How to Reduce a Mortgage Term

by Chris Joseph, Demand Media
    You can reduce the term of your home mortgage.

    You can reduce the term of your home mortgage.

    Thirty years may sound like a lifetime, and in fact, it can be -- nearly half a lifetime. If you've taken out a 30-year mortgage loan, it can seem like you'll never own your home free and clear. The good news is that you can reduce the time you'll need to keep writing those big monthly checks to the mortgage company.

    Prepayment

    Prepay your mortgage. When you prepay your mortgage, you're reducing the amount of interest you're required to pay, which can reduce the term of your mortgage over time. Prepaying involves paying an additional partial amount, such as $50 or $100, along with your normal payment. Be sure to check your mortgage paperwork to ensure that your lender will allow prepayments. Some may not permit it, since it means the loss of interest income they'd otherwise receive.

    Bi-Weekly Payments

    Make bi-weekly payments. When you make bi-weekly payments instead of one monthly payment, you're actually increasing the amount you pay on an annual basis, which will ultimately reduce your term. Simply divide your monthly payment in half, and pay the amount every two weeks. You'll end up making one extra monthly payment by the end of the year. Again, you'll need to check with your lender to verify you can do this.

    Refinancing

    Refinance your mortgage to one with a lower interest rate. Doing this can reduce the total amount you owe, which can mean your home is paid off faster. For example, suppose you took out a 30-year mortgage with a relatively high interest rate. Ten years into the loan, you refinance to a 15-year mortgage that has a much lower interest rate and that offers an affordable monthly payment. Your home will be paid off in a total of 25 years, instead of 30 years.

    Reduce Insurance Costs

    Get a new quote on your homeowner's insurance every two years, as you may be able to save hundreds of dollars a month, according to the eHomeMortgages website. Take any potential savings you gain and apply them to your mortgage payment each month. The extra money can help reduce the amount of interest you owe, allowing you to pay your home off sooner.

    About the Author

    Chris Joseph writes for newspapers and online publications, covering business, technology, health, fitness and sports. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.

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