Key takeaways

  • The first mortgage payment is usually due a full month after your closing date — on the first day of the month.
  • When you make mortgage payments, you’re paying for the previous month, not the current month.
  • You have several options for paying your mortgage, such as setting up autopay or paying online through your servicer’s portal.

Naturally, homebuyers often have questions regarding their new mortgage —  namely, when do mortgage payments start? And when is the first mortgage payment actually due — when the loan’s approved, when I close on the home, or some other time? Let’s take a look.

When is the first mortgage payment due?

The due date for your initial mortgage payment depends on the closing date, and it’s usually more than 30 days away. Typically, you can estimate it by adding a month to the closing date and then figuring your payment will be due on the first day of the following month.

Example of when a first mortgage payment is due
Say you close on your mortgage on March 12. Adding a month brings you to April 12, which would mean your mortgage due date would be on the first day of the following month: May 1. While it may seem like you’re skipping a payment, you’re not. That’s because your mortgage payments are for the previous month, not the current month.

You can find the due date for your initial payment in the documents you receive at closing. Look for a document titled “First Payment Letter” that contains the details you’ll need to make the payment.

How much is your first mortgage payment?

Your projected first mortgage payment amount will be listed in the closing disclosure you’ll receive at least three days before closing. The first and all following mortgage payments include the loan principal and interest, along with other items that the mortgage lender or servicer deposits into an escrow account, like taxes and homeowners insurance. The acronym PITI stands for these main components of your mortgage payment: principal, interest, taxes and insurance.

Calculating your PITI payment can help you before you close on a home, too — even while you’re still house- and mortgage-hunting. It can help you estimate how much house you can afford. By adding tax and insurance into your budget, on top of the principal and interest amount, you’ll get a better idea of a loan amount a lender may approve.

Your first mortgage payment will largely go toward interest, based on your loan’s amortization schedule. While your first year of homeowner’s insurance premiums are often included with closing costs, you can expect to pay a monthly amount toward your escrow account for annual taxes and insurance costs. These expenses will be wrapped into your monthly mortgage payment.

If you have to pay mortgage insurance, that premium will also be included in your mortgage payment.

How to prepare for your first mortgage payment

Amid closing and moving costs, you may find that coming up with your first mortgage payment on a new home within the same pay period will be a financial squeeze. To help there, we have a few tips you can use before your first mortgage due date:

  • Time your closing date strategically. If possible, schedule your closing to coincide with the end of your rental lease or in time with the sale of your existing home. This way, you can minimize the juggling of overlapping rent and mortgage payments.
  • Trim back discretionary spending. Pare down on eating out, clothing purchases, entertainment costs and other non-essentials while you prioritize your new home and the expenses that go with it.
  • Make a plan to replenish savings. If you take out a chunk of your savings for your home purchase, make a plan to replenish those funds as soon as you can once you settle the new home purchase.

Factors that impact your mortgage payment timeline

Your closing date might impact your first mortgage payment. If you close late in the month, you may prepay the tail end of that month’s mortgage payment at closing. This will push your first mortgage due date forward.

Making early payments may also impact your payment due date. Many banks allow you to make biweekly payments or early monthly payments toward your mortgage loan, though you may incur a fee for doing so.

How to make your first mortgage payment

You can choose one of many methods to pay your mortgage, including:

  1. Auto-pay. Setting up recurring ACH payments from your checking or savings account is an easy way to make mortgage payments in a timely manner. It can help you avoid missed payments, helping you build your credit score and avoid late fees. Depending on your goals, you can split the monthly payment into two to save on mortgage interest, pay more each month to pay off your mortgage early or sync payments with your paychecks to avoid overdrafts.
  2. Online. Making payments on your lender’s portal or app is fast and reliable. If you plan to pay off your house early, paying online can be a convenient way to make extra principal payments when you have spare cash to put towards an early payoff.
  3. By mail. If you prefer, you can send your monthly payment by mail using a personal check, cashier’s check or money order. Always include your mortgage account number on your check and allow enough time for delivery to avoid late charges.
  4. By phone. Making a mortgage payment over the phone can be convenient, especially if you’re close to the due date and want to avoid incurring a late fee. Call the number on your mortgage statement and be ready to give the customer agent your mortgage account number and banking account information. Remember to ask the agent if there is a service charge for phone payments.

If you want to split payments or prepay your mortgage, ask your lender if they are permitted and how extra payments are applied. For example, if you want to pay biweekly, ask your lender if they charge a set-up fee, transaction fee or a prepayment penalty. Also bear in mind, some lenders only apply your payments once a month even if you’re submitting two or more payments each month, which could negate any benefits to the strategy.

You will need to specify that you want any extra payments or over-payments to be applied to the principal balance of the loan — the main way you reap the savings benefits. This is not a default for many lenders.

What happens if you miss a mortgage payment?

If you miss your mortgage payment, be sure to pay as soon as possible. While one late payment likely won’t result in your eviction, repeated delinquencies could potentially harm your credit. You typically have a grace period of 15 to 30 days to actually pay — this depends on your lender — and if a payment is made during that time, you are less likely to incur a penalty/late-fee charge.

If you change banks or bank accounts, let your mortgage lender know about your new account information as soon as possible.

If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments, don’t delay in contacting your lender about it. While nothing is guaranteed, your lender may waive late fees or agree not to notify the credit bureaus of a late payment if you make them aware of your situation. There’s also a chance you may qualify for a loan modification, repayment plan or a temporary reduction of payments.

Additional reporting by Meaghan Hunt