mortgage

4 ways to pay off your mortgage earlier

Refinance with a shorter-term mortgage
Refinance with a shorter-term mortgage

You can refinance into a mortgage for 10, 15 or 20 years, but 15-year mortgages are the most common. Your payments will be higher on a 15-year loan, but perhaps not as high as you think.

One advantage of a 15-year loan is that you're committed to the higher payment. There's no dithering about whether you can afford to pay extra this month.

With a 30-year, $100,000 loan at 5 percent, your principal and interest payments are $537. At the same rate, but on a 15-year payoff schedule, your principal and interest payments are $791. That's $254 more a month.

To get the effect of a shorter-term mortgage without the risk, take out a 30-year loan, but make payments as if you had a 10- or 15-year loan. "You just make increased payments. You're in control, not the bank," Piercy says.

Bankrate.com's 15- or 30-year mortgage calculator recommends which type of loan to get.

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