For the new year I want to offer the following suggestion on how to build equity quicker. First, consider the shortest term mortgage possible. Can you refi from a 30 year fixed into a 15 year fixed, and still afford the payments. If so, consider that interest rates are still low and contact your local lender to get the ball rolling so when the rate gets to your magic number, your ready to act. Maybe 15 years is to short, so look into 20 years.
The other options, make an extra payment per year, or switch to a bi-weekly mortgage.
All of these options have the same goal in mind, build equity as quick as possible, and someday have no mortgage. This is a real advantage of owning real estate vs. renting.
Lastly, I think having a home equity line of credit is a good financial tool, if used only for home improvements. Do not buy a new car with it. Your house is not an ATM. Misuse of HELOC's can be dangerous financially.