Whether you are looking for first time buyer mortgage advice, thinking of moving home or looking to remortgage for home improvements, overpaying, even by a small amount, can make a difference in the amount on the interest you pay back over your mortgage term.
According to a survey, 56% of homeowners with a mortgage never get around to overpaying. This is very interesting data because almost all mortgage applicants start off their mortgage journey with every intention of doing so (or at least that’s what they tell me!).
All Homeowners know that overpaying, even by relatively small amounts, can make a big difference to the amount of interest paid back over the term. The earlier you start overpaying the better too as the extra payments have a longer period to have an effect.
The survey by Compare the Market suggests that Homeowners cannot afford to make extra payments, but I feel the main reason is that life simply gets in the way. We know overpaying is the “right” thing to do but let’s face it, there’s always something else you can be spending your money on and plenty of those things are more exciting!
Part of the problem here is actually remembering to overpay. It’s not something that’s particularly likely to cross your mind too often, except perhaps when your mortgage only has a few years left.
So, if you can see something of yourself in the above and would like to overpay so that, perhaps you can retire a year or two early then what should you do?
I would recommend setting up a standing order payable to your lender each month. Set up the standing order to go out on the same day as your regular mortgage payment. E.g. your mortgage payment is, say £500pm and is collected on the 1st of the month. You can afford to pay an extra £75pm, so set up a standing order for £75pm to go out of your bank also on the 1st.
The reason for the above is that very quickly you will start to “feel” that your mortgage is actually £575pm and you will get used to that within a matter of months.
The beauty of doing a standing order is that, unlike a direct debit, a standing order is controlled by the payer, not the receiver. That means that if you have a financial emergency you can quickly log into your online banking and cancel the standing order so that it doesn’t go out next month.
Whilst it would be regrettable to have to stop overpaying, at least you would have benefitted from the overpayments made up until that point. Some mortgages will even let you make reduced payments or take a payment holiday if you have been overpaying for a while. Before taking a payment break though it’s important to check with your lender that you are eligible to do so to avoid a negative mark on your credit report.
Overpaying your mortgage is a great habit to get into, you don’t need to go hell for leather at it unless you feel so obliged but even shaving a year or two off will be very welcome when you near the end of the term.