“Is it a good idea to pay off my mortgage early?” … Many homeowners ask themselves every day. The thought of eliminating your monthly mortgage payment can be appealing to most anyone.
No one in their right mind enjoys writing that fat check to the mortgage lender month after month if they don’t have to. However, like with all major financial decisions, it’s important to consider every angle before you decide to pay off your mortgage early.
Although paying your house off early will save you a ton of money on interest, you should also be aware of the risks involved and make sure the benefits outweigh the risks.
Once you are fully aware of the pros & cons, you can then make an educated decision on whether or not it’s a good idea for you to pay your mortgage off early.
The idea of paying off your mortgage early is a no-brainer at first glance. But when you’re talking about retirement planning financial management overall should be carefully planned.
Consider what your goals are personally and financially before making decisions that are in your best interest. If you have a low-interest rate on your mortgage loan, it could make more sense to hold on to your money or invest it elsewhere if you can make more interest on it like investing in real estate.
Since this is a major financial decision, it’s a good idea to consult with a financial advisor before deciding anything. Financial advisors are trained to identify potential risks and rewards depending on your situation.
More and more we’re seeing lenders offer homeowners more flexible loan terms because they know that it benefits them tremendously. This is why homeowners now more than ever are customizing their home loans.
This information will help you to understand the most common benefits as well as the disadvantages of paying off your mortgage early.
Paying off your mortgage early: the PROS
These are the most common reasons why a homeowner would want to pay their mortgage off early.
Eliminate a huge financial burden from your life
Do you ever think of how great it would be to be mortgage-free? Of course, you do… every homeowner does. The truth is that most homeowners have a mortgage on their homes.
Paying your mortgage off in full is extremely liberating and will probably help you sleep better at night. Even for people who don’t have financial worries, it’s still a great feeling to say you own your home free and clear.
Making additional payments towards your principal doesn’t always make financial sense. This is something you need to determine if it makes sense for you.
Many homeowners think about paying their mortgage in full as they head into their retirement years. The last thing a retiree wants is to make monthly payments when they no longer have a steady income.
Ridding yourself of that mortgage payment can make sense if you wish to eliminate that financial burden.
You don’t have to factor in the cost of your Mortgage when considering other Investments.
Investing your hard-earned money is like a balancing act that demands careful planning. A mortgage is usually the biggest loan you’ve ever taken out and when you add up the interest you’ve paid out over the years and even decades, you’ll probably be surprised…. not in a good way.
Whether you have a mortgage or not, you should invest in a 401k or IRA investment account. Look at it this way… If you’re making more money on interest on a particular investment, it should exceed the interest that you’re paying on your mortgage to make sense… Make sense?
If not, then you’re probably better off paying off your mortgage early. However, if your home was paid in full then you would no longer need to weigh your investments against your mortgage- because you are no longer paying interest on the mortgage.
If loans are cheap like they are right now with extremely low-interest rates, then it probably makes more sense to just keep your current mortgage. However, if you’re stuck in a high-interest rate mortgage, then paying off your loan early probably makes more sense.
If you have a high-interest rate on your mortgage right now and still wish to keep your loan, then you should consider refinancing.
You can make less risky investments with your money
Once your mortgage has been paid off, you will be able to use the money you were paying on your mortgage to invest in safer investments.
I’m not saying your home is a high-risk investment because it usually isn’t. But, let’s not forget what happened when the market crashed back in 2007- 2008 when home values dropped and many homes were worth less than half of their original value. Chances are this won’t happen again for a long time… hopefully never, but there’s always that chance.
You can make higher-risk investments
Bank-insured certificates of deposits and treasury securities are low-risk, low-yield investments. You can choose to diversify your investment portfolio by investing in stocks that are at higher risk but also have higher rewards.
If this is something that you’re interested in, speak to a financial advisor about long-term investment strategies once you’ve paid off your mortgage. The stock market can be a great place to invest your money wisely.
You can free up some extra cash-flow
Once you don’t have a mortgage payment to make each month, it will free up some extra cash for you and your family each month. By having more cash left over every month, your stress level will decrease substantially and you can handle any unexpected costs that come your way.
No more paying PMI
The majority of major lenders will require you to have private mortgage insurance [PMI] until you have at least 20% equity in your property. By paying PMI you’re not only throwing away a substantial of money every year, but it offers no benefits to the homeowner.
The sole purpose of private mortgage insurance is to protect the lender from default and nothing else.
Convert your equity into cash
The larger the amount you pay towards your mortgage, the more equity you will have in your home. This put you in a position to leverage that equity if you want or need to for some reason. You can also get a HELOC [home equity line of credit]. It’s not like taking out another mortgage or else what would be the point of paying it off in the first place. A home equity line of credit is just that… a line of credit, when you need it, you use it, then pay it back.
