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How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Getting sick of that big mortgage payment sucking money out of your account every month? Wondering how to pay off your mortgage faster?

Let’s figure out a way to get rid of it! And soon!

This article is all about how to pay off your mortgage faster.

  • If you’ve got 30 years left on your mortgage, do it in 7
  • Have 15 years left? Pay it off in 5
  • And, if you’re somewhere around 5 years to go, let’s cut that down to two years or less!

I’m serious! All of the above is achievable, and I’m going to show you how.

My Home Payoff Story

A few years back, I had a home mortgage with a remaining balance of $54,500. I had slowly paid it down over the course of three years, but then the switch flipped.

I wanted the mortgage gone! And I wanted it gone immediately! 

I came up with a plan and acted on it with every fiber of my being.

And you know what? I paid off that balance in just 11 months (while earning a salary of just $60,000 a year)!

how to pay off your mortgage fasterSince then, we:

  • bought a rental house
  • bought a larger primary house with acreage
  • invested heavily into the stock market
  • fully funded our kids’ private school funds AND college funds

And now, we’re starting a new addition on our house for a master bedroom and bathroom! All because we sucked it up and paid off our mortgage a few years ago. It’s AMAZING what can happen when you have absolutely no payments!!

I want this for you too. So let’s get into how to pay off YOUR mortgage faster!

What to Do BEFORE You Start Paying Down Your House

Before you start aggressively paying down your home mortgage, there’s actually a laundry list of things that you should do first!

Check out the full list here on my Get Started page.

In general though, be sure to first tackle these items first, before paying down the home mortgage!

  • Pay off your consumer debt
    • credit card debt
    • car loans
    • student loans
    • medical debt
  • Save up a 3-6 month emergency fund
  • Start investing in your retirement
  • Start saving for your kids’ college

Once you’re through these steps, it’s time to pay off that mortgage! And let’s see how fast we can do it!

How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster – If You Haven’t Bought a House Yet

If you haven’t yet bought a home, there are some important steps to consider before you take that initial plunge into home ownership…especially if you’re concerned about paying off that mortgage quickly.

1) Don’t Skip the Starter House

If you’re buying your first house, be sure to start with a smaller house that suits you. ie. If you’re a single guy, don’t buy a 4 bedroom 2 bath house for $500k. Instead, buy a 2 bedroom 1 bath house for $200k or less. 

Why start with such a small, inexpensive house?

There are a couple reasons:

  • Once you’re ready to pay off the mortgage with purpose, you’ll pay it off so much more quickly than if you bought a more expensive house!
  • And, houses typically appreciate by 3-5% per year…Investments can go up by 10% or more. It is much better to have a modest house that’s paid off because then you can aggressively invest your money elsewhere and probably retire earlier!

Related: Your House is a Terrible Investment

If you’re interested in paying off your house someday, keep your desires in check and buy only the house you need, not the supposed “house of your dreams”.

deal on real estate - house image2) Find a Deal

No matter how hot the housing market is, there’s always a deal to be found! 

It might have…

  • ugly carpet,
  • huge bushes in the front yard, and
  • a kitchen from the 1960’s…

…but that’s how you find a deal!

To get a solid house for a steal of a deal, you’ve got to find something that has cosmetic issues that regular consumers just can’t get their head past.

With issues like the above list, you can buy a house for a $40,000 discount, fix up all the stuff for $20,000, and then score yourself a $20,000 deal on your house!

Oh, and by the way…you got yourself a brand new kitchen and carpet in the process!

Related: 10 Ways to Find a Deal on Real Estate

3) Make a Big Down Payment

Want to know how to pay off your mortgage faster? Put at least 20% down.

That way you can avoid any additional PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) costs that the bank might hit you with. 

PMI is simply additional insurance for the bank

Since you owe them a lot of money and don’t have much equity in the house, they want some extra dollars in case you default early in the loan process. This is typically 1% of your mortgage balance each year, or an extra $1,000 for every $100,000 you borrow.

