With more individuals, families and businesses moving to Houston, it’s no surprise that the real estate market has boomed in recent years. However, the market can be fickle and unforeseen circumstances arise that sometimes make it hard for mortgages to be paid. The following four tips can help individuals and families save on a mortgage.
- Add an extra annual payment:
By adding an extra payment to the principal balance of the loan, it helps to reduce the total amount owed quicker. If done regularly, this can shave years off the loan and reduce the amount spent in interest charges. However, this doesn’t mean a payment can be skipped.
- Modify the existing loan:
If all mortgage payments have been made on time and are consistent, there is a possibility of a loan modification. Usually, a bank will contact the individual paying the loan with a potential loan modification, but there are also ways to pro-actively seek one. Contact the bank that oversees the loan and inquire about modification options. Be sure to ask if that particular bank still owns the mortgage loan. If they don’t they can’t modify the loan. Inform the bank (owner) of the loan of any financial hardships (if any). Assemble any financial documents the bank may need from you – including two pay stubs, latest W2, K-1s and any investment assets. If a bank puts off the request, don’t stop contacting them.
- Set-up a bi-weekly payment plan:
Many lenders won’t accept partial payments, so instead, have half of the payment automatically transferred in a savings account every two weeks. At the end of the month, have the money transferred to the lender. At the end of the year, 13 payments would have been made instead of 12.
- Refinance to a lower interest rate:
There are many reasons why a loan may be refinanced, so be sure to calculate all payments and potential savings before making this decision. A lower monthly payment comes with a higher interest rate, resulting in more spent. If an individual is planning to sell their home in a few years, it may not be worth refinancing. Getting a lower interest rate may not be the best decision for individuals well into paying back a mortgage because it will add more time for the payoff, but individuals who aren’t that far won’t see much of a change.
These are just a few ways to save on your mortgage. Be sure to ask questions and not accept the first loan that comes along. Understanding the details of a major decision like this can make the difference between saving money and losing money.