A home is likely to be one of the biggest purchases you make. As a result, there’s a good chance you’ll need to borrow in order to get the capital needed to buy a house. Many mortgages come with 30-year terms. Such a long term makes it possible to afford monthly mortgage payments.
But what if you’re not interested in spending three decades with mortgage debt? What if you could pay off your mortgage much faster? After all, if you pay off your mortgage in 10 years, you can access all that equity if needed, making your home a true asset. Plus, you’ve got a roof over your head without worry of foreclosure--assuming you keep up with any property taxes.
If you want to become completely debt-free earlier, here are eight things you can do to pay off your 30-year mortgage in 10 years.
1. Buy a Smaller Home
Really consider how much home you need to buy. There’s a good chance you can get approved for a bigger, more expensive house--but should you really take the entire amount a lender is willing to give you? A smaller mortgage is more manageable, and it’ll cost less in interest, too.
The less expensive your home, the smaller your mortgage, and the easier it will be to pay it off in 10 years.
2. Make a Bigger Down Payment
The larger your down payment, the smaller your loan--and the faster you’ll be able to get out of debt.
A 20% down payment allows you to get a home loan without also having to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). When you make PMI payments, that money isn’t reducing your debt, and it can be expensive. PMI can cost up to 1% (or more) of your mortgage amount per year. So, on a $180,000 mortgage, that’s about $1,800 just going toward PMI each year and not reducing your debt.
Consider saving up for a bigger down payment to reduce your overall loan and avoid PMI. It’ll make it that much easier to pay off the mortgage within 10 years.
Related: Strategies to Pay off Your Mortgage Early
3. Get Rid of High-Interest Debt First
If you want to put more money toward paying off your mortgage, you need to get rid of any high-interest debt you already have, especially credit card debt. The interest on these types of debt eat away at what you can put toward the principal, slowing down the entire process.
Make your minimum mortgage payment and tackle your credit card debt. When your high-interest debt is gone, you can put all that money toward reducing your mortgage balance.
4. Prioritize Your Mortgage Payments
You might be trying to figure out where you’re going to get the money to pay off your 30-year mortgage in 10 years, but it is possible when you prioritize the mortgage payments.
Where are you spending money? Take a look at your past purchases to see where you might find extra cash. Do you eat out multiple times a week? Cut back on your dining out budget and cook more at home. Instead of going on a big expensive vacation, consider taking a smaller vacation. You don’t need to stop having fun, but it does make sense to re-evaluate what you do and what you buy.
If getting rid of the mortgage is a priority, you’ll look for ways to funnel money toward that goal, rather than spending it on things that don’t matter as much.
5. Make a Bigger Payment Each Month
How much extra should you pay each month to pay off your mortgage in 10 years? Call your mortgage provider to get some help crunching the numbers.
Or, you can do it yourself by entering the information into Excel. Let’s say you owe $180,000 on your home and the interest rate is 4.5%. You want to pay off your debt in 10 years, or 120 monthly payments. All you have to enter in a cell is the following formula =PMT(interest rate/number of payments per year, total number of payments, loan amount).
Here’s how it looks using our example: =PMT(0.045/12,120,180000). In this case, you’d have to pay $1,865.49 each month to pay off the home in 10 years. This is a little more than twice the mortgage payment of $912.03, if you continued to pay over the course of 30 years. Not a bad trade off to have the debt gone in one-third of the time.
6. Put Windfalls Toward Your Principal
Another way to accelerate your mortgage payoff is to put any windfall you receive toward your principal. Tax refunds, special bonuses at work, and other unexpected money should be used to reduce your mortgage principal.
Contact your mortgage servicer to find out how to make an extra principal payment. Some servicers have a specific process you must follow, and you may need to make a second payment, after your regular monthly payment, in order to ensure that you’re reducing the principal with your extra payment.
7. Earn Side Income
One way to get extra money to put toward your mortgage pay down is to earn a side income. If you have a spare room, consider renting it out with Airbnb. Another possibility is to drive for a rideshare company, take on freelance work, or start an online business. You might even get a part-time job, or pick up odd jobs like yard work, pet sitting, or hauling.
If you have some extra time, and you want to turn it into money, you can put that new income toward your mortgage, reducing the amount of time you’re in debt.
8. Refinance Your Mortgage
You can also refinance your mortgage in order to focus on it and pay it off faster. Refinancing to a lower interest rate can be especially helpful because you’ll end up paying much less over time.
The main caveat to refinancing your 30-year mortgage to a 10-year mortgage is the fact that you’ll have higher payments--and you cant take a break from them. If you end up with a job loss or other financial emergency, you might not be able to afford the higher payments on a 10-year mortgage.
On the other hand, if you map out a plan to pay off your mortgage in 10 years without refinancing (or by refinancing to a 20-year term with a lower interest rate) you might still be able to handle the lower payments if necessary. You can plan to pay $1,865.49 on your mortgage, but if financial disaster strikes, you can temporarily scale back to half that amount without jeopardizing your home or your credit score.
If your goal is to get rid of all your debt as soon as you can, creating a debt pay down plan that includes your mortgage can be a smart choice. When you pay off your 30-year mortgage in 10 years, you increase your financial independence and widen your choices.
Paying off a home that quickly might not be the right move for everyone, but if it’s something you think could benefit you, tackle the process for better long-term results.