Five Ways NOT to Use Your HELOC

Five Ways NOT to Use Your HELOC

A home equity line of credit can help you access the equity in your home at a low cost. But don’t be tempted to use your HELOC like a piggy bank: Click through for some advice on how to use your HELOC prudently.
One of the benefits of owning a home is the chance to build equity. Equity is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and what your home is worth. If your home is worth $300,000 and you owe $100,000 on your mortgage, you have $200,000 of equity.
One of the benefits of owning a home is the chance to build equity. Equity is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and what your home is worth. If your home is worth $300,000 and you owe $100,000 on your mortgage, you have $200,000 of equity.
You can then borrow up to that limit to spend the funds on whatever you want. And you only pay back what you borrow. Say you need to spend $50,000 on a major kitchen renovation. You can borrow that $50,000 from your HELOC. You’ll then pay back what you borrowed in regular monthly payments, with interest. HELOCs tend to come with lower interest rates than credit cards or personal loans do, which makes them a more affordable option when financing home repairs or renovations. Using your HELOC to fund improvements that will increase the value of your home is the best use of your HELOC dollars. You’ll even gain a tax benefit: You can write off the interest you pay on your HELOC if you use the funds for renovations or improvements that boost the value of your home.

What should NOT be financed with a HELOC

A dream vacation: You might want to fly to Europe or take that Alaskan cruise. But save up money to pay for it; don’t use your HELOC to fund it. If you fall behind on your HELOC payments, your lender can foreclose on you, eventually evicting you from your home and taking possession of it. Taking that risk to fund a vacation isn’t worth it.

Your or your children’s college education: Because the interest rates with HELOCs can be lower than what you’d get with private student loans, you might consider funding all or part of your or your children’s college tuition with a HELOC. Again, this is risky. If you stop making student loan payments, your credit score will tumble. But your lenders can’t take possession of your home. The same can’t be said if you stop making payments on a HELOC.

A big wedding: We get it: Weddings can be expensive. But again, funding a wedding — yours or one of your children’s — with a HELOC can put your home at risk. It’s not worth it for what is essentially a one-day event.

Stock market investments: You can make a lot of money by investing in the stock market. You can lose a lot, too. And if you use your HELOC to pay for your stock market investments? You might even lose your home if you fall behind on your payments. Again, the potential gain isn’t worth the risk. If you want to invest in the stock market, use your own funds that you’ve saved.

Credit card debt: This is a little trickier. Credit card debt comes with sky-high interest rates. It might make financial sense, then, to use a HELOC to pay off your credit card debt, as the interest rate attached to the money you’ve borrowed against your HELOC will be far lower. Again, though, there is risk. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to afford your HELOC payments, don’t borrow against your line of credit to pay off your credit card debt. Your credit card provider can’t foreclose on your home if you fall behind on your payments. 

Copyright © HomeActions, LLC All rights reserved.
Thinking of applying for a real estate loan? Before you get caught up in internet searches, click bait, or ‘big box’ lender applications online, check out a few reasons we highly recommend using a local and trusted lender:
  • Local lenders are your neighbors and know the area intimately. They shop at the same grocery stores, shopping malls, and dine in the same restaurants as you.
  • They have relationships that extend beyond a closing table or transaction. Most local lenders have a direct connection to underwriters and processors, which can eliminate days, and even weeks, from the process of closing a loan.
  • Local lenders are proven to close loans on average faster than larger banks.
  • Because they are local, they understand the local market.
  • Most all local lenders we network with provide their personal cell phone number to their clients. This provides you with a more responsive method of communication and can help expedite important manners more efficiently.
  • Local lenders are often far more diversified in their lending options, which in turn can offer you products and services that many of the large banks do not offer. Overall, opening up your lending options with a local and trusted lender could save you time, money, and in turn help you find the best product for your unique situation.
  • Local lenders typically will have files go through the underwriting process upfront, rather than waiting until the week of your closing. This is crucial if you are purchasing a home or property and have earnest money deposited. We have seen clients choose to go with larger named lending institutions that promise, or bait consumers, into clicking online through an application offering ‘exclusive’ or ‘lower rates’ than the current average. A lot of the time these types of ads will trick a consumer into working with these larger companies, and the true fees are not disclosed upfront, the files are not examined by a trained and experienced Loan Officer, and the consumer (you) ends up in a compromised situation that costs them not only thousands of dollars, but the home they were under contract to purchase as well.  
Ask us for more information about our group of trusted and experienced local lenders!

