

Editor’s Score: (2.9/5)

  • Products offered:

    HELOC, interest-only HELOC, rate-lock HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    N/A

  • HELOC terms:

    10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    89.90%

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • No account needed to apply for a HELOC
  • Option to forego closing costs
  • Option to autofill the application for existing Truist customers
  • Wide variety of HELOC options

Cons

  • No rate discounts
  • Credit check required to get personalized rates
  • Does not offer home equity loans

The Bottom Line

Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Truist offers standard, interest-only, and rate-lock HELOCs to borrowers in 15, primarily Southeastern, states. HELOC line amounts range from $10,000 upward. Truist does not offer home equity loans at all.

Truist does not specify any rate discounts. When closing, the borrower will have the option to pay closing costs themselves or have Truist advance them. If you choose the latter, you won’t have to reimburse Truist-paid closing costs if you keep your account open for at least three years. There is a $50 annual fee in some states. 

You can apply for a HELOC with Truist on Truist’s website. Before you get started applying, the Truist website tells you which documents you’ll need. You won’t be required to sign up for an account, but if you already have an account set up with Truist, you’ll be able to quickly auto-fill your application. Truist advertises that the turnaround time between application to closing averages 30 to 35 days, which is one of the fastest times among its bank peers (not including newer, non-traditional start-up companies like Figure).

Unfortunately, Truist ranked low on price transparency, meaning it may be difficult to get personalized rates. The rate advertised on the website is based on one particular scenario. You’ll have to submit an application and undergo a credit check to get personalized rates. 

Good for no fees or closing costs

Discover

Discover

Editor’s Score: (2.9/5)

Good for no fees or closing costs

Discover

Editor’s Score: (2.9/5)

  • Products offered:

    Home equity loan

  • Home equity loan terms:

    10, 15, 20 or 30 years

  • HELOC terms:

    N/A

  • Maximum LTV:

    Not specified

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • No origination fees or closing costs
  • Home equity loans are available in 48 states

Cons

  • Limited customer service options available
  • Home equity loans not available in Iowa and Maryland
  • Does not offer HELOCs

The Bottom Line

A financial services company known primarily for its credit cards, Discover also offers home equity loans as part of its suite of banking products. Home equity loans are available in 48 states, but the lender does not offer home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) at all. For Discover’s home equity loans, possible loan amounts range from $35,000 to $300,000. The lender charges no origination fees, application fees, appraisal fees, and mortgage taxes. 

You can apply for a home equity loan from Discover online or over the phone. The application process takes approximately six to eight weeks in total, according to Discover’s website. 

Discover offers wide nationwide availability for its home equity loans and good price transparency, but its lack of HELOC offerings may be a limiting factor for consumers looking for additional product options. In addition, Discover offers limited customer service options — your only option to get help is by phone, with no in-person service or online options like email or live chat. 

Good for borrowers outside the continental U.S.

PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union

Editor’s Score: (2.4/5)

Good for borrowers outside the continental U.S.

PenFed Credit Union

Editor’s Score: (2.4/5)

  • Products offered:

    HELOC, interest-only HELOC, rate-lock HELOC

  • Home equity loan terms:

    N/A

  • HELOC terms:

    10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period

  • Maximum LTV:

    90%

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Offered in all 50 states as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, and Okinawa
  • Flexible HELOC product offerings
  • Credit union membership easy to obtain

Cons

  • No online application
  • Poor price transparency
  • Does not offer home equity loans

The Bottom Line

Established in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (widely known as PenFed) offers HELOCs in all 50 states as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, and Okinawa. PenFed is a credit union so its products are only available to members, but you can easily become a member by opening a PenFed savings account and funding it with at least $5. With PenFed, you’ll have the flexibility to choose between a standard, interest only, or rate lock HELOC with line amounts ranging from $25,000 to $1,000,000. But, the lender does not offer home equity loans at all.  

HELOCs with PenFed will have an annual fee of $99 unless you have paid $99 in interest during the preceding year. PenFed will pay most closing costs, but for credit lines greater than $500,000, the borrower will likely be responsible for closing costs. No rate discounts are specified. 

If you’re interested in applying for a HELOC with PenFed, you’ll have to request a callback over the phone or online. This feature may be a major drawback for customers who prefer online services and applications.

While PenFed may be a good option for borrowers in U.S. territories who don’t have many other alternatives when it comes to home equity lenders, the lender’s lack of an online application and lack of price transparency earned it a low score in our ratings. If you prefer communication via telephone, however, PenFed may be a good option for you.

