PNC HELOC Lender Review

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ByChristopher Boston
Edited byBenjamar Gabawa
ByChristopher Boston
Edited byBenjamar Gabawa

Updated: November 20, 2023

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

PNC stands out as a HELOC lender with its choice of variable or fixed rates, a 0.25% discount for automated payments and support for those facing financial hardship. It's a solid choice for homeowners who prefer online management and flexible rate options. However, PNC's availability isn't nationwide and its eligibility criteria could be clearer.

It could be especially fitting for borrowers planning long-term home projects or seeking financial safety nets. If you're in a serviced state and value these features, PNC could be a beneficial partner for your financial journey.


  • PNC Bank

    • 8.34% to 14.55% for variable-rateAPR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • $10,000 to 1,000,000Loan Amount Range
    • 10-year draw period; repayment period of up to 30 yearsRepayment Terms
    • 3 days after closingTime to Receive Funds

    PNC’s Choice Home Equity Line of Credit (CHELOC) comes with two rate options: variable and fixed. That means you can choose a flexible rate that changes with the market or lock in a stable rate for all or part of your balance during the draw period. If you’re looking to make your home more accessible or energy-efficient like adding a wheelchair ramp or solar panels, using your HELOC funds on these might make the amount tax-deductible. It's always wise to check with your tax advisor, but this could be a win-win: bettering your home and getting a tax break. Lastly, PNC rewards you for keeping things simple. Set up and maintain automated payments from a qualifying PNC checking account, and you'll score a 0.25%. With these features, PNC stands out, offering tangible benefits that can make your HELOC experience smoother and potentially more rewarding.

    Pros

    • Offers both fixed and variable rates
    • 0.25% interest rate discount with automatic payments
    • Online application tracking via Tracker
    • High loan amounts
    • Financial hardship assistance options

    Cons

    • Not available in six states (Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and South Dakota)
    • Annual fee of $50
    • Fees for establishing fixed-rate parts post-origination
    • Reimbursement of closing costs if closed within 36 months
    • Limited information on eligibility requirements
    PNC Bank

Features of PNC

With a PNC HELOC, you can use the funds for anything from home renovations to consolidating debt. Be aware of any fees involved, and understand the draw and repayment periods, as these will impact your financial planning. PNC also provides repayment assistance and customer service to guide you through hiccups you might encounter along the way. Evaluating these aspects can help you decide if PNC meets your financial needs and if it's the right HELOC lender for you.

What Can You Use Your Funds For?

Understanding how you can utilize funds from a HELOC directly impacts your financial planning. Unlike some lenders, PNC offers a HELOC that covers a wide range of financial needs and goals.

Here's a more detailed look at how you can use a PNC HELOC:

  • Home renovation: Transform your living space by funding major home improvements or renovations, potentially increasing your property's market value.

  • Mortgage refinance: Take advantage of HELOC's typically lower interest rates to refinance your mortgage, potentially reducing your monthly payments or shortening the loan term.

  • Consolidate debt: Simplify your finances, such as credit card balances or auto loans, by consolidating debts into a single, lower-interest HELOC, simplifying your payments and possibly saving on interest.

  • Repairs or maintenance: Use the funds for essential repairs or maintenance, ensuring your home remains safe and functional without the immediate financial strain.

  • Finance a purchase: Whether it's a new car, major appliance or other significant purchase, a HELOC can provide the necessary funds without the high interest rates often associated with other types of loans.

  • College tuition: Invest in education using a HELOC to cover college tuition costs, potentially offering a more flexible and lower-interest option than traditional student loans.

PNC's HELOC is a versatile financial tool that allows you to make choices that best suit your personal and financial aspirations. It's an opportunity to align your borrowing with your life goals, putting you in control of your financial journey.

Fees and Discounts with a PNC HELOC

Navigating the fee structure of a HELOC is necessary to understand your HELOC's total cost. PNC offers diverse options, but it's important to note that they come with various fees. Here's a closer look at the fees you might encounter:

  • Annual fee: Remember there's a modest $50 annual charge.

