Seven Easy Ways To Smash That Home Loan!

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Pop the Cork, You Now Own the Property

Now that you have your home loan and have moved into your brand new home, here are some really cool ways to pay it off fast. The following techniques are guaranteed to help pay down your loan faster, which will save you interest.


1 – Pay It Off Quickly

The quicker you pay off your mortgage, the less you end up having to pay on it overall. As an example, let’s say that you just got yourself a $400K loan at 6% over a 30-year term. This would mean a principal and interest repayment of $2398 per month. Over the 30-year term, your total repayments would amount to just over $863,000 to pay back the original $400,000 loan.

However, if you have enough spare income to pay an extra $1000 per month, it would reduce your home loan term by a staggering 15yrs and 2 months, saving you over $258,000 in interest. You could put that money to good use and maybe buy an investment property. I am not advocating that you live like a pauper; just make extra repayments when you can. You still have to enjoy life, so don’t be a slave to your mortgage.


2 – Make Accelerated, Fortnightly Repayments

It is easy to make an extra monthly repayment each year without really feeling the squeeze. Simply divide your monthly payment in two and then pay fortnightly instead of monthly. You would make what equates to 13 payments each year instead of 12, as there are 26 fortnight’s in a year.

By doing this, instead of paying $28,776 per year, you would actually pay $31,174. This simple adjustment in the payment schedule can shave up to 4.5 years off your 30-year loan term and save you around $69,000.


3 – Can You Pretend the Interest Rate Is Higher?

As I currently write this, 400K loans receive an interest rate of around 4.6% pa from some of the major lenders, requiring a repayment of only $2051 per month. If you can afford to pretend that the rate is 6% and pay $2398 per month, this self-imposed buffer of 1.4% would mean that you are paying an extra $347 per month.

If you can do this, you will cut your 30-year loan term down to about 21.8 years. Even if 1.4% is not achievable, paying more than is actually required each month, regardless of how much it is, brings down the length of your loan term.


4 – Do I Really Need To Buy That?

Maybe you think it will be too hard to come up with the extra money to put toward the loan. While the methods I have described should be fairly painless, you may find them even easier to actualize if you take control of unnecessary spending. Are you still paying your gym membership, even though you haven’t been there for the last 6 months? Can you give up the smokes? Do you buy your lunch and two lattes every day?

When I had my music shop, I used to buy lunch and have at least two coffees a day. The total cost was about $18 per day (lunch, $12 and coffee, $3.50each), or $90 per week. Allowing for 4-weeks’ leave per year, that equates to $4,320 per year. What would happen if I bought my lunch 4 times a week and had just one coffee a day? My weekly spend would go down to $29.50 per week, giving me just over $60 per week to put towards my mortgage. That equates to $260 per month. I think you get the point.

I am sure there are areas that, if you were honest with yourself, you could find ways to save some money. When you shop for groceries, make a list and stick to it. Cut out impulse buys; do you really need that brand new car when one a few years old will cost considerably less. Can you do public transport?


5 – Lump Sum Payments

Many people routinely receive a large chunk of money, and they generally have all sorts of plans of what to do with it. These may be a lump sum from a tax return or a work bonus. Instead of spending it on a holiday or a new wardrobe, consider putting it towards your mortgage.

A lump sum repayment of $5000 on a $400,000 loan in Year 2 of a 30-year loan, with an interest rate of 6%, will reduce the loan term down to 29 years and 1 month, saving you over $21,000 in interest. Imagine how much it would reduce your loan if you were to receive a refund or bonus every year of a similar amount and put each one toward your mortgage.

The following website has a simple calculator you can use to see how a lump sum payment lowers the loan term and overall cost of the loan.

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6 – Use an Offset Account

An offset account is a transaction account linked to your variable-rate home loan. The money in that account offsets your loan balance. The more money you have in the account, the less interest you pay on your home loan. Instead of putting your spare cash into an interest-bearing account, where you earn very little interest and pay tax on the interest you do earn, transfer any spare money you have into your offset account.

Let’s say you could keep a balance of 10,000 per month in your offset account against your $400,000 loan, with an interest rate of 6%. This means that the bank only charges interest on $390,000. The interest payable on a $400,000 loan at 6% is $2,000per month. However, on a $390,000 loan at 6% the interest is $1950 per month. You actually make an extra $50 repayment per month. As a result, you would save around $46,874 in interest and shave about 1yr and 7 months off your 30yr loan term.

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Most lender website’s have these calculator’s that you can use to see how extra repayments can lower the time of your loan and interest saved.

To make your offset work better for you, have your salary or wages paid into your offset. If your pay goes directly into your offset account, it immediately reduces the interest you pay on your home loan. Even if it’s only in there for a couple of days, it adds up, and you can still take your money out as with a normal bank account.

With this set up, use your credit card for everyday purchases. To do this, you need to be a disciplined spender, and you need to know how much your monthly expenses are. Keep enough money for your expenses (groceries, utility bills, etc.) in your account, but use your credit card to pay for them instead. This allows you to keep the maximum amount in your account at all times, offsetting interest.

Then, at the end of the month, transfer the money you have set aside from your offset account and pay off your credit card balance in full so that you don’t accrue any credit card interest. It is crucial that you set aside the money for your expenses in your account so that you’re able to pay off all the expenses you’ve put onto your credit card at the end of each month. If you’re not able to do this, you’ll end up paying interest on your credit card. If you’re not disciplined with your credit card, this may not be the best option for you.


7 – Consolidate Your Debts

Many people carry a personal loan at 12% interest and have a couple of credit cards, which they don’t clear the balances on each month, potentially accruing interest charges in the vicinity of 18-20%. Assuming that you have a bit of equity in your property, you may be able to consolidate these debts into your home loan, bringing the interest rate down to 5-6%.

Here is how to make this really work for you; pay the new consolidated loan the sum total of all the original loan repayments. This means that you pay extra off your home loan without really feeling it; you were already paying that same amount every month.


Another left of centre way to reduce one’s mortgage will be revealed in another blog…stay tuned