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Understanding Mortgage Payments

by Doris Arnold 02/06/2018

 

Two thirds of American homeowners are somewhere in the process of paying off a mortgage. It may seem like common sense that everyone should try to pay off their mortgage sooner rather than later. However, there are circumstances when it benefits a homeowner more to hold onto their mortgage longer.


In this article, we’ll offer some tips on paying off your mortgage, when you should refinance, and offer some tools that will help you along the long road to debt-free homeownership. If you’re a homeowner and find yourself asking these questions, read on.

I can afford to pay more each month on my mortgage, but should I?

In many cases, paying off your home as quickly as possible saves you money in the long run. A shorter loan term means less interest applied to your loan which could save you thousands of dollars in accrued interest.


What many people don’t think about is whether that money could be better spent elsewhere. If your mortgage interest rate isn’t too high, you might be better off allocating that extra income toward investments or retirement funds where they could earn you more in the long run.


This technique is typically most beneficial for younger homeowners. In your 20s and 30s you stand the most to gain from long-term investments, especially tax-benefitted retirement funds. Ultimately you’ll have to do the math, which is tricky because circumstances change; markets vary, our income goes up and down, etc. However, a good starting place is to determine whether you could earn more in retirement and investments than you could by paying off your mortgage sooner and therefore saving on interest. 

I’ve owned my home for a few years now, should I refinance?

Refinancing is a term that has become ubiquitous for homeowners. There are a few important things to understand about refinancing. First, lowering your monthly payments is not always ideal if it means you’ll end up paying more interest in the long run. Ideally, refinancing your mortgage will help you pay the least amount in total.

One way this can be accomplished is by refinancing to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage which often darry slightly lower interest rates. This option is designed for people who have improved their credit and increased their income since signing their first mortgage.

Math isn’t my strong suit. How can I figure out my finances?

If all of the numbers and percentages associated with mortgages and refinancing seems overwhelming--you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are mortgage and refinancing calculators that will give you a good idea of where you stand if you decide to increase your payments or to attempt to refinance your loan. Here are some great tools:
  • Use this mortgage calculator for determining how much you would save by making extra payments.

  • This refinance calculator will help you understand the potential benefits of refinancing your mortgage.

  • To determine how much you could earn through investments (rather than paying more toward your mortgage) use this helpful tool.

  • You might be able to increase your savings by creating a better budget for yourself. This website will help you make a detailed budget and hold yourself accountable each month.



About the Author

Author
Doris Arnold
Real Estate is, if nothing else a people business. For me as a leading real estate professional, my work is not so much about buildings, contracts and inspections; it's about people, their dreams, aspirations and the most important place in their world- their home. I am a people person through and through. Simply put, people fascinate me... spend a few minutes with me and you can sense this unique attribute. I listen intently to you and most importantly, I have a genuine interest in what you have to say. Follow me around for a day and you will witness the powerful and positive effect I have on the people around me, whether it's my family, close friends, or a community acquaintance. Undoubtedly, you will see a caring and committed woman who makes a difference in people's lives. If you ask my past clients what they liked about working with me, some would say it was my business savvy and real estate expertise that impressed them, but most of them would comment on how much I cared about them. I really listen to what my clients want and do what I can to anticipate their needs. I always try to stay one step ahead and keep in constant contact. My clients know I am always working for them to keep them informed and up-to-date, and I have a highly organized way of walking my clients throughout the process of buying or selling their home that makes them feel confident nothing will slip through the cracks. I absolutely love what I do and I can tell you "I'm in The Business of People." What that means to me is that I have the privilege of helping my clients achieve their dreams. What that means to you is that you can count on me to care about what matters most to you because I make your real estate needs my top priority.