What are people saying about The Morton Realty Group?

“Brittnee and Stephen are the best. We loved our experience with them. They were so patient and helpful with our big move to east Texas. Thank you!” – Cyndie Crossland

If you have any questions real estate related, we are here to help. We have a team of professionals that cover every aspect of the industry to collectively give you valuable products and services.

Click the ‘Contact Us’ button above to connect with us or call 903.245.4312 today!

Making a difference – Texas Equestrian Gala benefiting Azleway

Making a difference - Texas Equestrian Gala benefiting Azleway

As our business has continued to grow, we have had the incredible opportunity to learn and get involved in programs and organizations that are, and have been, making a difference in our local community for many years. As most of you know, both Stephen and I were born in Tyler, and grew up in East Texas. He, in particular, having grown up in the community of Chapel Hill, has known of the Azleway program and personally knew children who experienced the goodness of this organization most of his life. Because we have a heart for the Lord, and understand the magnitude of being called to love and help the fatherless, being invited to attend this benefit opened our eyes to a mission that is in great need of support to continue being the hands and feet to helping children in dire need.

I invite you to read the following about the mission and heart of Azleway;


[Azleway has been faithfully restoring lives and relationships of children in crisis since 1979. We have had the privilege of helping thousands of children and families in their time of desperate need.

Every child coming into our agency is evaluated and placed in one of our programs based on how we can best meet their needs. This is done through group hosting, therapeutic group housing, and direct foster care.

The children that come into Azleway come with scars of their past lives. We take children that have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, and

developmental challenges. Some, even at very tender ages, are beaten by life that they are barely remaining afloat.

Regardless of their situation when they come to us, our purpose, vision and driving passion remains the same. Our goal is to bring each child into a caring environment where they receive structure, compassion, educational opportunities, and coping skills, with the ultimate objective remaining to direct them into a healthy family environment.

At Azleway we value each child as an individual with goals, talents, feelings, and love to offer each other and society. We continually seek the best of these from each child, while encouraging them to believe in the best they have to offer themselves. These children are precious gifts from God and through Him all things are possible. We value ourselves in being…”Not just a home, an opportunity.”]


Our real estate business has placed us front and center in the heart of programs that enrich our communities, serve those in need, and strive to leave people better than they found them. Because Stephen and I have a huge heart for the hurting, we wanted to share this night with our readers, and followers, to help invite you to get involved if you feel led to do so. (Photo credits to Anita Trevino and Amanda Jackson)

If you are interested in learning more about #Azleway, or how you can help, please follow the link below:


#adoption #foster #substanceabusehelp #residentialtreatmentcenter #easttexas #childrenservices #adoptionservices #fosterservices

© 2020 Morton Realty Group. All rights reserved.

Smoked Meats & Tasty Treats!

Smoked Meats & Tasty Treats!

With the most laid back atmosphere, and some of the best #barbeque in East Texas, the trip to #Stanleys is a Morton Family favorite! From the time our son was about 8 weeks old, we have frequented this local favorite often. It’s always been a place we consider a staple item in Tyler, but over the last several years it’s become a routine stop! From the brisket #tacos, the perfectly glazed #ribs, all the way to the Brother in Law #sandwich, we find enjoyment in the consistency, quality, and friendliness Stanley’s has to offer. The open patio gives our wild child a place to be himself. Our daughter is a huge fan of the #turkey, and loves to play the ring toss with her Dad while we relax and soak up some family time.

