A mortgage is a huge financial commitment, and one that can easily extend to over two decades in many cases. The very idea of paying off all of your home loan can be very daunting, but it’s also going to be one of the biggest financial accomplishments of your life.
Many financial experts are of the opinion that mortgage should be tackled last, especially if you have other more expensive debts to deal with. However, if you’re not reeling under the burden of high-interest credit card and personal debt, making early mortgage settlement your primary goal is the way to go.
We’ve shortlisted four straightforward ways to tackle your home loan and pay it off early.
Refinance to get a lower interest rate
Has your mortgage stood the test of time? Your specific home loan may have seemed like the best deal in the market a few years back, when you applied for it. However, after reviewing the terms of repayment, you may find that it isn’t the most lucrative or most suitable option for you right now. In that situation, you might want to consider another option to relieve this burden – refinancing the loan.
You can browse the banking market for lower-interest mortgage deals that can allow you to refinance your current loan and save on interest payments in the long run. You can even use your research to negotiate a better deal with your original lender and see if they’re willing to match what’s available out there.
[Related: 7 Mistakes first-time home buyers MUST avoid]
Shorten your original loan tenure
Chances are when you borrowed to purchase your home, you opted for the maximum loan tenure on offer. And of course – The longer the loan tenure, the more interest you’d pay overtime. If your earning potential has improved over the years, you can now afford to pay a higher loan installment every month. If that is indeed the case, speak to your lender about reconfiguring your mortgage tenure, and brining down the overall term from say 25 years to 15 years, or even lower.
Set an annual prepayment goal
The only practical way to chip away at your mortgage and shorten the repayment tenure is to make a prepayment towards it, over and above your regular installments. You can set up a personal goal to partially settle your mortgage by a certain amount every year. This prepayment could be worth an extra month’s installment, or a percentage of your annual savings.
Many banks in the UAE allow you to prepay up to 15-25 percent of the outstanding loan amount without incurring any penalty. And in case you want to partially settle a higher amount than this free allowance, you will have to pay a fee equal to 1 percent of the overpaid amount (the amount that exceeds the free allowance).
Put windfalls towards your mortgage
Got an annual bonus? Inherited some cash? If you don’t have other expensive debts in your name, how about you put these windfall gains into making a lump-sum prepayment toward your mortgage. Using this newfound money to partially settle your mortgage will ultimately help you build more equity in your home. It may be tempting to spend an unexpected cash inflow on your wants and desires. But if you can trade in immediate gratification for long-term financial security, you’d be making a very sound financial decision.