Millennials: It’s Possible to Pay off Your Mortgage Quicker Than You Think
Five years ago, if you’d told me I’d have a mortgage — and a reasonably small one at that — I wouldn’t have believed you.
You see, I was quite happy renting my one-bedroom warehouse style apartment in the City.
I had plenty of space for all my things and I was settled. Getting a mortgage wasn’t on my agenda — nor did I think it was going to be any time soon.
And then I was hit with a reality check.
I’d been in a relationship with my now husband for coming up to 18 months, and at the time, he was living with his parents.
When I mentioned him either moving in with me or us getting a new place together, I was talking about renting. He however, had his mind set on one thing — getting a mortgage.
Why would we pay rent every month for it to be lining someone else’s pocket?
This was something I hadn’t thought of, but even so, the idea of getting a mortgage seemed daunting.
I had no savings to my name and I was about to make a career change which would result in my salary being significantly lowered.
Still, it became clear that I’d either be renting on my own unless we bought a place together. So I got saving — and fast.
No more ‘after work drinks’, new pairs of shoes, or lazy taxi rides. This girl was on a mission.
When we first took out our mortgage, we took out the longest term available to make sure we wouldn’t struggle. 35 long years.
As first time buyers, the interest rate wasn’t too pretty so we were paying £600 a month on 4% interest. At 25, I would have been 60 before the mortgage would be paid off.
And yet that’s not unusual — particularly for the older generation. My parents have a mortgage term that runs until they are 75.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Two years ago, as we came to the end of our two-year fixed rate, we got lucky. Interests rate were at an all-time low and we slashed our then 33-year term down to 15 years by nabbing a great remortgage deal.
Sure, we were paying a little more — £825 per month to be exact — but it was a small price to pay given the freedom it would give us if we kept going.
So what else can you do to pay off your mortgage quicker?
Make extra payments
Once you’re comfortable with your outgoings and monthly budget, it’s time to start thinking about making extra payments to get you on that path to financial freedom. Make it your aim to pay an extra house payment every six months, or even every quarter. You’ll pay your mortgage off years earlier, and save hundreds, if not thousands in interest. But — make sure to check with your mortgage company first. Not all will allow you to do this, or they may, but for a fee. Always read the fine print.
Set up a bimonthly mortgage payment
New to my radar is the concept of setting up bimonthly mortgage payments — simply making half of your usual monthly payment twice a month. According to Investopedia, “A bi-monthly mortgage plan will result in interest savings over the life of the mortgage. It does this by reducing the principal of the mortgage as each payment is received, as opposed to the first payment of the month being held by the lender until the second payment of the month is received.” Again, make sure to speak to your mortgage company first.
Like we did, keep an eye on the market to see when could be a good time to remortgage to get the best deal. If you remortgage at a time when interest rates are at their lowest, you’ve hit the jackpot. Of course, it’s difficult to predict what the market is going to do so consider seeking independent advice — it will save you thousands in the long-run.
Offset your savings
To make the most of your savings, think about offsetting them against your mortgage. According to Which, “Offset mortgages are linked to savings accounts, and involve interest being calculated on how much you borrow, minus how much you have saved in your linked account. This means you’ll effectively be overpaying your mortgage each month.” The only down side is you won’t be able to earn interest on your savings, but it’s worth a shop around to see what’s available.
Ultimately, the only way you’re going to achieve mortgage-free status as early as possible, is to be disciplined. Minimalize your life. Stop buying more than you need. Be appreciative for what you have, and visualise where you want to be in the years to come. Anything is possible if you put your mind it — just make sure you do what’s right for you, and your finances.