Looking for the best #margarita or #mixeddrinks in town? Go visit Heather, and tell her #TheMortonRealtyGroup sent you! With a sweet temperament, and welcoming smile, Heather will serve you up with whatever drink you prefer, and will make it just right every time. They also serve Local Buzz Brew by the local Tyler brewing company, #TrueVine, straight from the tap, as well as many other domestics, imports, wines, and specialty drinks. You can soak up some sun, sit in the shade, or dine inside in the quaint and personable original building that started it all over 50 years ago.

Looking for something extra? You HAVE to try their loaded brisket #fritopie or #stuffedpotatoes! #yummy The locals have deemed this awesome place worthy, as well as being named “One of the Best BBQ Joints in the World!” by Texas Monthly Magazine.

Finding their story published in David Gelin’s book “BBQ Joints: Stories and Secret Recipes from the Barbecue Belt,” and Daniel Vaughn’s “Prophets of Smoked Meat” published by Anthony Bourdain.” according to their website.

“Stanley’s has been family owned and operated since 1958. The site where Stanley’s sits today was a BBQ restaurant for two previous owners before being bought and renamed by J.D. Stanley in the late 50’s. The history of #BBQ is long and strong in this spot.

Nick & Jen Pencis took over the business in 2006 after the death of founder JD Stanley left his family unable to continue the operation. Nick & Jen have kept the spirit of JD’s recipes and methods alive, as well as adding their unique flair to the joint…Nick & Jen have tried to recruit the best staff to ensure the highest quality food and fun atmosphere.”(Courtesy provided by Stanley’s website; https://www.stanleysfamous.com/

If you’re new to #Texas, new to #EastTexas, or simply a #local that’s never made a trip to see what all the fuss is about, give them a try! They are much like us in that they love this community, and support as much of the local artists, breweries, wineries, businesses, charitable events and organizations that they can. With their #livemusic lineup you can always count on a good time. Check out this link to view their current music lineup;


Make a trip to visit, and let us know what YOU think! Open Monday-Saturday. See their website for operating hours.

Thanks for checking in to read my blog! Until next time, don’t forget, we are here for “Covering all of Your Real Estate Needs”

Lots of love,

Brittnee Morton, Realtor®

The Morton Realty Group

© 2020 Morton Realty Group. All rights reserved.

Dinner with Friends

Dinner with Friends

It’s apparent I love to support local businesses, and I love to share with you things that we enjoy, and as much as I love to rave about something or someone that deserves to be recognized, what I’m sharing with you today means even more to me than that! I grew up in a small town where everyone knew who you were, and most likely their parents all went to school together as well. Back when if you were caught misbehaving you may get a stern correcting, or even a spanking, from someone else’s Mom or Dad. The whole “it takes a village” saying was just a way of life. Times have changed… drastically. In a microwave society we find ourselves exhausted! While there are so many more conveniences today that should make our lives a little easier, we still find ourselves worn thin, running in circles, and always in a hurry more than ever before. It’s more difficult to slow down, be present in the moment, and make time for things that matter. Most certainly not because we don’t want to, or because it’s not a priority, but because the demands of our fast paced world can consume us if we do not make a conscious effort to say, “No! I can’t do that right now.” In this business, we don’t have a set schedule, unless we create one, and more often than not our lives and schedules are dictated by the availability and schedules of our clients. With that being said, evening times are our most common showing times, because the majority of our clients have jobs that allow evenings off. I absolutely love, so much, to sit at the dinner table and be unplugged from technology. It’s rare in society today to see anyone in a restaurant fully engaged with their guests, and not their phones. Guess who is guilty of that as well? Yep, me, myself, and I. To be a Realtor®, or at least a good one, means answering your phone and being prompt. On that same accord, being a good spouse, friend, or parent deserves the same attentiveness. It’s hard to be great at all things, isn’t it? So we choose! And the purpose of saying all of that is to say this;

We have clients that become family to us. They know who we are outside of the real estate transaction, they ask how are kids are doing, they invite us to come spend time with them in their homes we helped them purchase, and they invest in a friendship that means so much to us! So, when the invitations are presented, we unplug! We unplug and we cherish the time we have for those who make time for us.

