Can you imagine living mortgage-free? For many homeowners, mortgage repayments represent a large part of their salary and many years of hard work, with the end not clearly in sight.
Whether your goal is to soon be mortgage-free or to reduce your mortgage to allow you renovate, invest or live more comfortably, there are things you can do to make this a reality. And it may be simpler than you think, with a few small changes you can make now.
Make more frequent repayments
The first tip is an obvious one – to make more frequent repayments towards your mortgage so that you can pay it off sooner. What may not be apparent though is that this can be easier to do than you may think.
If you are currently making monthly repayments, consider switching to fortnightly repayments. By doing so, you can end up making the equivalent of an extra month’s repayment every year, given that there are 26 fortnights in a year. Keep in mind though that this only works if the fortnightly repayment is half that of the monthly repayment, so it depends on how your loan payments have been calculated.
There are home loan repayment calculators online, such as on www.moneysmart.gov.au, that can help you crunch the numbers.
Increase your regular repayments
Another way to get ahead on your mortgage and work towards paying it off sooner is to pay a little extra each month or fortnight on top of your minimum repayment.
While this may be more challenging with higher interest rates at the moment, but rounding up your repayments or if you are able to find a lower interest rate paying your previous repayment amount will chip away at your principal repayment and reduce the interest you pay over the life of your loan.
Make additional lump sum repayments
As with the previous tip, by making extra repayments you will reduce the interest you pay and shorten the life of your loan.
These repayments can come from obvious sources, such as your tax return or a bonus, or may come from even such small wins, such as selling an item online – however you are earning a bit of extra money. Do you have a birthday coming up and think there may be a monetary gift? Even making small extra repayments can help chip away at the loan.
Open an offset account
Opening an offset account – a savings or transaction bank account linked to your home loan – is worth considering in order to pay off your mortgage sooner. Interest is then charged on the difference between your home loan balance minus the amount you have in your linked offset account.
Once you have an offset account, you can get your salary paid into it directly so that there will always be money in the account, working to reduce the interest you pay.
You will need to check with your lender as to whether your loan is eligible for an offset account, and if so, if 100% of the balance can be offset against the home loan.
Revisit your home loan
It may also be worthwhile revisiting your home loan and considering whether it’s still fit for its purpose. Read back over your loan’s terms as a starting point to refamiliarise yourself with them.
By considering your goal of paying off your loan sooner, you might see room for improvement, or the need to refinance or switch to a different lender. You might also find that you are paying for features you aren’t using – for example, if you do have an offset account but are not using it, you still might be paying an annual fee for it.
There are also small changes you can make, such as changing the loan type, or frequency of payments.
There’s no doubt that paying off your home loan does involve work, but by keeping these things in mind, you may be mortgage-free sooner than you think. So that we can support you to get there, contact us today to ensure you make the most of great rates and have a loan that suits your financial situation.
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