Paying off your mortgage early: the CONS
Here are some reasons why you may not want to pay your mortgage early
When we talk about liquidity, it refers to how easy it is to access the money you have. The more cash you have into our home, the less liquidity you have.
Just think if an emergency popped up when you least expect it and you needed cash… fast! You’d have to either access some cash from another account if you had one, or you could get a home equity line of credit or “equity loan” on your home.
I believe it’s a great idea for any homeowner with a free and clear house to get a home equity line of credit. It doesn’t cost anything to have a home equity line of credit until you use some of the money, then you have to make interest payments. Once you’ve paid it back, you’re back to no payments… and it’s there whenever you need it. I’ve bought and continue to buy homes in Orlando using my HELOC because I can access the cash quickly and I can close on an investment home within a few days. It’s much cheaper than using a hard money lender and so much more convenient.
It comes down to you and what your needs are… you need to decide if it’s more important to have access to extra cash quickly when you need it or… would you rather be mortgage-free.
Generally, people who pay their mortgage off early don’t have any worries about having extra cash because they already have plenty.
Losing tax deductions on interest- If you’re currently paying on a mortgage you can deduct the interest payments on your home loan when you file your taxes.
This means you get more money back every year solely because of the money you pay towards interest on your loan. The moment your home is paid off, you will lose those deductions. Recently the amount of interest you can deduct is less than what it used to be.
Now when you own a homestead property, you can only claim a deduction for the interest on a mortgage loan for up to $750,000 if you’re married and $375,000 if you’re married filing with separate status. These new guidelines are in place until 2025. It used to be the debt limits were $1,000,000 and $500,000 under the old tax laws.
Also under the old tax code, you were able to deduct up to $100,000 to $50,000 of your HELOC loan. No mas…
Depending on when this article was published, you should see what the latest tax laws are and factor them into your decision.
Carrying a mortgage these days has become less and less appealing when it comes to the new tax laws. There are a lot fewer tax breaks for homeowners.
You might ding your credit score- Your “credit mix” is one of the factors taken into consideration when credit companies determine your credit score. It comes down to the different loans you have at the time and having several loans and credit lines in good standing will help your credit score.
When you no longer have a mortgage payment, your credit score may take a small hit.
Your particular credit mix contributes 10% of your overall credit score. When other creditors see you paying on a mortgage every month, it’s a good thing. This is how they determine your viability as a borrower, it’s great when they see you making all your payments on time month after month.
You can’t make other investments Paying off a mortgage in full will probably use up the majority if not all of our liquid cash. That means you’ve made a huge investment in your home when you may have been able to get a higher return on some other investment… like buying an investment home for example.
FAQ’S ON PAYING A MORTGAGE OFF EARLY
What’s the average age someone should pay their mortgage off? Financial experts recommend you have your mortgage paid off in your 50’s.
What’s the most substantial downside to paying your mortgage loan off early? The biggest downside of paying your mortgage off early is the reduction in liquidity. It’s a good idea to apply for a home equity line of credit so you can have access to quick cash when you need it.
What if I only pay an extra $100 per month? Will it make a difference? It will make a difference! By paying that extra hundred bucks a month towards the principal you’ll cut off at least a couple of years on the life of your loan.
Will extra payments automatically go towards my principal? Not necessarily… make sure to let your lender know the extra funds should be applied to the principal balance of your loan. You should also put it in the memo section of the check or online payment.
If I pay off my mortgage early, what happens next? After you’ve paid off your mortgage, your lender should send you the original promissory note with those beautiful words stamped on it… PAID IN FULL.
By paying off my mortgage, will it affect the amount of income tax I pay? Unfortunately, yes. Once you’ve paid off your mortgage, you won’t qualify for a tax deduction. This was one of the arguments listed in the con section above.
What is the best way to pay off my mortgage early? You have a couple of options on how to pay your mortgage off early. You can either pay it off in one lump sum for the entire amount or you can make extra payments every month towards the principal balance of your loan. Make sure your lender knows what that extra money is for.
What’s better… a 15-year mortgage? OR, make extra payments on a 30-year mortgage? This depends on how much you can afford to pay each month. For example, a fifteen-year mortgage loan will come with a lower interest rate and if you can afford that, then do it. However, if you know you have some big bills headed your way like putting your kids through college, then you may want to stick with the lower payment instead.
Final thoughts on paying off a mortgage early
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding to pay off your mortgage early. It comes down to your financial situation and what you see happening in your future.
Don’t rush into anything before deciding as important as this one. Consulting with a financial advisor is highly recommended in addition to doing some research on your own.
I hope this article helped you to have a better understanding of the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage early.