  • Title insurance: If your line is over $500,000 or in certain other cases, title insurance is mandatory. It can cost you anywhere from $605 to $16,270.

  • Fixed-rate part fee: If you're planning to lock in a fixed rate part, prepare to pay a $100 fee each time after the account opening. However, it's waived if you do it when you first get your line of credit.

  • Insurance requirements: Just like any lender, PNC requires you to have property insurance on the home, securing your HELOC. Depending on your location, flood insurance may be necessary, too.

  • Closing costs: PNC covers some initial costs, but there's a catch. If you decide to close your line within the first 36 months, you'll need to reimburse them (except in Texas, where this doesn't apply).

  • Pay by phone: Paying by phone is free if you use the automated service or $7 with an agent. If you're paying from a PNC Bank account, it's always free.

Despite the list of fees, PNC rewards borrowers who opt for convenience and consistency. By setting up automatic payments from a qualifying PNC checking account, you'll enjoy a 0.25% discount on your variable APR. It can be a good move since it saves you money and simplifies your monthly financial routine. However, if you decide to cancel these automatic payments, the discount will no longer apply.

Draw and Repayment Periods

Knowing the nuances of the draw and repayment periods for a PNC HELOC tells you how long you can borrow money and when you need to pay it back. Getting this right can work to your advantage.

PNC offers a 10-year draw period. During this time, you can borrow money up to your credit limit as needed. There is no minimum draw in most states. The only exception is Texas, where you must take out at least $4,000. When it comes to payments, you'll pay at least $25 or more each month, depending on how much you've borrowed and the interest rates at that time. If you've locked in a fixed rate for a portion of your HELOC, you'll also pay a part of that monthly. Any money you pay back goes back into your credit line. That means you can borrow it again if you need to.

After the draw period ends, you enter the repayment period, which can run up to 30 years, depending on your terms. You can't borrow any more funds. Instead, you'll start paying back what you owe. Like the draw period, your monthly payments will be at least $25 or more, depending on the interest and other fees.



Loan Amounts and Interest Rates

PNC offers HELOCs with fixed and variable interest rates. Opting to get the former means your interest rate stays the same over time, making your payments predictable. On the other hand, variable rates can change, indicating your payments could go up or down depending on the market.

PNC lets you choose how much you want to borrow, from $10,000 up to $1,000,000. However, the value of your home, also known as 'loan to value,' comes into play. If you're a PNC customer, you can borrow up to 89.9% for a first lien and 85% for a second. Non-PNC customers can get up to 80% for a second lien.

One feature unique to PNC is your ability to switch between fixed and variable rates. Start with a variable rate, and if you see a low fixed rate you like, you can lock it in. Or, if you have a fixed rate but prefer a variable one, you can switch back.

Variable rates currently range from 8.34% to 14.55%, with a cap of 24.00%. Fixed rates depend on several factors, but once you choose one, it won't change. The minimum to lock in a fixed rate is $5,000. These choices give you the flexibility to manage your loan in a way that suits your financial situation.



Repayment Assistance

Choosing a HELOC lender isn't just about the money you can borrow; it's also about the support you'll get if times get tough. Life can throw curveballs, and PNC understands that. They offer help if you're struggling to make payments due to unexpected events.

Here's how PNC can assist:

Assistance
In-depth Description
Best For

Forbearance or Partial Pay

This plan allows for reduced payments or no payments for a set period. It's a temporary relief to help you recover financially, but you'll have to repay the missed amounts later.

Best for those facing a temporary financial setback who need a short break from payments to get back on their feet.

Reinstatement

If you're expecting a cash inflow soon, you can make a lump-sum payment by a certain date to bring your loan current. This follows a forbearance plan and helps you avoid foreclosure.

Ideal for those who have a confirmed sum of money coming in soon that can cover the overdue amounts.

Repayment Plan

This plan sets a defined period for you to catch up on late payments by making your regular payments plus an additional agreed-upon amount.

