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Paying Off Your Home Mortgage

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There are ways to pay off your mortgage while saving on the total cost of the financing your loan. This guide is about paying off your home mortgage.
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By 9 found this helpful
August 3, 2011

Paying one additional mortgage payment each year, whether in a lump sum or monthly increments, can lower a 30-year loan down to 18 years. If you pay more than one extra payment, the number of years will decrease even more.

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Since this additional payment will be applied only to the principal and not the interest, you end up saving thousands and thousands of dollars once the home is paid off! And it also lowers the total amount of interest the borrower will pay, because it lowers the principal and length of time it will take to pay off the loan. So you save twice with each overpayment. Make sure you have pre-payment privileges in order to save.

By Julia from Boca Raton, FL

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January 5, 2009

I have been re-reading Possum Living by Dolly Freed. Her number one thrift tip is to have your house paid for. She says: "Have you read John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath' When we read it, it completely amazed us. All that starvation, squalor and general misery the Okies were forced to endure stemmed from only two roots: (1) the fact that they didn't own their homes outright, and (2) their mule-headed determination to rely on the money economy. They would have had problems, but not all the grief they had, if they had owned their homesteads in Oklahoma. The geek who stayed behind living on wild rabbits probably wound up living better than anyone else in the story."

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Dolly might be a little rough, but basically she is right. She's talking about the Great Depression, of course, and some people feel we are headed into that again. So many of us are living from paycheck to paycheck, paying interest on everything we "buy" and buying stuff we don't need.

I also just read "Angela's Ashes" which is a painful and crude read, because I can see that they relied on the money economy instead of getting out and scrambling for food, fuel and the basic necessities of life. Only the author, Frank McCourt, showed much initiative, and he didn't have any guidance from a more experienced person. He survived, and that is the climax of the story. A paid-for house, at least in our current government, is pretty good insurance against starving. But don't make the mistake of using it for collateral on a loan, or you can still lose it. There have been so many newspaper articles in the past three months on people who were well off, at least on paper, who are now homeless. Whatever you have to do, pay off that mortgage. Grow your own food and reduce the grocery bill. Wear your clothes until they are truly worn out if necessary. Stop going out and don't drive unless you have several errands to do. Barter. Help your neighbors. Gather and sell aluminum cans. If you have ten cents left over at the end of the pay period, put it away for an extra payment. This may sound extreme, but I think it's realistic. Don't want any ThriftyFun-ers going homeless!

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Source: "Possum Living" by Dolly Freed, Universet Books, 1978.

By Coreen from Rupert, ID

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By 1 found this helpful
January 15, 2008

Set your sights high. Know what you want, and then use every ounce of your being to get what you want.

A number of years ago, my hubby and I decided to buy a house. We found the perfect house for us. When we bought, we told ourselves that we would have the house paid off in 5 years. Our friends laughed at us, our accountant laughed at us, and no one thought we could accomplish what we had set out to do. No matter, we had our home paid off in just over four years. No it was not because we were rich, it was because we put everything into paying off our home. We did not eat out much, we curbed our spending, and we did what we set out to do.

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If you have an idea, no matter what, follow it though and you can accomplish great things.

By Karyn from Ottawa, Canada

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By 1 found this helpful
August 12, 2011

If you are in good standing on your Mortgage payments, many banks will put you on Bi-Saver payments which means that you pay one half of your monthly mortgage payment every two weeks. By doing this, you will actually make 26 half payments (13 mortgage payments) in a year. The 13th and 26th one half payments go completely to the principal. You can save many thousands in interest and several years.

You must make all payments on time (we used direct debit from our checking account every other Wednesday. If you don't, they put you back on regular monthly payments. We recently paid off our mortgage which was originally due to paid in 2018 and we saved many thousands in interest. There was a $300 charge to set up the payment schedule contract.

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If you can't get the Bi-Saver (or a similar plan), you can still send extra with your monthly payment (in most cases a minimum of $25) and designate it for "principal only". We had begun doing this until we learned of the Bi-Saver. I always wrote a second check for the $25 and wrote "apply only to principal" in the memo line along with our loan number. Depending on the amount, you can save a good amount this way too, yet are not bound to a contract.