How We Chose These Lenders

NextAdvisor developed a framework to evaluate home equity lenders using a weighted average score between 1 and 5 based on the following criteria. A higher weight was given to the criteria we determined to be most important:

  1. Nationwide availability: We rated lenders on a scale of 1 to 5 based on how many states their home equity products were offered in. For lenders that only offered either home equity loans or HELOCs, we looked at how many states offered that specific product. For lenders that offered both home equity loans and HELOCs, we looked at how many states each individual product was offered in, and then took the average. A lender scored a 5 if it offered home equity products in at least 45 states which equates to 90% of U.S. states. Nationwide availability counted for 10% of the composite score.
  2. Online user experience: We rated lenders on a scale of 1 to 5 based on the user experience of their online application process. A 5 was given to lenders who had a clear, easy-to-navigate online application process with no technical issues or confusing instructions. A score of 1 was given to lenders who did not offer an online application at all, instead requiring customers to apply in person at a branch or over the phone. Online user experience counted for 20% of the composite score.
  3. Products offered: We rated lenders on a scale of 1 to 5 based on how many types of home equity products they offered. Product offerings were categorized into the following types: home equity loans; standard variable-rate, interest-and-principal HELOCs, interest-only HELOCs, HELOCs with fixed-rate or rate-lock options, and miscellaneous products that did not fall into any of the previous categories. Lenders who offered at least 4 types of products received a 5. Products offered counted for 20% of the composite score.
  4. Price transparency: We rated lenders on a scale of 1 to 5 based on their price transparency, which we defined as how much information you could get about rates and fees without a hard credit check. Comparing rates and fees from multiple lenders is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting the best deal, and we gave high scores to lenders who made it easy to do so. On the other hand, lenders who kept detailed rate and fee information behind a hard credit check — which can slightly lower your credit score and should only be done when you’re serious about moving forward with a particular lender — scored lower. Lenders who provided personalized quotes for rates, fees, and important loan information with only basic information (and no hard credit check) required received a 5. Price transparency counted for 30% of the composite score.
  5. Customer service options: We rated lenders on a scale of 1 to 5 based on how many different customer service options were available to consumers needing help with their loan application or loan servicing. Examples of customer service options we counted included, but were not limited to, online live chat, phone, email, visiting an in-person branch, in-person or virtual appointments with dedicated loan officers, and social media direct messaging. Lenders who had five or more customer service options received a 5. For each option that was available only to existing customers (and thus would not be available to new customers needing help with the application process), we deducted 0.5 from the score. For any lender that had a 24/7 customer service option, regardless of what form that option took, we added 1 to the score. We did not evaluate the quality of the customer service itself, as that can be subjective and highly dependent on the specific customer service representative a borrower is working with. Customer service options counted for 20% of the composite score. 

What We Did Not Evaluate In Our Scoring

When comparing lenders, we did not evaluate factors like pricing (interest rates and fees) and borrower requirements (like minimum credit scores). Home equity rates and fees can change often and are based on each borrower’s specific credit profile. Each lender also has its own unique underwriting requirements and process, which are often not publicly available. Therefore, we don’t believe it’s possible to accurately evaluate rates, fees, and credit score requirements from lender to lender. It’s important to note that lower rates may not actually lower the total cost of borrowing if they’re offset by higher fees.  

If a company offered both home equity loans and HELOCs, we evaluated its home equity lending as a whole rather than any specific product. 

To find the best deal, get personalized rate and fee quotes from multiple lenders, then use NextAdvisor’s loan calculator to calculate the total cost of borrowing and monthly payment to accurately compare lenders. 

Best New Jersey HELOC and Home Equity Loan Lenders

Columbia Bank

Founded in 1927, Columbia Bank offers community banking across New Jersey. It has 62 full-service branches and three regional lending centers across the state.

Columbia Bank offers both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. HELOCs come with a draw period of 10 years and a repayment period of 20 years. HELOC credit lines range from $25,000 to $500,000, with a minimum draw of $100. For home equity loans, terms of five, 10, 15, and 20 years are available and possible loan amounts range from $25,000 to $500,000. The maximum loan-to-value ratio for both HELOCs and home equity loans is 75%. A mortgage recording fee, which varies by county, is due at closing. Homeowners insurance is mandatory, and flood insurance may be required. 

You can apply for a home equity loan or HELOC from Columbia Bank by filling out an online application. 

Northfield Bank

Headquartered in Woodbridge, New Jersey, Northfield Bank is a full-service community bank serving metropolitan New York and New Jersey. It has 38 branches across New Jersey, Staten Island, New York, and Brooklyn, New York.