Suitable for those who can manage their regular payments and can afford a little extra to clear the backlog.

Your loan terms are permanently changed to make payments more manageable, often after a trial period. This could be a solution for long-term or lasting financial hardship.

Perfect for borrowers facing long-term financial changes who need a more significant adjustment to their payment terms.

Short Sale

If you can't afford to keep your home, a short sale lets you sell your home for less than the outstanding loan balance, potentially satisfying your debt.

Beneficial for those who need to leave their homes and are looking for ways to avoid foreclosure.

From plans that allow breathing space in payments to options that help you transition to more affordable living, PNC's support mechanisms are designed with the understanding that everyone's financial journey is unique. Choosing PNC means choosing a lender that's prepared to navigate the complexities of life's financial landscape alongside you.



Customer Service

When you're borrowing money, especially with something like a HELOC, you want to know you can reach your lender easily if you have questions or issues. Good customer service can make a big difference. With PNC, you've got several ways to get in touch:

  • Phone: Current customers can call 800-822-5626 anytime. Do you want to chat with a real person? Representatives are on the line Monday to Friday from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. PT and weekends from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT.

  • Twitter: Hit up PNC on Twitter any day of the week from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT for a quick response.

  • In-person or phone: Not a PNC customer yet? No worries. Just drop by a local branch or give them a call.

  • Online help: Check out the Home Lending Help portal on PNC's website for frequently asked questions and helpful tools.

Good support is vital, and PNC's got your back with plenty of ways to reach out.

Eligibility Criteria

Trying to get a HELOC is like applying for a part-time job — lenders want to know you're a good fit. Unfortunately, PNC doesn't spell out all their requirements clearly, making it a bit tricky to see if you'll qualify. They focus a lot on your property where they have specific rules like your home being a homestead property and not letting you borrow more than 80% of your home's value.

Like other HELOC lenders, PNC also looks at a few other related key factors. These include:

  • Credit Score: A higher credit score usually means you've been good with money, making lenders more likely to offer you a HELOC with favorable terms.

  • Income: Lenders want to see that you have a steady flow of cash that can cover your HELOC payments on top of any other expenses you might have.

  • Debt-to-income ratio: This is a measure of your monthly debt payments compared to your income. Think of it as a balance scale; too much debt can tip the scales out of your favor.

  • Home equity: This is the part of your house that you truly own — the value of your home minus any mortgage you still owe. The more equity you have, the more you're likely able to borrow.

Understanding these can help you prepare to apply and increase your chances of getting the green light from PNC.

Is PNC Right for You?

Choosing the right lender for your HELOC is about making sure you're teaming up with a bank that fits your needs. Think of it as picking a partner for a long road trip — you want someone reliable, understanding and ready to support you all the way. Taking the time to assess if PNC is that partner for you is crucial. It can save you from headaches down the road and ensure you get a deal that matches your financial goals.



Who Can Benefit From a HELOC From PNC?

Navigating the waters of home equity can be complex, but PNC's Choice Home Equity Line of Credit offers a beacon of flexibility with both variable and fixed rate options. This versatility is advantageous to homeowners seeking the ability to respond to market fluctuations or secure a stable rate during the draw period, thus tailoring their financial plans to their advantage.

PNC's tech-forward approach makes it attractive to digitally savvy borrowers, especially with its Tracker tool. Its digital platform simplifies the loan application process, allowing for easy document uploads and loan tracking.

If you're open to setting up automated payments from a PNC checking account, you get a 0.25% rate discount. Besides the financial benefit, it also encourages timely payments, aligning well with those who cherish both savings and simplicity.

Lastly, PNC extends a hand to homeowners facing unexpected financial challenges. With their financial hardship assistance options, PNC ensures that life's unforeseen events don't have to spell disaster, providing a cushion that can help prevent temporary setbacks from causing lasting financial damage.



Who Shouldn't Secure a HELOC From PNC?

