Home equity loans are loans that are not used to purchase property, but rather to make part of your home’s equity available to you without you having to sell your home. The loan is secured by property that you already own. The loan can be secured by a first mortgage, but it is usually secured by a second mortgage. The equity in your home is the difference between its value and what you owe on it. For example, if your home has a value of $300,000 and you have a first mortgage of $100,000, your equity is $200,000.