The problem with credit and store card debts is that you’re looking at high rates of interest for personal lending. Worse, it’s easy to get caught with penalty charges if you miss a payment. Debt consolidation always looks a good idea because you can roll up all the different high interest loans into a single package secured on your home. Because you’re paying this lump sum off over many years, the instalments are a significant saving.
The first time you should think about this is when you’re changing your home. Let’s say you are trading down. You have a good equity in the house being sold and the amount you’re paying for the new home will leave that equity largely untouched. Consolidating your existing personal debts into the mortgage loan can work well. You pay off all your other debts out of the sale price and free more of your income with the reduced repayments. Alternatively, you have an equity in your existing home and decide either to refinance your existing mortgage to include personal debts or you take out a second mortgage.
You need to use a mortgage calculator to see whether this makes commercial sense. It depends on exactly how much interest you’re saving, the length of time you expect to stay in the house and whether you are expecting the value of the house to appreciate. Then there are the tax implications and the extent to which other costs may rise, e.g. the mortgage insurance premiums.
Even more important if the calculation shows that the consolidation is favorable is what you will do with the amount saved every month. The best possible strategy would be to use every cent of the savings to accelerate repayment of the mortgage. The first worst strategy would be to treat this a free money to spend as if there’s no tomorrow. The absolute worse strategy would be to take on more personal debt. The thinking goes: house prices always go up sooner or later. When that happens, I can do another debt consolidation and write off all this new debt with another cash out. When you’re in a collapsing property bubble, this is a very bad idea.