By Mary from Gold Hill, NC

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July 5, 20042 found this helpful

To really cut years off your mortgage, make an extra payment a year but do it this way. Say your mortgage payment is 1200/month. Divide that by 12 ($100) and add that above and beyond that monthly payment. It will cut thousands in the life of your mortgage!

By Marie

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January 12, 2014

You can pay your mortgage payments bi-weekly, rather than monthly. Two more payments a year adds up a lot of savings over several years. I shaved several years off my mortgage by doing this.

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June 24, 20040 found this helpful

If your mortgage payment is $1200 per month and you normally pay it on the 1st of the month, start paying $600 on the 1st of the month and then on the 15th of the month pay the additional $600.

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August 31, 2007

Reduce the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage payments by simply adding additional principle dollars to the payments you make each month. You don't have to do this every month; you could do it once or twice a year if you receive bonuses or a tax refund.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 4, 2006

I am sending weekly mortgage payments to my lender and sent a request in writing instructing them how much to apply to principal, interest and escrow. They accept my payment but hold it in a suspense account until I call when the next payment is due and tell them to apply it. Every time I call they tell me they do not accept partial payments, yet they hold my money without applying it. I do this to make it easier to budget weekly, and was hoping to apply money to the principal to get the amount down weekly. Is it legal for them to hold my money in a suspense account even thought I have instructed them how to apply it? Can they refuse these payments legally? My mortgage payment is always on time and up to date. Can you help?

Cindy

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
February 5, 20060 found this helpful

Most mortgage companies will not accept weekly or bi-monthly payments unless you sign up and pay them for the privilege. You are lucky they hold the partial payments in a suspense account. Many put the partial payment in the escrow. If you check the fine print in your mortgage paperwork, the monthly payment is covered.

If you wish to pay down the principle faster, add $10 or more to your monthly payment, designating it as extra principle. The will work much better than weekly payments and the mortgage company will accept it without problems.

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February 5, 20060 found this helpful

Oh my goodness... You know, i had thought about doing this before i went to online banking. I had never thought about them not taking the extra payments.
I would check with your state and see if there is any such law, and then go to the head of whatever company you are dealing with.
If you could do what you are doing, it will help you in getting it paid for so much faster, and not having to pay as much interest... but it looks like this company doesnt want you to.
Check into online banking where you can make your payments online, anytime, and however much you want.
Wish i could be of more help...

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
February 5, 20060 found this helpful

Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately, I guess I did not make myself clear. The mortgage company does not have a "sign up and pay" privilege. As for adding $10 to the monthly payment, I could certainly do that. The point is that it is MUCH easier budgeting out 1/4 of the monthly payment per week than trying not to spend that amount each week, holding onto it to pay the entire amount on the 1st. As for online banking suggestion that is exactly how I am paying right now! The problem is the mortgage company putting the payments in the suspense account instead of appling them to the next months payment. I have spoken to the banking regulation board in my state and was told that no institution can refuse a payment. The mortgage co is not in my state, unfortunately. I have also spoken to numerous supervisors and managers in that company, only to be told the same thing, that they do not accept partial payments. My real question is, Is it legal for them not to apply the payments the way I request to be applied, and is it legal for them not to accept the payments at all.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 7, 20060 found this helpful

Most banks and mortage companies will except bi monthly payments when it is applied to the principle.In your post you say you want the mortage company to apply your payment to taxes and interest as well.That may be your problem.When appling extra money to the mortage it should be applied to the principle only.Trying to pay extra money on taxes and interest is costing you money.Also it should be applied just once a month not every week.For example you send in your regular payment on the 1st of the month then a second payment 2 weeks later.I would call back your mortage company and tell or ask them how they want you to make just principle only payments once a month.
Regards,
Dean

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 7, 20060 found this helpful

We have the same budgeting stratagy, but instead of sending off each check we write weekly, we have a "holding" drawer (or it could be an envelope) where we keep the written checks, and then send them all at one time each month. This will save you postage too.

