We have about 45,000 equity in our home (which we'd like to use for home improvements), and have stable employment histories (5 years plus). Have been late on our mortgage once in the past year. No bankruptcies or foreclosures, just late bills and credit card payments which have lowered our scores. Homeowner (my partner) has moderate student loans ($20,000) and auto loans ($10,000) with an annual income of around $35,000.
We're looking to get about a $10,000 loan-- either home equity or home equity line of credit (not sure of the difference). Questions:
1. Is it reasonable to expect that any lender would work with us at this point? If so, does anyone know of reputable lenders off the top of their heads, or a site online that could reliably help us "shop" for a loan? We're wary of getting scammed.
2. What is the process? Does it involve an appraisal, closing costs, etc.?
3. Would you recommend home equity loan or home equity line of credit?
4. Would using a cosigner significantly improve the chances of approval?
5. Would waiting until we can demonstrate a year of on-time mortgage payments improve our chances?