Meet Dale and Angelia Morton – no there is no known relation to our Morton family name. Stephen was blessed to meet Dale and Angelia on their search for a weekend lake home. Through the process, which went on for almost a year before finding the perfect one, a friendship was formed. Dale is the pastor of a local church in Nacogdoches, and they ironically also have a daughter and son-in-law named Stephen and Brittany! Pretty cool, huh? We have had the pleasure of enjoying a lunch at Mercado’s, and sharing in all the good things the Lord has done in our lives. They enrich our lives by knowing them. When they called to invite us to a home cooked meal at their lake house we just knew we had to go! One of my favorite ways for someone to show they care about you is to cook for you. It’s a timeless form of endearment and affection, in my opinion.

Angelia prepared a baked chicken recipe that tasted JUST like my Mawmaw’s hawaiian chicken. (My favorite) Dale got in the floor and played with Christian the way that a grandfather would. It warmed my heart more than I can put into words. We enjoyed their company that evening, and look forward to many dinners ahead. Thank you Dale and Angelia for your friendship. We thank God for you!

Their smiles say it all! Pat and Mike relocated to Texas this year from Illinois, and through their journey have become so special to our family. They have a kind, gentle, and loving disposition that just makes you want to stay and hang out a while. When they closed on their home they were still in Illinois waiting for the birth of their first grand daughter, and it would be a few months before they would be here in Texas full time. So, we would go and check on their property, and make sure all was well until they came home. Pat asked for us to come over for dinner, and meet their new Great Dane Puppy, which is more like a full grown dog even at

4 months old! The kids loved spending time with their sweet Bacchus. He’s clumsy, and goofy, and all of the awkward things a Dane pup is when they don’t know how big they are. Pat prepared a full taco bar spread for us, including homemade salsa, guacamole, margaritas, and the best homemade apple pie I’ve ever had! I can’t wait to spend more time with our friends, and get to know their 3 daughters, as well as their sweet granddaughter, as they plan to someday transition to Texas. Thank you Pat and Mike for your friendship! We are so thankful to have you in our lives.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Wyant family. Looking for the wholesome Texas way, and eager to get out of their home state of California, the Wyant family became friends on their journey to Texas. Steve and Samantha have a daughter close in age with Brylin, and they became friends through their week long trip here to view properties. It took a few times to find their perfect place, but through patience and the Lord’s timing, the Wyant family made their move in the summer of

2018. Steve came in on a trip to see their future home, and felt it was mandatory that now being a Texan, meant becoming a Dallas Cowboy fan! He purchased tickets for the stadium tour of “Jerry’s World”, and even offered to drive Stephen to a doctor’s appointment in Dallas that day. What a nice guy! They ventured off and got the full tour, enjoyed lunch, and spent some time becoming friends. They still talk to this day, and catch up when they can. They bought a property just minutes away from my grandparent’s place, and around the corner from my lifelong best friend. They attended church with us on the Sunday the came to visit properties in Texas, and our girls went swimming together in the indoor pool at their hotel. God has a way of bringing people in lives at times they least expect it. We are so grateful he brought the Wyant family home to Texas.


We genuinely love our clients. It is not just a saying. It’s not just for likes on social media. It is our way of life. They become an extended family, and although our business requires a lot of time, we will make time for them! Time to slow down, love on people, and enjoy the simple things in life like a home cooked meal, or a special occasion, and unplug from the noise to be present in that moment. The world could use more face to face, fully present, interaction. We look forward to the many future memories, and clients, that will become like family. Real Estate is the tool that God has provided us to be able to minister to, help, and bond with others on this journey in life, and for that we are thankful beyond words. 16:3



Brittnee Morton®

The Morton Realty Group

© 2020 Morton Realty Group. All rights reserved