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February 7, 20060 found this helpful

You could see if they'd let you re-do your mortgage with payments on a weekly basis. My guess would be not, because intrest is generally calculated on a monthly basis. Your mortgage is a contract, and if you want to change it, you might have to go through the process of getting a new mortgage.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 7, 20060 found this helpful

It would be better for you to put money each week into some type of savings account... and then pay your mortgage once a month, since your mortgage company wont accept early payments.. At least that way you will be getting interest on your money and also, putting the money aside so you dont spend it.. I use ING, inc... an online bank. I just got a message that any money I put into my account before Apr (I think) I will get 4.75% interest on the savings account. Right now I'm only getting 3.75% with that company... You are not getting any interest on the money you've paid ahead on your mortgage... The bank is just holding it for you without interest... Why do that when you can get another bank to hold it for you with interest.. (smile) Best of luck

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 7, 20060 found this helpful

PLEASE read this article on bi-weekly mortgage payments. http://tinyurl.com/avsp9 This will answer many questions and show you how you can pay off mortgage faster and save thousands of dollars in interest. Dividing you mortgage payment by 12, and paying that amount extra each month on the principle is the key. Gives you one extra payment every year.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 7, 20060 found this helpful

Have you ever heard of the envelope system? This is what my husband and I do every week. We have an envelope for every bill and expense that we have including one for Savings, Emergency, etc. We cash his check every week and put our designated money into it's own envelope. Once you've run out of money in, say your food envelope then you can't go get anymore groceries for that week, if the money is in your mortgage envelope then you can't use it for gas, etc. Hope this helps

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 7, 20060 found this helpful

Hello!
I am a banker from Northern MN.

Many mortgage companies and independent companies offer a accelerated mortgage payment program, where you make a bi-weekly pmt rather than a monthly payment. With these companies, the also "hold" your money until they have received 1 months worth of payments and then apply it to the mortgage.
You would be far better off putting the money into a savings account and then writing one check per month, or still write the checks each week and put them aside and send in all of the checks when your mortgage payment is due.
Depending on the type of mortgage that you have, it may have a clause in the mortgage document stating that they will only apply your payments on the 1st day of the month!
Many may say that the mortgage company is trying to make a ton of interest off of your money. While that may be true in some instances, most of the time it is an accounting issue and system issue that will only allow the payments to be posted at a certain time of the month. It is also a accounting NIGHTMARE to have hundred of thousands of payments coming in at different times of the month!
Hope this helps!
SAndy

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February 8, 20060 found this helpful

Your heading is a bit misleading. It's not that your mortgage company won't accept payments because they are accepting them. They just aren't applying it to your account because they consider it a partial payment. It also seems that you are standing on principle here because you say it's not a problem for you to pay and additional amount on a monthly payment. You just want to know if it's legal to tell you what they have. For that question, you need to contact an attorney - someone who knows the law.

With that said, this is what I did when I owned a house: I took out a 30yr loan. I used a mortgage calculator and based the loan on a 15yr mortgage. You'd be surprised that it doesn't add much more to the monthly payment. Then I divided that amount by the number of weeks in the month. I transferred the weekly amount to a savings account until it came time to pay the mortgage. Then I transferred it back to the checking account and paid the bill. Within 7 years, I had saved 10's of thousands of dollars in interest payments and my loan officer was so surprised and impressed! I did the same thing for property taxes, insurance bills, etc. I can't tell you how many times it saved my but from coming up short at certain times when all bills came due at the same time! Good luck with your problem. Like I said, if you want legal advice - Your best bet is to pay for an attorney.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 10, 20060 found this helpful

Is it legal for them to do this? It probably is -- I will echo previous replies and suggest you get an attorney to answer that for you, if you feel it's worth the expense. Even though it must seem to you like the mortgage company people are just being difficult, I'm sure there's at least a grain of truth to the notion that taking multiple payments each month would quickly turn into a bookkeeping nightmare for them. I agree with previous replies -- stash the money away somewhere on a weekly basis, but give it to the mortgage company only once a month, asking to have the extra applied to principal.

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April 19, 20060 found this helpful

In respect to your mortgage company not being in your state, that doesn't matter as I'm pretty sure if they write the mortgage in your state, that contract must abide by state regulations.

