10 Tips for Paying Off Your Home Mortgage Faster
For most Canadian homeowners, paying off their mortgage as early as possible has a top priority. Paying down extra principal in the early years of your mortgage loan by whatever means possible can reduce the life of your mortgage, and dramatically lower the interest you’ll pay throughout your mortgage loan life.
Any additional payment you make on your mortgage (also known as a prepayment) will save you a lot of money in interest. The interest portion of your payment is determined by the outstanding balance of your mortgage (principal and interest). As the outstanding balance diminishes, less of your payment goes towards interest and more comes off the balance. Here are a few home mortgage tips and ways on how to pay off sooner while minimizing your mortgage costs:
- Increasing the amount of your payments annually to the maximum you can afford
The upside is that most lenders will allow you to reduce it again to the previous level if it turns out to be too great a burden or your circumstances change.
- Prepayments provide you great return over your investment
If you pay an average 6.5% mortgage interest rate towards your mortgage payment, for each $1,000 reduction of your mortgage principal results in $65 savings after tax cash annually.
- Utilize your RRSP driven tax rebate as a mortgage prepayment method
Even if you can only prepay annually, make sure tax refunds are set aside for paying down your mortgage. Many Canadians borrow (at prime) to buy an RRSP to ensure the maximum rebate. When applied to the mortgage principal, this refund is a “gift that keeps on giving”. Combining the refund with the tax-free interest earned on the RRSP over the subsequent years will quickly outpace the short-term interest costs of the RRSP loan.
- Accelerated bi-weekly payment option
Increase the frequency of your mortgage payments; make accelerated bi-weekly payments to get a free principal reduction equivalent to one full mortgage payment every year.
- Make use of double-up privileges wherever possible
Tell yourself that you will “skip-a-payment” whenever necessary.. then skip only when you absolutely must.
- Round your mortgage payments up
By adding even a nominal amount of dollar value, say $10 per payment, the amount of interest you are saving will be unbelievable, and the extra money is relatively painless to part with.
- Making lump-sum payments whenever possible
By decreasing the principal of the mortgage, your payments will not be allocated as much to interest, thereby accelerating the end of your mortgage.
- Keeping the same payments when mortgage rates have fallen down
If the payment amount has not been a problem so far, then keep it the same, thereby paying down the principal faster.
- Raise the mortgage payments in line with increased income on an after-tax basis
If your income increases, don’t keep your mortgage payments the same. Although the disposable income may be fun to spend on unnecessary luxuries in the short-term, the long-term benefits of being mortgage free faster a far outweighs the short-term sacrifice.
- Paying extra on your payment dates
Most lenders will allow you to make additional payments on your mortgage, sometimes referred to as “double-up” payments. These extra amounts are applied to the principal only and reduce your mortgage balance, which helps you pay your mortgage off faster.
The faster you reduce the outstanding balance on your mortgage, the more you will save in interest charges. Since prepayment policies vary between institutions to institutions and types of mortgages, you should consult your mortgage agreement for complete knowledge about the availability of the prepayment options for you. These are some of the consumer mortgage tips specifically written for the Canadian home mortgage market but could be equally workable for any other country in general as well.