You don’t need us to tell you that buying a house is a big investment. When you finance a home with a traditional 30-year mortgage, you’re basically locking yourself into a certain payment every month for a huge chunk of your life. But did you know there are ways to pay off a mortgage earlier than that? Here are a few ways to work in a little extra money toward your loan and pay it off earlier than expected.
Pay a little extra each month.
Your mortgage payment is usually made up of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. That amount will fluctuation from time to time depending on how much you have or need in escrow to pay insurance and tax bills. If you can throw a little extra money at the principal loan amount each month, you’ll garner equity faster and pay your loan off earlier than. Think about adding an extra one or two hundred dollars to your monthly payment. Before you do that, though, get in touch with your mortgage company to ask if there’s anything you need to do to make sure those extra dollars get applied to the principal. Some companies might require a notation on your check telling them where to apply the extra money.
Make an extra payment every year.
If you have a strict monthly budget and can’t apply extra money to each payment, try making one extra payment per year instead. If you can save 1/12 of the payment amount over the year, you’ll have an extra 13th payment ready to go when a year is up. If you know you get a bonus at a certain time of year, you can also plan on using some of that to make that extra yearly payment.
Refinance to a shorter-term mortgage.
If you’ve had your mortgage for a few years, think about refinancing to a 15-year mortgage. Say you’ve been paying your mortgage for five years. Refinancing to a 15-year mortgage means you’ll pay it off ten years earlier than you would have if you’d stuck with your 30-year mortgage. Even though shorter-term mortgages have slightly lower interest rates, refinancing to one will more than likely raise your payments, so make sure that won’t be too much a of a burden.
Apply unexpected funds toward your loan.
Did you come into some money unexpectedly? Maybe you got a great tax refund or a larger than normal Christmas bonus. Sure, you could use that money to go on a big vacation, or you could stick it in a savings account somewhere; but apply at least a portion of that money to your mortgage is an extremely wise move.
Paying off your mortgage early means paying fewer dollars in interest as the amount of the loan shrinks over the years. Just make sure you don’t overburden your budget by putting too much of your income toward your mortgage.