Most home owners still do not own their homes outright. While mortgages are fantastic tools that can put owning your dream home within reach, it is natural to want to be free of financial obligation as soon as possible. If you are interested in paying off your mortgage early, the first question to ask yourself is whether that is really the most advantageous move. If you have a retirement fund with higher returns than the interest on your mortgage, or if you have an employer who matches your retirement contributions, it may actually make more financial sense to invest your extra money rather than put it towards your mortgage.
If, however, you want to make it your first priority to be mortgage free, the first thing you’ll want to do is speak to your bank and let them know that you want to begin paying your mortgage aggressively. They should have good advice about the best way to reach your goals, and you can also ensure that your extra payments are being credited as you intend them to be, rather than towards the next month’s payment, for instance. Once you’ve worked out a plan with your bank, here are some of the best strategies to own your house as soon as possible.
Add Extra Payments
Divide your monthly payment by 12% and add that amount to each payment. This will effectively mean you are making 13 payments each year, which can shave years off your mortgage and save you lots of money in interest. Some people choose to reach the same goal by making a payment every two weeks. You can also try adding an extra payment each quarter to move a little faster still.
If you want to make movement but can’t afford a full extra payment, you can also try simply rounding up each month’s payment to the nearest round number. This puts a little extra towards your mortgage each month without ever saddling you with the full cost of another payment all at once.
Throw in the Extra
Every time you find yourself with some extra money like a bonus at work, an unexpected windfall, or a tax return, send it straight over to your mortgage. This method has the advantage of never dipping into your primary income or shrinking your everyday budget. However, it is very difficult to say how much time you are saving as it is impossible to predict when you will have extra money to contribute.
The most straightforward way to pay off your mortgage early is to refinance. Often you can even get a lower interest rate by doing this. There are usually fees and costs associated with refinancing, however, so unless the interest rates are significantly better, you may choose to simply act as if you refinanced and commit yourself to paying off your mortgage in 15 years even though your paperwork says 30.
You can use this handy mortgage payoff calculator to help you plan for your future using any of these methods.