Fast-tracking your mortgage
When it comes to putting your mortgage on the fast track, a little can go a long way. Here are some strategies for saving on interest costs and shaving years off your mortgage.
Increase your payment frequency. Opt for biweekly accelerated payments – take your current monthly payment and divide it in two, then set those payments for every two weeks. You'll make 26 payments a year instead of 24, and pay off your mortgage significantly faster than you would if you were making monthly payments.
Amortize frugally. While 35-year amortization periods are fairly common, don't assume that's the best option for your situation. If you can afford the higher payments, opting for a shorter amortization period will not only get you debt-free sooner, but save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Make lump sum payments. The portion of your monthly blended mortgage payment allocated toward interest is significantly higher in the infancy of your mortgage, and decreases gradually as you pay down the principal. This means that the sooner in the life of your mortgage you make a lump sum payment – whether it's your annual bonus, your income tax refund or just savings you've socked away throughout the year – the more dramatic its long-term effect will be.
Adjust your payments. If your term is coming up for renewal, you may be able to secure a lower monthly payment by taking advantage of current interest rates, which are still relatively low. But if you can still afford the payments you're making now, keep them the same amount – you'll be paying down more towards the principal without affecting your current cash flow. Likewise, if you get a raise, consider allocating a portion of your pay raise toward increasing your monthly payment – your monthly budget will never know the difference.