When taking on any debt, we want to know many factors before agreeing to it. Aside from the primary concerns of the overall amount financed and the interest rate, there are two big things people worry about – the term of the loan (how long it takes to pay off) and monthly payments.
Let’s say, for example, you want a home that is $200,000 with an FHA home loan. You will have to plunk down $7000 for a 3.5 percent down payment. Then, we will take the hypothetical $1000 property taxes, plus the $1200 annual homeowner’s insurance.
If you were set up with a 3.75 percent interest rate at a term of 30 years, your monthly payment would be around $1,077 per month when you include taxes and insurance. Let’s say that time commitment makes you nervous, and you want to pay this mortgage off faster than 30 years.
Simply make more of a payment each month towards the principal. This will help lower the life of the loan, help save you money on interest and give piece of mind. Even by adding an additional payment of $100 can lower the life of the loan. For most borrowers a 30 year mortgage is favorable over a 15 year due to the lower payment. The 30 year provides flexibility to make additional payments towards the principal each month so you can pay the loan off earlier than 30 years.
One of the biggest reasons you will want to stick to the longest term possible for a federal home loan is that there are no penalty fees for paying off your mortgage early. If you were in the position to pay off the remainder of your loan early, after you put aside a hefty amount of savings (we would say enough reserves to last you at a minimum of a year), you do not have to pay a retribution fee as punishment for the lender missing out on all that extra interest.
Remember, while a mortgage has potential to save you money and the money will be going towards your own property, a mortgage is still a financial undertaking. Putting undue pressure on yourself by shortening your loan term, or paying off your loan early if it means draining your assets, is not recommended.
A mortgage does not have to feel like a weight on your shoulders – it can be a liberating experience. If you have any doubts, ask your lender or seek out a friend, family member, or coworker who has gotten a mortgage. Asking others could provide you with some helpful advice.