Don't tap that HELOC

Floating rate makes action risky

DEAR BENNY: We have a HELOC (home equity line of credit) at a current interest rate of 4.75 percent. We have not drawn on the account. We are 20 years into a 30-year home mortgage with a fixed rate of 8.75 percent and owe about $32,000. Our home is listed on the appraisal rolls at $306,000. We would like to draw on our HELOC to pay off our first mortgage. We understand that the 4.75 percent is not a fixed rate and will be adjusted monthly depending on the prime rate. We also understand that we must pay interest on it monthly and in nine years will have to begin repaying principal. There are no prepayment penalties.

It sounds too good to be true that we could pay off our 8.75 percent mortgage loan with a HELOC at a current rate of 4.75 percent. Are we missing something? –Barbara