Sharon Simmons' Blog
Paying off a mortgage early is a dream of many homeowners. By making larger payments on your home loan, you can cut years off of your loan term and save thousands of dollars in interest payments that you can use toward savings or investments. But in an economy that has seen decades of wage stagnation and increasing costs of living, it can often seem like an unattainable goal.
With some planning and initiative, however, there are ways to pay off your home loan before your term limit.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about three of the ways you can start paying off your mortgage early to avoid high interest payments and save yourself money along the way.
1. Refinance your mortgage
If you’re considering making larger payments on your mortgage, it might make sense to look at refinancing options. Most Americans take out 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.
If you can afford to significantly increase your mortgage payments each month, you could refinance to a 15-year mortgage. This will save you on the number of interest payments you’ll have to make over the years. But, it will also help you secure a lower interest rate since shorter term mortgages typically come with lower interest rates.
This option isn’t for everyone. First, refinancing comes with fees you’ll have to pay for upfront. You’ll have to apply for refinancing, get an appraisal of your home, and wait for the decision to be made.
But, you’ll also have to ensure that you can keep up with your higher monthly payments. If your income is variable or undependable, it might not be the safest option to refinance to a shorter term mortgage.
2. Make extra payments
An option that entails less risk than refinancing is to simply increase your monthly payments. If you recently got a raise or are just reallocating funds to try and tackle your mortgage, this is an excellent option.
Depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to simple increase your auto-pay amounts each month, streamlining the process. Otherwise, it’s possible to set up bill-pay with most banks to automatically transfer funds to your lender.
3. Bi-weekly payments or one extra payment per year
Making bi-weekly instead of monthly payments is an option that many homeowners use to pay off their mortgages early. Bi-weekly payments work by paying half of your monthly payment once every two weeks.
The vast majority of homeowners make 12 monthly payments per year. But by switching to 26 bi-weekly payments, you can effectively make 13 full monthly payments in a year without seeing too much of a difference in your daily budget.
This doesn’t seem like much savings in the short term, but let’s take a look at how much you could save over the term of a 30-year mortgage.
On a 30-year fixed mortgage of $200,000 with a 4.03 annual interest rate, you would make a monthly payment of $958.00 and a bi-weekly payment of $479.
Over 30 years of an extra monthly payment, you could save nearly $20,000 on the total interest amount and pay off your mortgage almost 5 years early.
With more and more people abandoning cable television in favor of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go, having a reliable internet connection is more important than ever. However, as much as technology has improved in recent years, many people across the nation still have poor WiFi reception in their homes.
There are ways to improve your home WiFi reception that you may not be aware of. There are also many common mistakes that homeowners make in setting up their routers that might cause them connectivity and reception issues.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the reasons your home WiFi might not be performing as well as you’d like, and how to address those problems so you can stream and download at higher rates with better quality.
Testing your internet speed
Before we start diagnosing your internet problems, it’s a good idea to find out how your reception compares to others in your area. While there are a few good online resources to do this, one of the most respected tools is the free Speedtest by Ookla.
You can take this speed test on your laptop, desktop, cell phone, and any other decides that you connect to your router. You can also move your devices to different parts of the home to determine if your issue is a matter of reach.
If all of your devices perform poorly, try plugging your computer directly into your cable modem and taking the speed test. This will help you determine if your router is possibly malfunctioning.
Update firmware and devices
If you have an older router, it may need to be updated. To do this, you’ll need to login to your router’s administrator interface. Find out how to do this by visiting the router manufacturer’s website.
Once you’ve ensured that your device is updated, it’s a good idea to diagnose your devices. If you have one device that is performing worse than others, you may have to do software updates or maintenance to that device.
Change the placement of your router
Sometimes poor WiFi reception is simply a matter of the location of your router. Wireless routers should be elevated off of the ground and away from any large appliances that may interfere with reception.
Change your router channel
Just like radios, routers work on wireless frequencies or “channels.” This means that they can sometimes interfere with one another. If possible, switching your router to the 5GHz band can improve your connection and limit the amount of interference from other routers. Then, experiment with different channels to determine which one gives you the best reception.
