A man is sitting at a table making extra mortgage payments.

Making Extra Mortgage Payments: Quick Tips for Fast Results

Making extra mortgage payments can be a financially intelligent move for homeowners who want to reduce their loan term, save on interest, and gain equity faster. By understanding the implications of additional payments towards the principal balance, borrowers can make well-informed decisions about their mortgage and reap potential financial benefits in the long run.

Understanding mortgage basics is essential to grasp the significance of extra payments. A mortgage consists of the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance components, with the interest typically being the largest expense over the life of the loan. By making extra payments, homeowners can directly reduce the principal balance, leading to significant interest savings and a reduced loan term.

Before deciding to make extra mortgage payments, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks and alternative strategies. Some borrowers may benefit more from investing their extra funds, refinancing their mortgage, or focusing on other financial priorities. Tools, calculations, and strategic considerations can help homeowners make the best decision for their unique financial situations.

Key Takeaways from Making Extra Mortgage Payments

  • Making extra mortgage payments can reduce loan term and save on interest.
  • Understanding mortgage basics helps in evaluating the potential benefits of additional payments.
  • It’s important to weigh potential drawbacks and alternatives before committing to extra mortgage payments.

Understanding Mortgage Basics

Components of a Mortgage Payment

A mortgage consists of a loan taken to purchase property, typically a home. The borrower agrees to make monthly payments over a specified term until the loan is paid off. Each payment goes toward paying off the principal (the original loan amount) and the interest (the cost of borrowing the money). The mortgage payments can be divided into two parts:

  1. Principal: The portion of your payment that goes toward reducing the original loan balance.
  2. Interest: The portion of your payment that goes toward the cost of borrowing the money.

Of note, borrowers often have to pay additional items like property taxes and insurance as part of their mortgage payments.

Types of Mortgages

There are different types of mortgages, including:

  • Fixed-rate mortgage: This type of mortgage has a fixed interest rate for the entire term of the loan, which means the monthly payment remains the same.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM): For ARMs, the interest rate can change after an initial fixed-rate period. This means the monthly payment can increase or decrease over the term of the loan.

How Interest Affects the Loan

The interest rate plays a significant role in a mortgage. A lower interest rate can save the borrower a substantial amount of money over the loan’s term. In the early years of a mortgage, most of your monthly payment goes toward paying off the interest. As the loan balance decreases over time, the proportion of the payment applied to the principal increases.

Let’s consider an example:

YearMortgage BalancePrincipal PaymentInterest Payment

As the table shows, the principal payment gradually increases over time, while the interest payment decreases. Making extra mortgage payments can reduce the loan balance faster, which results in less interest paid over the life of the loan.

Benefits of Making Extra Mortgage Payments

Interest Savings

One of the significant advantages of making extra mortgage payments is interest savings. By paying more than the required monthly mortgage payment, homeowners can effectively decrease the total amount of interest paid over the life of the loan. This can lead to substantial savings, as interest on a mortgage can be a considerable expense. Learn more about what it means and how to prepay your mortgage.

Shortened Loan Term

Another benefit of making extra mortgage payments is the possibility of shortening the loan term. By paying more towards the principal balance each month, homeowners can reduce the number of months or years it takes to completely pay off the loan. A shortened loan term not only means less time spent making mortgage payments but also an earlier achievement of full homeownership.

Building Equity Faster

Lastly, making extra mortgage payments can help homeowners build equity in their homes more quickly. Home equity is the difference between the property’s current market value and the outstanding balance of the mortgage. As extra payments are applied directly to the principal balance, equity increases at a greater rate, providing homeowners with access to valuable financial resources. Furthermore, a higher home equity can lead to a better financial position in case the property needs to be sold or refinanced in the future.

How to Make Extra Mortgage Payments

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When you want to make extra mortgage payments, you have a few options to consider. These additional payments can help reduce your loan principal faster and save you money on interest. In this section, we’ll explore three popular methods: Biweekly Payment Plans, Lump Sum Payments, and Regular Extra Payments.

Biweekly Payment Plans

A biweekly payment plan is a simple and effective way to make extra mortgage payments. Instead of making your regular monthly payment, you split it in half and pay that amount every two weeks. By doing so, you end up making 26 half-payments, which is equivalent to 13 full payments a year.

Here’s a comparison of monthly and biweekly payments:

Payment SchedulePayments per YearTotal Payments
Biweekly26 (13 full)339

With a biweekly plan, you’ll pay off your mortgage sooner and save on interest. Just make sure to check with your lender if they allow this payment option and if there are any fees associated with it.