PNC's offerings might not align with everyone's HELOC needs. For instance, residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and South Dakota are in for a disappointment since PNC doesn't extend its services there. These borrowers might need to look at other local lenders that can provide them with a HELOC loan they need.

Those needing immediate funding may also find PNC's processing and funding timeline misaligned with their needs. That may prompt them to search for lenders who can accelerate the journey.

Homeowners find themselves at a crossroads with PNC if they plan to close their HELOC within 36 months. It requires them to reimburse closing costs, which could set them adrift financially. A lender without such stipulations might be more suitable instead.

Lastly, borrowers who prefer transparency upfront might find themselves navigating through the fog because of PNC's nebulous eligibility criteria. They might fare better with lenders who chart out their requirements more explicitly.

How to Apply

Secure a HELOC from PNC is a journey that, when mapped out, can lead to smoother sailing. Knowing the steps beforehand is like having a clear recipe for a complex dish — it sets you up for success and keeps the guesswork at bay. Let's walk through this step-by-step guide together.

1
Application

Your first step is filling out the application form and deciding between a variable or a fixed rate. This choice will shape your repayment terms, so consider it carefully.

2
Document submission

Once PNC reviews your initial application and peeks at your credit history, you'll need to upload your income documents. PNC's Tracker tool is not only for document submission but also lets you keep tabs on how your application progresses.

3
Loan processing

The ball is back in PNC’s court as they verify your income and your home's value. They’ll delve into your credit history, employment and all the documentation you’ve provided to ensure everything checks out.

4
Property valuation

Expect an independent service to assess your property, typically beginning with the exterior. In some instances, they might also need to look inside your home.

5
Closing and funding

You'll arrange a closing appointment to sign your loan documents. It’s important to bring two forms of identification, with at least one being a photo ID.

6
Right to cancel

If you're using your primary residence as collateral, you're entitled to a three-day "cooling-off" period mandated by law. If you have second thoughts, it’s your chance to reconsider and cancel without consequences.

7
Disbursement of funds

After the cancellation period ends, the funds you requested at closing will be released, typically the following day. However, your full credit line may take up to 10 days to be available for additional disbursements.

Knowing each step in detail demystifies the process of obtaining a HELOC with PNC. It's a roadmap that illuminates your path, ensuring you're equipped and ready for every milestone.

What to Do If You’re Denied

Getting a "no" on your HELOC application with PNC can be a bummer, but it's not the end of your financial journey. It's just a detour that might lead you to a better path. Here's what you can do next:

  • Dig into the details: Understand why PNC denied your application. They'll provide reasons, and knowing them can help you fix any issues.

  • Boost your borrowing power: Work on improving whatever led to your denial. This might mean boosting your credit score, lowering your debt-to-income ratio or saving for a larger equity stake in your home.

  • Try and try again: Once you've addressed the reasons for denial, consider reapplying. With improved eligibility, you might get a yes.

  • Explore elsewhere: There are plenty of other lenders out there. Consider alternative financing options like personal loans or other lenders' HELOC products.

  • Get guidance: Sometimes, you need a financial guru. Seeking advice from a financial counselor can provide personalized strategies to improve your financial health.

Being denied by PNC doesn't close all doors. It's a chance to reassess, improve and explore new opportunities. Remember, every financial setback can lead to a stronger comeback. Keep your head up and your finances in check, and you'll find the right path.

FAQ About PNC as a HELOC Lender

If you're considering PNC as your HELOC lender, you might have some questions. We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you better understand what PNC offers.

What is the minimum credit score required for a PNC HELOC?
How quickly can I receive funds with PNC?
What states is PNC HELOC available in?
Are there any fees associated with a PNC HELOC?
What can I use a PNC HELOC for?
How can I contact PNC's customer service?

About Christopher Boston


Christopher Boston headshot

Christopher (Croix) Boston was the Head of Loans content at MoneyGeek, with over five years of experience researching higher education, mortgage and personal loans.

Boston has a bachelor's degree from the Seattle Pacific University. They pride themselves in using their skills and experience to create quality content that helps people save and spend efficiently.


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