Refinancing Isn’t The Only Way to Lower Your Mortgage Payment
By now, you have probably heard of refinancing your mortgage. This is where, when interest rates drop significantly, you essentially trade in your old mortgage for a new one. The downside is that it costs you quite a bit of money. You have to pay for an appraisal and fees and closing costs just like you did with your first mortgage. It can result in you having money on hand for needed repairs or debt payoff, and a lower overall payment, which makes it overall a good idea when interest rates are significantly different than they were for your first mortgage. This is a current trend in today’s market.
Recasting your Mortgage
If your current mortgage rate is pretty good, there could still be a way for you to lower your mortgage payment. If you have a large chunk of cash sitting around not gaining much in interest, putting that money to your mortgage might be a good option. First, ask your mortgage holder if they offer what is called a mortgage Recast option, and if they do, ask them if there is a fee. I have Wells Fargo, and they do not charge anything. Recasting a mortgage is when you make a very large principal payment, and as a result, the mortgage lender re-amortizes your remaining balance. This means that the loan length and interest rate stay the same, but the payment gets lowered because you have decreased how much has to be paid off over the remainder of the loan years. For example, I currently owe about $123,000 on my mortgage. I pay $883 per month toward principal and interest, not counting the escrow (taxes and insurance). If I pay a one time payment of $50,000, my payment drops to $374 per month for principal and interest. This means I am obligated to pay over $500 less per month, which can be a life saver in case of hard times later. If I continue to pay my normal payment after making that large principal payment, my loan will be paid off years earlier. Or, I could invest that extra $500 per month, potentially making tons of extra money over time. That same $50,000 is only earning about $20 per month in interest in a savings account right now, so it seems like a good time to consider putting the money somewhere that it can at least save me money in interest.
What to Consider First
I would only consider doing this if you already have a significant emergency fund saved up. If you find that you still have a large chunk of change that isn’t earning you significant interest, it could be a good time to put that money to work. Remember, if money isn’t at least earning enough to offset inflation (at least 2% or more), then it is essentially losing value over time. Better to put it somewhere that either earns you more (investing), or saves you more (decreasing debt).
There is more than one way to change your mortgage payment, if you have significant savings in the bank.
Always make sure you have an emergency fund that is easily accessible before putting large sums of money into investing or recasting a mortgage, or any other endeavor for that matter. Security is essential.
Talk to your financial advisor about where to put extra savings, and consider recasting your mortgage as a possibility that may not cost you anything except the payment you put toward your mortgage.