If your house is $200,000 and you don’t cover your 20% down payment for 5 years, that’s an unnecessary $10,000 that you’ll be shelling out to the bank…Not a great way for you to pay off your mortgage faster…

If you want to pay off your mortgage quickly, buy a house with 20% down from the start.

4) Plan to Pay It Off, Then Fix It Up

You know that deal of a house that you found? It was kind of ugly…

BUT, if I were you, I’d live with the ugly for a while. Like…AFTER you pay off your mortgage quickly.

Then, once your mortgage is gone, you’ll have a TON of cash flow that you can save up in a hurry, and THEN you can do all those upgrades right! And with CASH!!

I get it. The house is an eye-sore, but maybe that can be your motivation to pay off the mortgage at light speed!!

How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster – If You Already Own a House

Already own your house? But you still want to learn how to pay off your mortgage faster? Here are YOUR tips!

First of all, before you do anything, check with your lender to see if there are any pre-payment penalties.

In my experience, very few loans have a pre-payment penalty, but you should still check. I’d hate for you to be surprised with a bill after you excitedly make your final mortgage payment!

Now, onto the many ways you can pay down that mortgage faster than you thought possible! Let’s hit it!

dumb things people finance1) Get on the Same Page With Your Spouse

Remember early in this article when I said the switch flipped? That mainly happened because I wasn’t on the same page with my spouse…

  • She wanted to stop paying off debt so aggressively
  • I wanted to pay our house debt of at warp speed
  • We stayed stubborn, drifted apart, and she left me

We weren’t on the same page with our finances, and it cost us our marriage. 

DON’T do what I did. DON’T start this aggressive plan on your own without your partner. It’s not worth it. 

If you’re not both running the race together, then you’ll never win the race. In fact, you’ll lose miserably.

BUT, do it together and you’ll succeed by leaps and bounds! Your marriage will strengthen and you’ll do far more than you thought possible. It’s a beautiful thing! (FYI, I learned this on the second time around ;)).

2) Make a Plan and Write It Down

If you’re on the same page with your spouse (or if you’re single), then it’s time to come up with a plan for how to pay off your mortgage faster (and here’s a link to my free tool that might help you out)!

  • Figure out how much you can earn and what your expenses are each month.
  • Map out how much you can put toward the mortgage each and every month for the next year!
  • Then, write it down and commit to it!

(Actually…you may want to figure out a way to improve on that plan! We’ll cover this more on this in the tips below.)

3) Downsize

Not loving what your payoff plan is looking like? Then maybe your house is just too big and too expensive for you.

Perhaps it’s best if you just sell it, downsize, and commit to living in with a smaller footprint for many years to come.

Do this and I bet you’ll severely reduce the amount of time it takes to pay off your mortgage!

benefits of owning real estate4) Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments

If you’re struggling to come up with extra money above and beyond the mortgage payment each month, then this is a great tip for you. 

You likely get paid either every week or every other week, which makes paying your mortgage every two weeks much simpler than once monthly. Plus, over the course of the year, this turns into 13 months’ worth of payments instead of 12, which means you’re paying down more of the principle than with the conventional plan. 

What will this do for you?

If you had a 30 year mortgage, just this method alone will save you 5 years of payments. You’ll finish your mortgage in just 25 years.

This is great and all…but I honestly think you can do better! Let’s keep reading!

5) Refinance

What’s the interest rate on your current mortgage?

4%?

5%?

At the time of writing this article, the current interest rate is 3.2% for a 30 years mortgage and just 2.5% for a 15 year mortgage. They have ticked up in the last couple months, but they are still unbelievably low when compared to the historic averages!

When Is It Worth It to Refinance?

How long do you think it will take you to pay off your mortgage? Let’s say it’s 5 years. You want to make sure the benefits of the lower interest rates outweigh the cost of refinancing within that 5 year term. 

For example, let’s say it costs $3,000 to refinance, and the lower interest rate means you’ll save $50 a month in interest payments. 