Lump Sum Payments

Another approach is to make lump sum payments towards your mortgage principal. You can do this whenever you receive a bonus, tax refund, or any other windfall. The idea here is to reduce your principal balance, and consequently, the amount of interest you pay throughout the loan term.

To make a lump sum payment:

  1. Contact your lender and let them know you’d like to make a principal-only payment.
  2. Confirm that the payment will be applied to the principal.
  3. Make the payment through your lender’s preferred method.

Remember, even a small lump sum payment can make a significant difference in your overall mortgage costs.

Regular Extra Payments

Lastly, you can choose to make regular extra payments along with your monthly mortgage payment. This can be a fixed amount that you consistently add to your regular payment.

For instance, if your monthly payment is $1,000, you could decide to pay an extra $100 every month. When making extra payments, ensure that the additional amount is applied to the principal and not pre-paying future payments.

Example PaymentAmountTotal Payment
Regular Monthly$1,000$1,000
Regular + Extra$1,000+$100$1,100

Check with your lender to determine the best way to make these regular extra payments and avoid any prepayment penalties.

In conclusion, making extra mortgage payments through biweekly plans, lump sum payments, or regular extra payments can help you save on interest and pay off your mortgage sooner. Explore your options and choose the one that best fits your financial goals.

Potential Drawbacks

Prepayment Penalties

While making extra mortgage payments might seem like a great idea, some mortgage lenders impose prepayment penalties. These penalties are charged when a homeowner pays off a significant portion or the entirety of their mortgage before the agreed-upon term. It’s essential to review your mortgage contract and check with your lender before making additional payments.

Typically, the penalty is calculated using different methods, such as:

  • A fixed percentage of the remaining balance.
  • A certain number of months’ interest.

It’s crucial to weigh the potential savings from making extra mortgage payments against any potential prepayment penalties before proceeding.

Financial Flexibility Trade-offs

Another possible drawback of making extra mortgage payments is reducing your financial flexibility. While homeowners may enjoy the idea of being debt-free sooner, it might lead to less cash flow available for other financial needs. For example, allocating a significant portion of your disposable income toward your mortgage might prevent you from:

  • Building an emergency savings fund.
  • Investing in retirement accounts.
  • Paying off higher-interest debts.

Moreover, some might argue that mortgage debt is relatively low-cost debt when interest rates are low. In these situations, it could potentially be more financially beneficial to invest the extra money or focus on paying off debts with higher interest rates.

In conclusion, while making extra mortgage payments can definitely prove advantageous in many situations, it’s crucial to carefully examine any potential drawbacks and how they might impact your financial priorities.

Considerations Before Paying Extra

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Current Financial Status

Before making extra mortgage payments, it’s important to evaluate your current financial status. Ask yourself if you have an emergency fund with at least 3-6 months of living expenses saved up. If not, prioritize building this financial safety net.

  • Emergency Fund: 3-6 months of living expenses
  • Stable Income: Ensure you have a consistent and reliable source of income

Maintaining a healthy credit score is also important, as it can impact potential refinancing and borrowing opportunities in the future.

Investment Opportunities vs. Mortgage Payoff

Weigh the potential benefits of investing in opportunities like retirement accounts, stocks, or bonds versus paying off your mortgage early. If the expected return on investments is higher than the mortgage interest rate, it might be more beneficial to invest.

For instance, if:

  • Mortgage interest rate: 4%
  • Expected return on investments: 7%

In this case, investing could be more advantageous.

Also, consider the potential tax benefits of your mortgage interest deductions, as these may lower your overall housing costs.

Other Debts and Interest Rates

Take a look at any other outstanding debts and their respective interest rates. Focus on paying off high-interest debts, such as credit card balances or personal loans, before making extra mortgage payments.


  1. Credit Card Debt: 18% Interest Rate
  2. Personal Loan: 12% Interest Rate
  3. Mortgage: 4% Interest Rate

Pay off debts in order of highest to lowest interest rates.

Personal Financial Goals

Lastly, think about your personal financial goals, such as saving for college tuition, traveling, or purchasing a new car. Determine what’s most important to you and allocate your funds accordingly. Balancing your priorities with the financial advantages of paying off your mortgage early can help you create a plan that works for your individual needs.

Alternatives to Extra Payments

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Sometimes, making extra mortgage payments may not be the best option for homeowners. In this section, we will explore three alternative strategies that can help you save on your mortgage: refinancing, mortgage recasting, and utilizing windfalls.

Refinancing Your Mortgage

Refinancing is the process of replacing your current mortgage with a new one, often at a lower interest rate. This can be a great option for homeowners who have improved their credit score or are able to take advantage of lower interest rates. However, refinancing comes with some costs, such as loan origination fees and appraisal fees.


