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Pay down your mortgage faster

By Kemberley Washington ·
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

Many of us make a mortgage payment month after month, but dream of the day we will own our house free and clear.

By thinking a little differently and more strategically, you can reduce your mortgage debt faster. Here are some tips for speeding up the payoff process.

Break up your payments

Consider breaking up one large monthly payment into two smaller payments.

For example, if your monthly mortgage amount is $1,000, pay $500 at the beginning of the month and the remainder on the due date. Making payments in this manner allows you to reduce the amount of interest over the duration of the loan.

It also reduces the length of the loan. For more information, visit Bankrate's biweekly mortgage calculator to determine how your loan duration and the amount of interest you pay can be reduced.

Get disciplined

Many people who want to pay off their loan faster opt for shorter loan terms, such as a 10-, 15-, or 20-year loan. While these loans allow consumers to pay less interest over time, they come at the expense of higher monthly payments.

For example, a $100,000 loan financed at 5 percent over 15 years would require a monthly payment of $790. By contrast, the same loan financed at 5 percent over 30 years requires a monthly payment of just $536.

One alternative to taking out a loan with a shorter term is to choose a 30-year loan, but make payments as if it were a 15-year loan. This way, you are not required to make the higher payments, but can do so as your comfort level allows.

The biggest advantage of this technique is that it gives you more flexibility. If an unexpected expense occurs, simply pay the required amount on your mortgage loan, and nothing more.

Direct all extra cash to your mortgage

Dedicate bonuses, windfalls, tax refunds or other unexpected cash to paying down your mortgage principal. It doesn’t have to be much, but adding a little money can help reduce the loan over time.

For example, making one extra payment yearly on a 30-year loan can reduce the loan duration significantly -- even by a number of years, depending on the payment and interest terms. Every extra dollar you pay toward a mortgage helps you get out of debt faster.

Remember, financial healing starts with taking things step-by-step each and every day.

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University in New Orleans and certified public accountant. She writes a personal finance blog at Follow her on Twitter: @kemwashcpa.

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Jim theriault
March 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Anyone thinking of a mortgage simply ask your bank for an amortization schedule and compare the payout on the 15 year and 30 year term mortgage. The 30 year mortgage is a rip off and if you can not afford to pay the 15 year payout, you really can not afford to buy. Give yourself the money in interest not the bank. Let`s face facts if you take a 30 year term your house will have to be fixed up again before it is paid off and you will be paying again and again.

March 19, 2014 at 1:50 am

Put more money down finance for 15 years. Get a contract with no penalty for early payment. Make over payments it doesn't take much when you look at what is going to interest and what is going to interest. In the first year $50 probably does any with more than one months payment.

March 19, 2014 at 12:55 am

Does this also work for car loans?
I purchased a car for 14,890.00 at 4.5% Paid up front 6,500 cash and they gave me $2000 on the trade of my 2003 old car.
By the time all was added up..the total came to $18,000.00 pay back. IF I were to double up on my payments of 145.00 a month, would that 18,000.00 NOT have to be paid at the pay off of the loan?