  • In year one, you would have paid $3,000 to refinance
  • You would have saved just $600 in interest payments
  • In 5 years, you will finally save $3,000 

This means that your break-even time frame on your refinance is 5 years…but you plan on paying your house off in 5 years or less…so the refinances really isn’t worth it!

For me to refinance, I’d want to see a break even of three years or less! If it’s more than than, it’s probably not worth it. Just pay extra on the mortgage and forget about the hassle of refinancing!

how to pay off your mortgage faster6) Get Rid of Your PMI

If you put less than 20% down on your house when you bought it, then you likely make PMI payments every month. As I stated earlier in this article, that costs you roughly $1,000 for every $100,000 that you have borrowed. 

I actually only put 10% down on my first house, so I was paying PMI for those first 3 years….which suuuccckkkkkeeddd. Not recommended! 

But you know how I got rid of it? 

  • No, I didn’t need to pay for a house appraisal
  • And, I didn’t really need to do anything above and beyond

I simply paid off huge chunks of my mortgage for a couple of months, and then I called my bank and convinced them that my equity in the house is greater than 20% (the equity in this instance is the amount you own vs. the purchase price of the home). They agreed almost instantly and said they would remove the PMI payments that same day. 

Presto!

If your bank isn’t so easy to work with, they’ll at least tell you what you need to do to get rid of those extra bogus interest payments.

7) Cut Your Budget

Want to know how to pay off your mortgage faster? One great way is to cut waayyyyy back on your budget. 

Some areas to look into:

  • Food – many of us spend an insane amount on food. What if you made every meal at home and shopped at Aldi? How much could you save each month? I’m guessing multiple hundreds of dollars!
  • Amazon – It’s just too easy to order stuff today. Start paying attention to how much you’re buying through Amazon. I can almost guarantee you’ll be horrified at your own monthly spend.
  • Entertainment – Subscriptions, going out to events, entertaining friends at your place…these things all add up. You might need to get creative and look into more freebie activities!

When you really start to look at your budget and understand what you’re spending money on, you’ll find a TON of surprises – monthly expenses that you’ve totally forgotten about, bills that just seem way higher than you remember, and spend that you figure you can really do without…especially now that you’re staring directly at that dollar figure!

Writing out a budget is one of the most powerful things you’ll ever do, and it will certainly help you pay off that home mortgage faster!!

Related: How to Drastically Cut Expenses – Your Guide to a Brighter Future!

how to pay off your mortgage faster8) Earn More

Do you work just one job? Making the same income that you’ve been making for the last few years?

You could be doing so much more.

For one, you could prove your worth at work and probably get yourself a raise.

Second, instead of watching TV or scrolling through social media, you could be making some side hustle income!

Want some ideas? Here’s some great side hustle posts I have written recently:

9) Tackle the Principle

Just a point of clarification here that could make a BIG difference in how quickly you pay off your mortgage.

If you pay extra on your mortgage without specifying that you want the payment to go toward the principle, those dodo brains at the bank might just apply your money to the next month’s payment…which doesn’t reduce your interest payment at all! And therefore saves you no money and doesn’t reduce your mortgage payoff date!

If you make extra payments, be specific. “I want this to go toward the principle!”

10) Use Your Tax Refund

The majority of the population gets a tax refund every year. If you get a refund this year, commit to putting it toward your mortgage!

This can really make a HUGE difference in your pay off date, especially if you’re getting $10,000 or more back!

11) Reduce Your Taxes Paid Each Month

To the above point, if you are one of those that receives thousands of dollars back from Uncle Sam every year, please stop! 

You’re essentially paying the government hundreds of dollars too much out of every paycheck.

Instead of doing this for yet another year, increase the number of dependents on your W9 to decrease the amount you’re paying in taxes from each paycheck.

Then, use those extra dollars from each paycheck to put toward the mortgage immediately (instead of waiting another whole year for that way-too-big tax refund!)!!

Related: Time For a Mid-Year Tax Review – It Could Save You Thousands!!

12) Rent Out a Room of Your House

Now it’s time to get a little creative. 

Want your home mortgage gone even sooner? Have an extra room in the house?

