Most homeowners would love to be able to pay off their mortgage early. However, few see it as a possibility when they take into account their earnings and other bills.
There are, however, a few ways to pay down your mortgage earlier than planned. But first, let’s talk about when it makes sense to try and pay off your mortgage.
When to consider paying off your mortgage early
If you recently got a promotion, have someone move in with you who contributes to paying the bills, or recently got a secondary form of income, you might want to consider making extra payments on your mortgage.
However, having extra money doesn’t always mean you should spend it immediately on your home loan.
First, consider if you have a large enough emergency savings fund. It might be tempting to try and throw any extra money at your mortgage as soon as possible, but there are other financial commitments you should plan for as well.
If you have kids who will be applying to college soon, remember that student aid takes into account their parents’ finances. If your children plan on applying to institutions with high tuition, then your equity will be counted against you.
Refinancing to pay your mortgage early
Refinancing your home loan is one option if you’re considering increasing the payments on your mortgage. If you can refinance a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan with a lower interest rate, you’ll save money in two ways--your lower interest rate and the fact that you’ll be accruing interest for less time.
There is a downside to refinancing. Once you refinance, you’re locked into your new payment amount. So, if your higher income isn’t dependable, it might not make sense to commit to a higher monthly payment that you aren’t sure you’re going to be able to keep paying.
There’s also the matter of refinancing costs. Just like the costs associated with signing on your mortgage, you’ll have to pay closing costs on refinancing. You’ll need to weigh the cost of refinancing against the amount you’ll save on interest over the term of your mortgage to see if it truly makes sense to go through the refinancing process.
Paying more on your current loan
Even if you aren’t sure that refinancing is the best option, there are other ways you can make payments on your mortgage to pay it off years sooner than your term length.
One of the common methods is to simply make thirteen payments each year instead of twelve. To do this, homeowners often use their tax returns or savings to make the thirteenth payment. Over a thirty year mortgage, this could save you over full two years of added interest.
A second option is to make two bi-weekly payments rather than one monthly payment. By making biweekly payments you have the ability to make 26 payments in a year. If you were to just make two payments per month then you would make 24 total payments. Over time, those two extra payments per year add up.
If you want to enjoy a successful homebuying experience, it may be beneficial to hone your house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns. That way, you can speed up the process of finding and buying your dream residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your house search.
1. Review Your Short and Long-Term Goals
Consider your immediate and long-term goals. By doing so, you can focus on finding a home that falls in line with your aspirations.
For instance, if you want to work in the big city, you may want to search for residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you have children, you may want to explore houses near top schools and parks.
Be flexible as you consider homes in assorted cities and towns, too. If you are open to homebuying opportunities in different areas, you may be able to quickly find a great residence at a budget-friendly price.
2. Obtain a Mortgage
With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can narrow your home search to residences that correspond to your budget.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, and you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists, and these professionals can help you determine which type of mortgage will suit you perfectly.
Also, you may want to ask questions as you review your mortgage options. Home financing specialists at banks and credit unions are happy to reply to your mortgage questions, and ultimately, help you make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
Finding a home in a particular city or town may be tough, especially if you try to navigate the real estate market on your own. Conversely, if you hire an real estate agent, you can get the help you need to discover your dream house.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will go above and beyond the call of duty to transform your homeownership dream into a reality. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and budget. Next, a real estate agent will provide you with details about available homes in myriad cities and towns. A real estate agent then will help you kick off a home search so you can locate your ideal house.
Of course, once you discover your dream home, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence as well. And if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will devote the necessary time and resources to ensure you can immediately finalize your home purchase.
Take the guesswork out of finding your dream residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of acquiring a terrific house that you can enjoy both now and in the future.
4 Bernard St, Billerica, MA 01821
If you're an apartment renter ready to take the plunge into home ownership, there are a lot of reasons to be excited! Owning your own home does bring with it additional work and responsibilities, but the feeling of pride that accompanies it makes it all worthwhile!
Once you get used to the idea that "the buck stops here" and that there's no landlord to handle repairs and maintenance any more, it won't take long to get into the rhythm of being an established property owner. Here are a few tips to help ensure that your first experience with home ownership is a satisfying one.
- Get a good real estate agent. A real estate professional can provide you with valuable guidance, advice, and information about houses you're considering in your desired neighborhoods and price ranges. A buyers' agent can help you avoid many of the potential pitfalls of buying your first home and help you stay within budget. They'll assist you in clarifying your priorities and work on your behalf to find homes that meet your requirements. A service-oriented agent will not only point out the positive aspects of houses you're considering, but they'll also discuss ideas for adapting the home to your specific needs and lifestyle.
- Hire an experienced property inspector. A seasoned home inspector can take a close look at the condition of the house and property you're considering and help make sure there are no major structural defects, safety issues, or operational problems with the home's systems and components. Although every property inspector approaches their job a little differently, their inspection service should include everything from the roof and foundation to the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. They may also report to you on the condition of the home's insulation, its exterior, and any existing or potential drainage problems on the property. Certain aspects of the house may be excluded from the inspection if it's difficult or unsafe to gain access to them. A top-notch home inspector can also provide useful insights into repairs that need to be made on the house. As a side note, professional property inspectors are often members of The American Society of Home Inspectors and follow the organization's Standards of Practice.
- Visit a lot of different houses for sale before making a final decision. It also pays to have a checklist with you to keep track of how each house stacks up to your requirements and expectations.