There are two different types of home equity loans that can be used in personal debt consolidation. There are home equity loans with a fixed repayment schedule that are for fixed amounts and there are home equity lines of credit. This is more like a credit card, which allows you to borrow up to certain amount and can pay it back with more flexibility.
Most of the home equity plans set a fixed time frame that you can borrow money. At the end of this time frame, you will no longer be able to borrow any more money. During this time frame, you will want to pay all you can towards personal debt consolidation. You may be required to pay the balance in the end, or you may have another time frame before the complete amount is due.
Some plans have a minimum amount that you have to take out when you first get the loan or you have penalties if you pay the loan offer. The great advantage to a home equity loan is that they generally will always have a low interest rate, the interest that you paid on the loan is tax deductible if you itemize, and the payment plans are generally low and affordable. Several home equity lines will only allow you to pay the interest each month. Home equity loans are also extremely easy to obtain if you have decent credit and you are a homeowner. These loans generally very low or no closing costs at all to you. There's a good possibility that you have to pay for an appraisal, but typically that's all you will have to pay for.
If you have already established a good first mortgage in place, a home equity loan is a very good option for personal debt consolidation. Also, when you finance you home it's a great idea to obtain a home equity line of credit regardless if you need the loan or not. It's a security blanket to just have in place. If you lose your job or fall into financial difficulties, it can become very challenging to obtain a home equity loan. No one can predict the future, so by establishing a home equity line of credit your options become available in the case you fall on hard financial times.