Northfield Bank offers both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit in New Jersey. Home equity loans are offered with five-, 10-, 15-, 20-, and 25-year terms. HELOCs come with a draw period of 10 years and a repayment period of 15 years. HELOCs and home equity loans are only available on owner-occupied, 1-2 family residences and condominiums; investment properties are not eligible. There are no application fees, but borrowers are responsible for paying a mortgage recording fee. HELOCs come with an early termination fee of $500 if the line of credit is closed within three years of opening. 

You can complete an application online or print out a paper application and fax or mail it to Northfield Bank’s office.

How to Find the Best HELOC or Home Equity Loan Rates in New Jersey

In New Jersey, home equity loan and HELOC rates may vary based on the lender, your credit score, your loan-to-value ratio (LTV), and how much money you want to borrow. To ensure you get the lowest possible rates available, focus on improving your credit and comparing offers from multiple lenders. 

Pro Tip

Shop around with multiple home equity loan or HELOC lenders to find the best rate.

Boost your credit

People in New Jersey tend to have good credit. The average FICO credit score in New Jersey is 725, according to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus. The minimum credit score required to get a home equity loan or HELOC varies by lender, but having a higher credit score will improve your chances of qualifying for a loan and securing a lower interest rate. 

You can boost your credit score by reviewing your credit report — you can get a free copy at AnnualCreditReport.com — and disputing any errors. To keep your credit score as high as possible, be sure to always pay your bills on time and limit how much of your available credit you use. If you have a high outstanding balance on a credit card, paying it off could also help raise your credit score. 

Only borrow what you need

The cost of living in New Jersey is approximately 16% higher than the national average, according to RentCafe, so home improvements and other projects will likely be more expensive than in other states. However, it’s important to develop a budget for your plans and stick to that amount when deciding how much money to borrow with a home equity loan or HELOC. Borrowing more than you need may seem appealing, but it can be risky, and you could end up paying more in interest due to the larger loan amount.

Compare offers

Rates and terms can vary a great deal between lenders. If you’re a New Jersey resident considering a home equity loan or HELOC, request quotes from several lenders and compare potential offers to find the best deal. Read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure you understand the fees and closing costs involved. Common fees include origination fees, appraisal fees, and annual fees or early termination fees with HELOCs. The annual percentage rate (APR), which includes the cost of fees in addition to the interest rate, can help you understand the true cost of borrowing and make an apples-to-apples comparison. 

To make an informed decision, use NextAdvisor’s loan calculator to see the monthly payments and total costs of loans with different interest rates and repayment periods. 

How to Get a Home Equity Line of Credit or Home Equity Loan in New Jersey

  1. Build equity: Home equity is the difference between what your house is worth and your mortgage loan balance. It’s also what you’re borrowing against with a home equity loan or HELOC. In general, home equity lenders require you to have at least 20% equity in your home to get a loan. In other words, your loan-to-value ratio — the sum of all the debts secured by your home divided by your home’s appraised value — typically can’t exceed 80%. Some lenders may offer exceptions to this and allow a higher loan-to-value ratio. But if you recently bought your home or put down a smaller down payment, you’ll likely have to wait a while before you’re eligible for a home equity loan or HELOC.
  2. Decide which borrowing option is best for you: If you know exactly how much money you need and need the cash all at once, you can use a home equity loan to borrow one lump sum. By contrast, HELOCs make more sense if you’ll likely need continuous access to cash or are unsure of ongoing expenses. Keep in mind that your HELOC rate can change based on the prime rate at any time during the draw period or repayment period, so if you want the stability of a fixed rate and fixed monthly payment, you may be better off with a home equity loan. 
  3. Compare home equity loan and HELOC quotes: Request quotes from several lenders and compare available interest rates and fees. Look at national and local banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Your current financial institution is a good place to start your search, as many banks will offer interest rate discounts to existing customers or those who have their monthly payments automatically deducted from a checking account at that bank. 
  4. Submit an application: When you’ve found a home equity lender that works for you, it’s time to officially apply for a HELOC or home equity loan. You can usually do this by completing an online application, calling a loan officer, or visiting an in-person branch, if available. You may need to submit additional documents, such as recent tax returns, pay stubs, mortgage statements, and proof of home insurance. 
  5. Set up a property evaluation: Before your lender makes a final decision, it will arrange a property appraisal. In New Jersey, lenders have some leeway over how to handle appraisals. They can order a full appraisal, or they can use a simpler, automated approach. 
  6. Work with your lender on next steps: If all goes well with your application and home appraisal, your lender will finalize your home equity loan or line of credit and set a closing date. Typically, the closing occurs at one of the lender’s physical branches, and the closing date is when you’ll sign the last of the paperwork and pay closing costs or any other required fees. 

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