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6 Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

·5 min read

That mortgage. It sure does hang over your head sometimes, doesn't it? However, with the right mindset and a commitment to pay it off, you can pay off the mortgage early. 

It can save you thousands of dollars in the long run if you do decide to make that commitment. Take a look at this example: 

You borrowed for a $150,000 home with a 30-year term mortgage at 4% interest. By the end of 30 years, you'll have almost doubled the amount you spend because you'll pay over $107,000 in interest! 

Thinking of how much you'll owe in interest may make you a little sick to your stomach, so let's look at the ways you might nip your mortgage in the bud early.

1. Get a side hustle.

You may need to come up with extra money to make extra mortgage payments, so why not consider a side hustle?

If your mind automatically goes toward slinging burgers after your regular nine-to-five, remember that you don't have to get a job at the Burger Barn to make side hustle money. Nor do you have to drive people around à la Uber. 

Pick a skill you already have — writing, tutoring kids, babysitting — whatever it is that you love to do, and side hustle it.

Know that you don't have to make a ridiculous amount of money through your side hustle to make an impact on your mortgage payments.

Let's take a quick look at what happens if you add just $100 extra to your mortgage payments every month. You would pay over $25,000 less in interest. You’d also reach your loan's maturity date a whopping 70 months earlier than if you just made your regular mortgage payment each month.

2. Make biweekly payments.

Do you currently make a scheduled mortgage payment every month? If so, run (don't walk) to your computer (or call your lender directly) and change your scheduled mortgage payments to biweekly payments instead.

What's a biweekly payment? You choose to split your usual monthly payment in half and send in a payment every two weeks. In other words, let's say you normally pay $1,500 for your monthly mortgage payments. On a biweekly schedule, you'd make $750 payments every two weeks.

Why do biweekly payments help you get ahead? After all, isn't it the same as making the same full payment each month?

Actually, no. 

The natural yearly calendar works to your advantage. You end up making 13 payments instead of just 12, which amounts to 26 half payments. 

You'll have already budgeted for that $750 to come out of your account every week, so you might feel a small pinch with that 13th payment but it can save you big money in the long run.

3. Refinance your mortgage.

Refinancing your mortgage simply means that you opt for either a lower interest rate or shorter term on your mortgage — or both. You can also get cash out of your home's equity when you refinance. 

However, one of the best ways to pay off your mortgage early involves refinancing your mortgage to a lower term. For example, you may choose to refinance from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. 

For example, let's say that you bought a $200,000 home at a 4% interest rate with a 30-year term. You'd pay $955 monthly and over the course of 30 years, the home would cost you $343,739 (if you made no down payment at all). 

On the other hand, let's say you chose a 15-year mortgage at 3% interest rate. You'd pay $1,381 per month and would cost you $248,609 total over the course of 15 years (without a down payment). 

You'll own your home faster and save a lot of money when you switch to a 15-year mortgage. As you can see, 15-year loans have lower interest rates but carry higher monthly payments.  

4. Round up your mortgage payments.

Not interested in refinancing or making biweekly payments? Simply rounding up your monthly mortgage payments to the next $100 can make a significant difference in paying off your mortgage early. 

How could this work? You pay $1,100 instead of $1,002. Or maybe you pay $1,000 instead of $960. Any little bit that you contribute over time can reduce your overall interest amount and allow you to pay your mortgage off sooner.  

5. Slowly increase the amount you pay.

This option requires you to make a serious commitment. Put a reminder on your calendar to increase your mortgage payment on the first of every month for an entire year. Choose to increase your mortgage payment by a predetermined amount — such as $25. (That's less than it costs for dinner at a restaurant!) 

By the end of the year, you'll have added an additional $300 to your yearly mortgage payments! By slowly raising the amount you pay, you'll never notice a difference.

6. Apply unanticipated income toward the mortgage.

Did Great Aunt Gertie leave you money when she passed? Instead of splurging on a hot tub, use that unexpected gift to make an extra mortgage payment. Even though it really doesn't seem like fun to use a windfall this way, it might make the most sense if you want to pay off your mortgage early. 

Make a list of other ways you might use extra income to apply it to your mortgage. Consider applying any amount of "extras" toward your mortgage, such as end-of-year bonuses, any tax returns or holiday gifts from your parents or grandparents. 

Use a Combination of Tactics

You can't go wrong with any of these approaches when you want to pay off your mortgage early. In fact, you can even use a combination of these options. Why not use unexpected income, refinance your mortgage and use biweekly payments all at once? 

Attacking your mortgage from several angles can help you meet your goals in no time at all. You might even end up paying your mortgage off way sooner than you anticipated because you build momentum toward paying off your mortgage!

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