One of the simplest ways to save money on your mortgage is by lowering your interest rate.
This is generally accomplished via a rate and term refinance, where the loan amount stays the same, but the interest rate and loan term are changed.
For example, if you’re currently stuck with a 6% interest rate on your 30-year fixed mortgage, refinancing to a rate closer to 4% will save you some dough each month.
Not only will it reduce your monthly payment, making life more affordable, but it will also result in less interest paid throughout the life of the loan.
You Can Still Save Money
While you won’t be able to lower your monthly payment without refinancing, you can still save a ton of money on your mortgage another way.
Sure, a refinance combined with extra monthly payments would save you even more money, but if you don’t have that option, this is the next best thing.
Imagine you took out a $100,000 mortgage five years ago and got a rate of 6% on a 30-year fixed.
You inquire about a refinance but after some shopping around determine you’re ineligible because your credit score isn’t up to snuff.
Instead of simply giving up, you can make larger payments each month and shave years off your mortgage (and pay a lot less interest).
If you paid an extra $100 monthly after making the standard payment for the first five years of the loan, you’d still save more than $26,000 and shorten the term to just over 23 years.
If you paid an extra $200 per month (after five years), you’d save more than $40,000 in interest and turn your 30-year mortgage into a 20-year loan.
The beauty of the non-refinance route is that you also don’t reset the clock on your mortgage. In other words, you don’t extend the term with a fresh loan. In fact, you do the complete opposite.
But You Need Money…
There’s one huge caveat to this. You need money! Yes, if you actually want to save money on your mortgage without refinancing, you’ll need to make larger payments.
So for those looking to refinance to free up some cash, this method isn’t for you.
But for those who have extra cash lying around, you can get the same interest savings associated with a refinance by paying extra each month or in one lump sum.
Just keep in mind that the extra payments won’t lower future monthly payments. It’ll just reduce your term and total interest expense.
And who knows – if you pay down your mortgage more quickly now, you might be able to refinance in the future more easily because you’ll have a lower loan-to-value ratio.
Read more: Why are mortgage payments mostly interest?