Upgrade your hardware
If none of those quick fixes did the job, you might need to consider upgrading your wireless hardware. This includes purchasing a newer router, a range extender, or a mesh router system. Since newer homes tend to be larger, a mesh router system is a way to ensure coverage throughout your home via multiple access points.
Confidence can play a major role in the homebuying journey. If a homebuyer is confident in his or her ability to evaluate a house, this individual may be better equipped than others to complete a successful home purchase. Conversely, a homebuyer who lacks confidence may struggle to identify his or her ideal residence, resulting in a long, arduous homebuying journey.
Becoming a confident homebuyer may be easier than you think. In fact, there are several key attributes of successful homebuyers, and these traits include:
A confident homebuyer makes the most of the time and resources at his or her disposal. By doing so, this buyer can identify housing market patterns and trends and map out a successful homebuying journey.
Typically, a confident homebuyer performs deep real estate market data analysis. By obtaining comprehensive housing market insights, this buyer can take an informed approach to purchasing a residence.
A confident homebuyer is willing to do what it takes to acquire a home. As such, he or she will take a conscientious approach to the homebuying journey, as well as ensures that both a buyer and seller can achieve the optimal results.
For example, a confident homebuyer may be willing to negotiate with a seller to determine a price that works for both sides. This buyer also may make sacrifices along the way to guarantee a home sale is a seamless transaction for all parties involved.
A confident homebuyer has a no-quit attitude and will go above and beyond the call of duty to purchase a terrific house at a price that fits within his or her budget. Therefore, this buyer displays persistence throughout the homebuying journey.
With a persistent attitude, a homebuyer can boost the likelihood of discovering his or her dream house. This buyer will keep track of new houses in cities and towns where he or she would like to live. And if the right home becomes available, this buyer won't hesitate to submit a competitive offer on it, either.
When it comes to buying a house, it helps to enter the real estate market with plenty of confidence. If you consult with a real estate agent, you can build your homebuying confidence in no time at all.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with a homebuyer and learn about this individual's goals. A real estate agent then will help a buyer plan for the homebuying cycle, ensuring he or she is fully supported at each stage of this process.
A real estate agent also is an expert resource to a homebuyer. And if a homebuyer has any questions throughout the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to provide responses.
For those who are ready to pursue their dream home, it helps to become a confident homebuyer. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can enter the real estate market with the confidence that you need to thrive.
Today's home buyers are looking for ways to maximize their space and their enjoyment of that space. While having friends and family over to enjoy a meal out on the patio or a backyard BBQ has long been a favorite way of spending time with loved ones, it's frequently left the hosts separated from the guests. Adding an outdoor kitchen offers numerous advantages. It could boost interest in your home and set it apart from similar ones in the area.
1. Makes Entertaining Easy
One of the most exciting things about having your own home is the ability to entertain more. Adding an outdoor kitchen to your home means that the home buyer is instantly set up for a home-warming party or any other type of gathering.
2. The Hosts Can Participate
As mentioned above, one of the best reasons for installing an outdoor kitchen is that it eliminates the separation of the cook -- which is nearly always the host -- from the rest of the party outdoors.
3. It Becomes a Team Effort
With an outdoor kitchen, there are more opportunities to make cooking a group effort. By keeping food prep as part of the overall party, it's easier for other people to jump in and help out. It's also great for when the homeowner wants to plan for shared cooking experiences.
4. It's Cozy
While the gathering place inside a house used to be the living room, the past few years have seen the kitchen take over that spot. If you think about it, this transition just makes sense. People like to gather where there's food. It encourages chatting and camaraderie. An outdoor kitchen that includes tables and chairs or other outdoor furniture encourage the same kind of coziness.
5. Increases Living Space
Adding an outdoor kitchen doesn't have to be complicated. One idea is to use the covered porch or patio you already have as the foundation for the outdoor kitchen space. Next, add the appropriate appliances. The result is that you've instantly increased the living space of your current home without having to add on another room.
If you're in an area of the country that is going through a housing boom, you might wonder if you should spring for an outdoor kitchen. Adding this highly-desirable feature to your home could also increase its value and make it easier to get your asking price during its sale.