October 20, 2014
If your mortgage debt is sending chills up your spine, it is time to do something about it. Mortgage Choice spokesperson Jessica Darnbrough said while it is not uncommon for borrowers to be spooked by their mortgage debt, the commitment of taking out and repaying a home loan need not be scary.
“If you've never had a mortgage before, it's important to realise that it doesn't have to take 25 or 30 years to pay off a home loan, nor does a mortgage have to mean an end to all of life's luxuries,” Ms Darnbrough said.
“A little research and planning can go a long way towards helping you pay off your mortgage sooner rather than later.”
For those looking to get onto the property ladder or with a mortgage already, here are some tricks and tips to help you become mortgage-free ahead of time:
- Can't pay more? Pay more often: Depending on how your lender calculates your mortgage repayments, making fortnightly mortgage repayments rather than monthly mortgage repayments could potentially save you thousands of dollars in interest costs on your loan. This is because there are 12 calendar months and 26 fortnights in a year. So, if you pay fortnightly, you actually make the equivalent of thirteen monthly repayments per year.
- Cut down on treats: Even small amounts can make a major difference. For example, if you cut out one coffee a day, you can save yourself approximately $20 every working week or $80 a month. If you then put that money into your mortgage, you could potentially shave more than three years off your loan term and save yourself more than $32,000 in interest payable over the life of your loan*.
- Get a mortgage with an offset account: With these loans, all of your salary can go into a transaction account that is linked to your mortgage. Every dollar you keep in this account is offset against your loan, working to reduce the balance on which interest is calculated as you only pay interest on the difference between your home loan and your savings. Used carefully, this can put you thousands of dollars ahead on your repayments.
- Use redraws wisely: A redraw lets you take out any extra payments you've tipped into your home loan. It can be a handy feature, but use it sparingly. Dipping into your loan too often will reduce the interest savings made by the extra repayments, and you may also be charged a fee for each redraw.
- Give your home loan an annual healthcheck: In a competitive market, it pays to not be complacent about your home loan. Australia's lenders are offering competitive rates at the moment and an annual check-up with the help of your mortgage broker can show if your loan is still the best option for you.
If you would like learn more about your home loan or financial advice options, call 13 77 62.
*Calculation based on a $300,000 principal and interest loan at 5% with extra contributions made from the first year of a 30 year loan term.