Should you get a shorter-term mortgage, make extra payments or something else?
When getting a home mortgage, if you can afford higher payments, often there is an option for a 15-year loan instead of one of 30-years. This can be very enticing, since you will be free of a mortgage in half the time and pay a lot less in interest.
Let’s use a $200,000 mortgage as an example the payment (P&I, Principal, and Interest, not including escrow for taxes and insurance) is approximately $955 at a 4% mortgage interest rate. You’d pay a total of $343,739 over that 30 years. Using the same rate, a $200,000 mortgage over 15 years would require a P&I payment of $1,479 at the same interest rate, and you’d pay a total of $266,288 over the life of the loan.
If you can make those higher payments, you would be saving around $80,000 over the life of the mortgage of 15 years. There is also another option when it comes mortgage payments. You can cut your mortgage time by five or more years if you have your lender set up bi-weekly automated payments. This means that you would be paying every two weeks instead of one monthly payment. Since some months may have 5 weeks instead of 4, you end up paying an equivalent of an extra payment each year. This is an easy way to help save money while paying off your mortgage sooner.
This is looking at your other debt, especially credit cards, store credit or signature loans. There is an average of $6,500 to over $9,000 for average credit card debt per household. Along with that, multiple sources report the average credit card interest rate rose to 15.59% in 2018.
Going back to the comparison between the 15 and 30-year mortgages, the difference between the two payments is around $500. One plan might be to pay off that credit card debt using this money. This could help get rid of credit card debt in around a year and then you could start working towards making extra payments toward your mortgage.
While you could be paying off your short-term higher rate debt, then using that money towards paying off your mortgage.