As for pre-paying mortgages, I just left this post in another topic on this site. PLEASE READ before deciding to prepay and make your decision wisely.

In some circumstances prepaying your mortgage is not the best option. Currently, the average 30 yr mortgage rates are about 6-6.5%. If you signed a mortgage in the past few years, you may have a rate as low as 4%

Historically, the return on stocks have been about 10% annually. Additionally, since you get to deduct interest you pay on your mortgage, the actual rate of your mortgage would be about 4.6-5% [based on the 6-6.5% mortgage and assuming a 25% tax bracket].

If you have high interest rate CC's or/and high rates on your car, then pre-pay those off, otherwise invest the money, retirement will come quickly and our life expectencies are growing each day.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 26, 20070 found this helpful

I am a Mortgage Specialist and an agent for Equity Corp that handles these types of situations. If you would like to learn more, please contact me via email: caseyquel AT hotmail.com

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 15, 20070 found this helpful

Read the contract (Note) you signed when you took out your mortgage. Specifically a section headed "Borrower's Rights to Prepay". Not only do some lenders not accept prepayments, some actually charge you for them. That is their right, when we sign agreements we are (and should be) bound by them.

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Answer this Question...

January 8, 2009

I want to know if there is a way to pay off your mortgage faster. I live in Canada.

Little Princess

Answers

January 8, 20090 found this helpful

I don't live in Canada, but in the U.S.A. I suggest that you contact your bank who holds your mortgage and ask if there is some way that you can pay off your mortgage sooner.

They might be able to juggle your payments so you are paying more money on the principle.

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January 9, 20090 found this helpful

Instead of paying your mortgage once a month, have your bank split that payment in half, and therefore they are getting two payments per month (totaling your one lump sum). Just by doing this, we are shaving off 6 years off the mortgage. They can even have the payments come directly out of your account every 2 weeks. I think that it's because when you pay monthly, there are only 12 payments per year...but when you do it every two weeks, somehow it calculates to one extra payment per year.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 13, 20090 found this helpful

I suggest you talk with your banker or whom every you owe to see if you can pay it off as soon as possible.Or read your contract. It might have this info in it. Good luck.

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Anonymous
January 14, 20090 found this helpful

If you contact your banker I can almost guarantee they're going to try to talk you in to a 'program' and they will charge you for it!

Just simply write two checks a month. One for the required payment stating the payment due date in the memo and the other check (for as much as you can pay extra) with 'Towards Principle' in the memo and send in the same envelope.

At the beginning of each year all mortgage companies are required to send you a printout of the previous years payments and balances so double check that your 'principle' payments were actually credited as 'principle'! You can only be charged actual interest on the actual principle due at any given time so you'll be whittling away those charges more quickly than you think if you'll pay at least half, if not a full equal amount your scheduled mortgage payments!

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 14, 20090 found this helpful

Look at your amortization schedule. If you didn't get one at closing, ask your bank for one, or make one yourself, with the current mortgage balance, interest rate, etc. Lots of programs floating around that you can use. Then, each month, pay your regular principal and interest (escrow?) payment, plus the principal payment(s) on the next few payments -- as many as you can afford. The next month pay the P&I on the next payment (Skip the ones you paid principal only on the month before) plus some more principal payments. This sounds complicated, but it's the same as adding $50-100 extra per payment, and you always know where you stand using the amortization schedule. We did this and paid off a 20 year loan in 9 1/2 years! It was easy at first, but got harder as the principal portions got bigger, which they do every month. Good luck!
Having no mortgage is a wonderful feeling.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 9, 2012

I am 48 years old and have 3 boys (16, 13, 7) and a wonderful husband. I have so badly wanted to "get it" when it comes to living frugally, but I get caught up in suburban life and credit line mortgages. Expenses such as music lessons, soccer teams, vacations, clothes, healthy organic foods, restaurants etc. have kept me from our goal of paying off our mortgage, car loan, etc.

I would love to hear about any stories where families have started living frugally "late in the game" and have achieved success. I want the best for my boys regarding school and opportunities as I am sure every parent feels. Thank you to everyone for your support and thank you to this site for providing inspiration.

By jjawt from BC

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