MortgageLoan.com quoted me in Three Mortgage Moves o Consider in 2017. It opens,
How much do you think about your mortgage? Probably not much at all.
But financial professionals say that homeowners can save money, lower the amount of interest they pay each year and maybe free up some extra cash, all by tweaking their mortgages, whether they are paying off a conventional loan, FHA mortgage or VA loan.
If you’ve gotten into the habit of ignoring your mortgage, it’s time to take a look at what is probably your biggest financial obligation. Here are three suggestions from mortgage lenders and financial pros to use your mortgage to better your finances in 2017.
Are you paying off a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage? It might be time to refinance that loan, not for the benefit of lower interest rates but to turn your mortgage into one with a shorter term.
Turning your loan from a 30-year version to a 15-year one will result in a higher monthly mortgage payment. But you’ll also dramatically reduce the amount of interest you’ll have to pay over the life of your loan. Mortgage rates with 15-year, fixed-rate loans are lower than the ones attached to longer-term loans, too.
“Going shorter term is a big financial benefit,” said Jason Zimmer, president of Lockport, Illinois-based Parlay Mortgage. “The 15-year loan is where you want to go. You can save so much money.”
Look at the financial difference: Say you are paying off a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage of $250,000 at an interest rate of 4.09 percent. Your monthly payment, not including property taxes or insurance, will be about $1,200. But you’ll pay a total of $184,000 in interest if you take the entire 30 years to pay off your loan.
But say you now owe $225,000 on that same loan. If you refinance that amount to a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 3.33 percent, your monthly payment, not including taxes and insurance, will jump to just under $1,600. But if you take the full 15 years to pay off this loan, you’ll only pay about $61,000 in interest, a huge savings from that 30-year loan.
“Lots of people don’t consider a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage for a refinance because they knew they could not afford one when they bought their house in the first place,” said David Reiss, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School in New York City. “But if you have had your house for more than a couple of years, and your income has increased in the interim, refinancing into a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage can be a great way to get a lower interest rate and pay a lot less interest in the long run.”