Paying off your mortgage can take 10 to 30 years—sometimes even longer. But putting just $25 more a week toward your mortgage payment can help you tackle your debt and cut down your repayment period by a lot.
Here's how a small weekly bump can help you pay off your mortgage early.
Among U.S. households that currently have a mortgage, the average mortgage debt is $146,962, according to ValuePenguin. For a family that owns a home, housing-related costs, including mortgage payments, are the single biggest line item and make up almost 30% of the typical household's income.
As of mid-July, the average rate is 3.75% for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, according to data from HSH.com. If you take out a $150,000 loan, your monthly mortgage payment would be about $695. Over the life of the loan, you'd pay almost $100,000 in interest.
But by adding in an extra $25 per week—so you pay $795 per month instead of $695—your repayment period would be cut down by more than six years, and you would pay almost $25,000 less in interest over the life of the loan.
Even just an extra $25 a month can save you almost two years and about $7,000 in interest.
Before you start increasing your monthly mortgage payments, speak with your lender to make sure that extra money is going towards your principal balance, and then verify on your statement that your money is being applied correctly.
You also want to avoid any prepayment penalties that may be included in the fine print of your loan agreement—some lenders will penalize you if you repay more than 20% of your total mortgage balance in one year.
If you also owe money on your credit cards or student loans, you might be better off putting that extra $25 a week toward that higher-interest debt first, suggests Joe Mellman, senior vice president of TransUnion's mortgage business. Most people don't have enough set aside in their emergency funds, and it could also be worth putting aside some extra cash so you're prepared for an unforeseen event.
If you've paid off your other debt obligations, you already have an emergency fund, and you're on track to save for retirement, then paying off your mortgage faster can be smart.
"Maybe you don't want to have to deal with a monthly payment and the worry of having debt," says Mellman. "There's a peace of mind that can come with not being in debt."
The relief that comes with being debt-free is why 28-year-old Annelisse Polanco of Naples, Florida, prioritizes paying off her mortgage. For Polanco, who doesn't have any other debt and plans to stay in her home for the rest of her life, paying a little extra each month is worth the effort.
Polanco is on a fixed 30-year repayment plan, with a monthly payment of $1,100 and a remaining balance of about $135,000. She and her husband plan to put more of their income towards home improvements in the future once their mortgage is paid off in full.
"Sometimes it's an extra $100 per month, or $200 if I can cut down on eating out, shopping, and other nonessentials," says Polanco. "We don't have any other debt, so for us, it's really about paying off this debt so we can then put that money into expanding and renovating our home once it's fully ours."
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