@Christopher Balian pay off your credit card debt. credit card rates are super high interest and will eat into your overall financial picture. By paying off your credit cards, you can then get a high PLOC ($200k+) plus a HELOC. That is a nice start to your REI
Plus, home improvements are rarely positive cash flow. Some of the best home improvements cash flow at 80%; those are the best. Home improvements make sense if your neighbors have significantly higher quality features in their homes. For example, my parents live in Florida and were the last ones to put hurricane proof windows into their house. Down there, making sure the roof is not blown off during a hurricane may decide whether a person will purchase your home or another down the street.
Depends on the terms. I recently inquired at my credit union and their HELOCs have a 20 year term. You need to run your own numbers and see what might work. If you refi, you might pay a lot more in interest than you're paying now, which might also make a Heloc more desirable. I'd start inquiring with banks and a mortgage broker to see terms you're looking at. You also can look at using a smaller amount for a down payment and then get traditional financing on the remainder.
I'd focus on paying down CC, first. Unless your house is a real fixer any upgrades you add probably won't impact the amount you can pull out too significantly considering how much equity you already seem to have.
The answer is always to pay off credit card debt first, no matter what the question is...
Pay off your cc and improve your credit score into th ehigh 7s if you want to qualify for desent interest rates.
With a 635 score you will have a difficult time getting a loan.
hey chris, looking to max the amount of equity you can tap? try unison.com i've had some great experiences with them.