It takes almost half of a lifetime to pay down a 30-year mortgage. If you want to break free from mortgage payments before you hit late middle age, you can do it with careful planning and dedication. Paying down your home loan not only means you'll have one less loan to worry about. It also means you'll pay less over time, as you won't owe as much interest when you reduce the principal quickly.
Pay your mortgage biweekly -- every other week. Instead of making one lump payment each month, you'll make two, half payments. The trade-off is that by the end of the year, you'll have made 13 full payments, instead of the regular 12. You can pay biweekly manually or sign up with your lender for a biweekly payment plan.
Add to the amount you pay each month or biweekly. If your mortgage payment is $650 a month, add $200 to it to shave time off of the repayment term. Even making a small extra payment helps, according to Bankrate.com. For example, you can shave four months off of the mortgage by adding $6 a month to the payments on a $200,000, 30-year loan.
Get a lower interest rate. If you can, refinance your mortgage so that the interest rate is lower. You can also choose to refinance your mortgage to a shorter time period, for example, to 15 years, down from 30.
- Consider the costs carefully before refinancing. Sometimes, closing costs and other fees make the new mortgage as expensive as the old one.
- Play around with an online mortgage calculator to see how much more quickly you can pay off your mortgage by paying an extra $100 or $200 a month or by doubling the amount you pay.
- Keep an eye out for fees your lender might charge to make biweekly payments. Some banks and lenders charge a one-time or recurring fee for the privilege, according to "US News and World Report."
- Bankrate: Mortgage Calculator