Maybe you’d like to rent it out for a few hundred bucks a month! With a good roommate, this can really feel like zero effort and the money you’ll earn is substantial! If you think you can handle it, it might just be worth it!

what to look for in your house search13) Rent Out Your House as a Vacation Rental

If you’re not big on renting out a room of your house while you’re there, perhaps you wouldn’t mind turning your home into a rental while you’re gone!

Sound strange? 

Kind of, but the money could be really good.

If you live near a vacation destination (like, near a popular city or near a body of water), then you can probably rent out your house for a week or two on Vrbo for thousands of dollars. The best part is, all your earnings are tax free for up to 14 rental days!

  • Just make a plan to stay at your parents’ or friends’ house,
  • pay them a few hundred bucks for the trouble, and then
  • cash in with a few thousand dollars on your primary home turned rental. 

It’s an out-of-the-box idea, but if you’re serious about getting rid of your mortgage (like, yesterday!), then it might just be the idea for you!

cutting household expenses14) Get Rid of Your Escrow

I can’t stand escrows.

Essentially, it’s the bank holding your hand because they think you can’t save up enough money on your own to pay the property taxes and your home insurance. So, they build the payment amount into your monthly mortgage figure…but they always assume that your insurance and taxes will be more than they are (to cover their butts of course).

Not only is the bank having you pay too much into your escrow account per month, but they also keep a padding in your account just in case (also known as a 0% interest savings account for you…). Oh, and they might even be charging you a monthly service fee to do ‘all this for you’. (major eye-roll emoticon)…

If you’re out of your PMI stage, you can cancel your escrow and have the bank send you your escrow balance. I say do it and use all the excess funds toward your mortgage!

Plus, now that you’re taking care of the insurance instead of the bank, YOU can start to negotiate your rates with the insurance company. Or, take your business to someone else that may be far cheaper!

Soooooo many advantages to ditching your escrow! I hope you learn to hate it as much as I do.

How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster – Just Hate It, Plain and Simple

You’ve been wanting to know how to pay off your mortgage faster, and this article should really help. BUT, if you really want that mortgage gone, you’re just going to have to wage war against it.

You’ve got to hate it so much that you wake up every morning with this bitter taste in your mouth, with this thought of what more you can do today vs. yesterday to just get this mortgage out of your life!

It’s time to own your property outright. It’s time to kick the bank out of your life! Once you become completely debt free, you’ll never go back again!

Declare war on your mortgage.

If you think you can pay it off in 7 years, I bet you can do it in 5 or less.

Get passionate about it, make a plan to take it down, and then just keep driving toward. Don’t back down.

You’ll soon discover that you’ve done it and you’ll be standing in the backyard with your shoes off, walking through YOUR grass. And FYI…the feeling never gets old! 

Are you figuring out how to pay off your mortgage faster? Have any more ideas? Share them with us in the comments below!!

Get Out of Debt Housing Money Mortgage Payoff

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

6 Comments

  1. I would add that if you have extra cash sitting around and no plan for it, that the best thing you can do is to drop that lump sum right into a principal payment. If you can pay down 20-50% of your mortgage NOW, it will shorten up the loan quite significantly without you needing to do much of anything else. I put together a spreadsheet here to help folks crunch the numbers: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/2/d/1YoGvzK8hv6r-bNrtaBChA9K9CzmXABilykXQnOZ99jY/edit?usp=sharing

    • Very cool. Thanks for the extra resource, AR!

  2. You can also get an Amortization Schedule on your loan and make the next month’s principle payment with each regular payment and that will cut your loan down quicker.

    • Yup! Exactly! That’s what paying that principle payment does – it shortens up that amortization schedule. Such a cool phenomenon!

  3. Great suggestions as always! We have an emergency fund and retirement savings. The mortgage is our only debt, so we are starting a refi and the break-even is less than 2 years. We will take what we save and put it towards the principal.

    • That’s great, Carlyn! You will feel so free once you pay off that mortgage! And, you’ll feel like you have so much cash flow once it’s gone too! Be sure to let me know once you finally get rid of it!


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