A home will likely be the most expensive purchase you make. And with interest over 25+ years, finding little ways to pay off your mortgage sooner is ideal for many homeowners. Of course, ensuring you won’t be penalized for making additional payments or paying the loan off early is critical before you begin planning your strategy. If you want to pay off your mortgage sooner, here are some tips that may work for you.
How to Pay off Your Mortgage Sooner
Choose a home with a suitable price tag.
The first step to pay off your mortgage sooner – before even getting a mortgage – is ensuring you’re ready to buy a home. Suppose you have minimal debt, a healthy emergency fund, a large down payment, and extra funds to cover additional closing costs. You may be more prepared than most.
Ensuring your actual mortgage payment is 25% or less of your income, and being able to afford maintenance and repair costs that come with homeownership are key before buying a home. While we can’t tell the future and we don’t know how our situations will change in ten to fifteen years, setting yourself up for success when owning a home requires planning and having money set aside.
If you can put yourself in a situation where you have some extra cash flow, and you’re not ‘‘house-poor,’’ you will likely be able to pay off your mortgage sooner than expected.
Make an extra payment every month.
Making an additional payment every month can help you pay off your mortgage sooner, too. As long as you’re not penalized for making those additional payments, you will pay off your loan more quickly.
Telling your lender to put the extra payments towards the principal is key because you won’t be helping yourself with reducing the interest. If you can make additional payments at the beginning of your mortgage, when the majority of your payments go towards interest, you will help yourself out immensely. Choosing a bi-weekly payment schedule will help you as well, as you’ll be making an extra payment every year.
If you are in the middle of a 25 or 30-year mortgage, you may be able to refinance your mortgage into a 15-year loan. As long as you won’t be putting yourself into a difficult financial position, this option may help you reduce the amount of interest you pay and help you pay off your mortgage sooner.
Any time you can reduce your loan’s total length, you will be saving money on interest. If you can afford to, even if you have a 15-year mortgage, you can transition to a 10-year fixed refinance rate. If you can refinance to get a lower interest rate, you may be able to reduce your loan length.
Round up the dollar amount you pay.
If you are looking just to pay a little each month or don’t have much room in your budget to pay an extra payment, you can try rounding up your mortgage payment to the nearest $50 or $100. If your mortgage is $1,157 each month, rounding up to $1,200 helps throw some extra money towards the principal. Additionally, even adding 1/12th of your mortgage price will result in one extra month per year. Over 30 years, that’s a couple of years you could be paying off your morrtgage sooner.
An extra dollar a month plan.
This plan consists of adding $1 extra per month for the length of your mortgage. For example, if your mortgage is $900, the first month you pay $901, and the second month $902, and so on. Over 30 years, if you have a 6% fixed interest rate, and your mortgage is $900 per month, you could reduce your mortgage by eight years! That is a significant amount of time to be mortgage-free.
Use unexpected income to Pay Off Your Mortgage Sooner.
Any extra income that you receive that you may not be expecting could go towards paying the principal of your mortgage off sooner. Tax returns, bonuses, and side gig income are all examples of extra income that you could use towards the total price of your investment. If you have other high-interest debt, that should be paid first. But if the money would otherwise go into savings, you could be helping yourself out by putting it toward your mortgage.
Perhaps you have too much house for what your needs are. Maybe your kids have moved out, or you purchased a larger home and your plans have changed. Choosing a smaller home with a smaller mortgage would help you come out ahead financially and pay off your mortgage sooner. If you’re making a drastic change, you may even come out of the transaction without a mortgage at all.
Maximize your down payment.
First-time home buyers have the opportunity to make the most significant impact to pay off their mortgage sooner by making a sizeable down payment. In a perfect world, paying your entire house price in cash would be the best thing to do from a finance perspective, but that’s not doable for the majority of people. Putting the maximum amount of money towards the purchase price, you will be reducing your interest significantly.
There are many ways to pay off your mortgage sooner than expected. Paying off your mortgage sooner is one of the best ways to get ahead in life financially. Whether you have a little bit of money each month to put towards paying down your mortgage, or you’re able to pay an extra mortgage payment each month, there’s a way for you to reduce the overall length of your loan. ou’ll be on your way to a mortgage-free future much sooner than expected.
Alex Platt is a real estate agent for The Platt Group in South Florida. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise about buying and selling real estate.