The realities of repaying your mortgage
If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the dream of owning and living comfortably in your own home. Ideally, without the hassle of rent or mortgage repayments. In reality though, we live in a country with the highest housing price-to-income ratio, and ever-rising property prices. Which means, most of us are realistically stuck with mortgages that take years to pay off, and it can feel overwhelming at times
The average first home owners in Australia are borrowing over $344,000, and the average Aussie home loan comes in at over $400,000. With fees and interest, the average Australian homeowner could quite easily be paying over $1,000,000 if not they’re not making their repayments as quickly as possible. At the same time, we are faced daily with hundreds of unique and original home loan options. It’s no real surprise then, that most of us are looking for real ways to repay our home loans early. But how can we do this practically, without a massive pay rise?
How can I repay my home loan early?
There is no such thing as a free lunch. If there were, we’d all be having a laugh in our mortgage-free houses or enjoying a barbie in our fully paid-off gardens. There are a few strategies you can use though, that could make a big difference in early home loan repayments.
Nice round numbers
A simple way to speed up your home loan repayment is to consider rounding up the figure directly debited from your account. The average Australian pays around ~5% per annum (standard variable) on the average home loan of around $400,000, a monthly repayment of $2150. If rounded up to $2200, roughly the price of 10 morning coffees, this totals $600 annually off the average home loan repayment.
The easiest way to do this and accelerate towards a life without mortgage repayments is to adjust your direct debit. Doing so is a one-off task and will make sure you don’t have to make the nail-biting decision each month.
Repay more often
Interest on a mortgage is calculated daily. Although mortgage repayments are often displayed as a monthly figure that doesn’t mean you have to repay the mortgage on a monthly basis. By making more regular repayments (weekly or fortnightly) you cut down the principal on which your interest is calculated. This one tactic could save you 10’s of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
Some expert help
If you can afford it, professional financial assistance can go a long way. Consider getting help from experts like mortgage brokers and lenders, financial planners and investment specialists. A trained advisor or specialist could help you consider financial strategies and do the legwork for you. With a clear idea of the steps needed to pay off your home loan early, professionals can make a big difference by giving you some structure to achieve this.
Experts will also take note of all the important factors like your income, where your property is located, other debt and your own determination or willpower. Considering your options, find a planner who can realistically help you achieve your mortgage repayment goals.
Rearranging the structure of your repayments can only go so far! When you’ve tried everything above, it’s time to make do some budget redesign. To really make a difference and pay off a home loan early, Australians have loads of options.
Are you currently using a savings plan? Paying higher than average utility bills or a monthly mobile cap you don’t really use? It’s likely that you could rethink the amount you spend on these things, isn’t it? By saving electricity, water, petrol or redirecting your savings direct debit, you could re-channel these funds into your home loan repayments.
By now you’ve probably heard of American Adam Hatter, who redesigned his budget and paid off his $157 000 mortgage in five years. The good news is, you don’t need to buy all your clothes from op shops like he and his wife did. Even small changes can make a big difference, like packing lunch rather than buying that $15 superfood salad. At this point it might seem like we have something against coffee, but do you really need that $3 barista-made flat white every day?
Whether this is your first, second or third home loan, you could do well to learn from professional investors. Whether you choose to invest in shares, bonds or more real estate, a smart investment plan can yield you profits for your repayments. You could even use half your profits for paying off your home loan early and reinvest some of your returns, depending on your strategy. Remember, be smart and go with a professional portfolio manager if you’re not confident.