  • Potential for lower interest rates
  • Change the term of your mortgage
  • Switch from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage


  • Upfront costs
  • Resetting the clock on your mortgage
  • Potentially extending your loan term

Mortgage Recasting

Another alternative to making extra payments is mortgage recasting. With this approach, homeowners make a large lump-sum payment towards their principal balance, and the lender then re-amortizes the loan based on the new lower balance and the original interest rate and term. This effectively lowers your monthly payment and can help you save on long-term interest.


  • Lower monthly payments
  • Maintain original interest rate and term
  • One-time lump-sum payment


  • Some lenders may charge a small fee
  • Not all mortgages are eligible
  • Requires a sizable chunk of cash upfront

Utilizing Windfalls

When you receive an unexpected financial windfall (such as an inheritance, bonus, or tax refund), one option to consider is using it to pay down your mortgage. This can be a great way to make a dent in your mortgage balance, especially if you’re not comfortable with refinancing or recasting.

However, before you put your windfall towards your mortgage, consider other options such as:

  1. Paying off high-interest debt
  2. Investing in the stock market or real estate
  3. Building an emergency fund
  4. Contributing to retirement savings

By weighing the pros and cons of these alternatives to extra mortgage payments, homeowners can make an informed decision on the best course of action for their unique financial situation.

Tools and Calculations

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Using a Mortgage Calculator

Mortgage calculators can be an excellent resource when considering extra mortgage payments. These online tools can quickly estimate the potential savings and how it may affect your overall financial situation. The Extra Mortgage Payment Calculator is a helpful tool to get started. To use the calculator, simply input your loan details, such as the loan amount, interest rate, and term. Then, enter the extra payment amount you want to make, and the calculator will show you the potential savings in interest and the new payoff date.

Analyzing Loan Amortization Schedules

A loan amortization schedule is a report that breaks down your mortgage payments over time, showing how much is applied to your principal balance and interest. By understanding how much of your regular payment goes towards interest, you can better assess the impact of making extra principal payments.

Examining a loan amortization schedule allows you to:

  • Identify when your mortgage reaches its tipping point (where more of the payment goes towards principal than interest)
  • Determine how additional payments can expedite your mortgage payoff
  • Analyze how specific principal payments will affect your interest and principal balance over time

Understanding the Impact on Taxes

Extra mortgage payments can also affect your taxes. Mortgage interest is tax-deductible in many countries, meaning the amount of interest paid can be deducted from your taxable income. As you make extra payments and reduce your loan balance, the amount of tax-deductible interest will decrease.

However, it is essential to weigh the tax benefits against the potential savings in interest payments. Reducing your overall interest expense could save you more money in the long run than the tax savings. Consider consulting a financial advisor to understand the full tax implications of making extra mortgage payments.

Strategic Considerations for Extra Payments

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Before diving into making extra mortgage payments, it’s essential to consider some key factors that may affect your decision. This section will outline some strategic considerations to keep in mind.

Timeline for Homeownership

When deciding whether to make extra mortgage payments, consider your timeline for homeownership. If you plan to stay in your home for a long time, paying off your mortgage early can save you money in the long run with reduced interest payments. However, if you anticipate moving within a few years, it may make more sense to prioritize other financial goals before investing extra into your mortgage.

Housing Market Conditions

The housing market plays a significant role in determining if extra mortgage payments are a wise decision. If the market is in an upward trajectory, your home value may be increasing, increasing equity without needing to make additional payments. However, in a declining market, you may be earning more on your investment by putting that money elsewhere or switching your loan type to take advantage of lower rates.

Risk Tolerance

Your risk tolerance, or how much financial uncertainty you’re willing to handle, should also be considered when deciding on extra mortgage payments. If you’re risk-averse, paying off your mortgage early can provide a sense of stability and security. On the other hand, if you’re comfortable with some risk, you might want to invest your extra funds in vehicles with potential for higher returns.

Some additional factors to consider when making extra mortgage payments include:

  • Loan type: Refinancing to a lower interest rate or shorter loan term might provide similar benefits to making extra payments without the need to commit additional funds.
  • Mortgage insurance: If you’re paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI), making extra payments might help you reach the point where PMI is no longer required, potentially lowering your overall housing costs.

In summary, when determining whether to make extra mortgage payments, gauge your timeline for homeownership, evaluate the housing market conditions, and consider your risk tolerance. Assessing these factors will help you make a well-informed decision in managing your mortgage and financial goals.