A mortgage is a critical tool to have — it allows you to become a homeowner without putting down hundreds of thousands of dollars on the spot, and it lets you pay off your loan over time. About 96% of first-time homebuyers finance the purchase with a mortgage.
The average interest rate charged by mortgage lenders is now much higher than many homeowners have been used to.
What happens if I miss a mortgage payment?
A shortfall equivalent to two or more months’ repayments means you are officially in arrears.
But your lender must make reasonable attempts to reach an agreement with you.
In fact, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – which regulates mortgage lenders – has said they must treat customers fairly.
Crucially, customers must contact their lender as soon as they realise they are going to struggle to make repayments – the earlier the better. Trained and experienced staff must be on hand to help.
What Are Mortgage Payments?
What is a mortgage payment? Mortgage payments are the payments you make on the long-term loan that enables you to buy your home.
Almost everyone who owns a home has a mortgage and makes mortgage payments. Homeowners typically make these payments monthly, over a fixed period of years. Some standard options include 15-, 20- and 30-year mortgages.
What are the advantages of spreading out mortgage payments across more or fewer years? Each approach comes with pros and cons:
Shorter mortgages: Shorter mortgages tend to have lower interest rates. They are appealing to some homeowners because they allow the homeowner to pay less interest overall. The tradeoff is that because the schedule becomes more compressed, these mortgages require higher monthly payments. So homeowners must be reasonably confident they can make significant payments each month without falling behind.
Longer mortgages: Longer mortgages tend to have higher interest rates. So homeowners who choose these mortgages will pay more interest overall. Of course, the appealing tradeoff is that by spreading the payments over a longer term, homeowners can lower their monthly payments to more affordable sums. So extended options such as 30-year mortgages are often attractive to homeowners looking to create more room in their budgets each month.
Benefits of Making Regular Mortgage Payments
Paying down your mortgage provides you with a couple of different benefits. One is that it reduces the amount of debt you have. As you slowly, steadily make payments, you decrease your debt burden. You increase your debt-to-income ratio, making yourself a more attractive borrower if you decide to take out new loans. You also get a little closer to having your home paid off and having a bit more cash to spend each month.