Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tricks to Lower Your Mortgage Payment: Is It Possible?

I often get asked if there are any tricks to lower your mortgage payment, and the short answer is NO. However, there are a few ways to decrease your monthly mortgage payment, but those options will require a little legwork on the side of the borrower. With the economy in the state that it is currently in, I’m going to focus on 2 main ways that mortgage payments can be reduced.

Refinance Your Primary Mortgage

Flickr Photo: Uploaded on October 20, 2008 by woodleywonderworks Refinancing your mortgage will typically be the best option, as it can save you hundreds of dollars per month if you’re refinancing from a high interest rate to a lower rate. Let’s look at an example, lets figure that I took out a $250,000 mortgage loan 5 years ago with an interest rate of 7.25%. At this loan amount and this interest rate, my monthly payment will have been approximately $1,705.00 per month. As of the time of this post, I’ve seen interest rates for 30 year mortgages as low as 5.75% – the interest rate will depend on your lender, your credit score, payment history, etc. so you’ll have to talk to a mortgage broker prior to getting a firm rate quote, but for the interest of our example, we’re going to figure that we can get a loan at a rate of 5.75%. For simplicity sake, lets compare a $250,000 loan at 5.75%. At this interest rate, our monthly mortgage payment will be approximately $1,459.00. This is a savings of $259 per month. A couple things to remember are that:

In this example, we figured that we’ve had our original loan for 5 years. If that were the case, we wouldn’t still need a $250,000 loan, we’d actually only need a loan for about $235,950 (let’s figure $236,000 for simplicity). Plugging that amount into a payment calculator will yield a monthly payment of $1,377.00 per month, yeilding a savings of $358 per month.

You’ll have to take into account loan processing fees. Typically you’ll be paying processing fees, points, etc. which could end up being a couple thousand dollars. When I refinanced, I wrote a check for all of these fees ($2,900 in my case), however I believe that you can have these fees rolled into the cost of your new payment.

Depending on your situation, your current mortgage interest rate verse current market interest rates, closing costs and actual savings, it is always best to consult a trusted professional to see if refinancing would be a good choice for you and your situation, however as you can see from the above example, refinancing offers a great way to decrease you monthly payment.

Reassess Your Property Taxes

This option will not necessarily save you as much money, but nonetheless can definitely be a money saving option. If you bought your house in the last 3-6 years, chances are that you paid more for you house than it is worth now… especially if you live in California. Let’s take a homeowner in California for this example, and lets figure, for simplicity, that this homeowner bought a home 5 years ago for $500,000 and property taxes are currently 1%. This will mean annual property taxes of $5,000 per year, or about $417 per month. Lets now figure that this home is now only worth $350,000. If this home were purchased at this amount, property taxes would be only $3,500 per year or $292 per month. Should the homeowner get their property taxes re-assessed and adjusted, they’d be saving approximately $125 per month.

So how do you go about getting your property taxes adjusted? There are many private companies out there that assess property values and adjust your home value with the county assessors office to lower your monthly/annual property tax payments.

Again, I recommend consulting a trusted professional before trying to have your property taxes adjusted because in some cases, property values will have increased, resulting in higher property taxes, in these cases, it obviously would make more sense to keep the current property tax and assessed home value in place.

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