When to Consider Paying off Your Mortgage Early

By Sarah Brooks · July 06, 2023 · 5 minute read

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When to Consider Paying off Your Mortgage Early

Reasons for paying off your mortgage early include eliminating monthly mortgage payments, saving money in interest, reducing financial stress, and more. But, just because you can pay your mortgage off early doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Should You Consider an Early Mortgage Payoff?

It can be tempting to rush to pay off your home loan when you have the ability to, especially if you’ve struggled with debt management. And why wouldn’t you want to pay off your mortgage? Getting rid of debt could potentially increase cash flow.

When it comes to your mortgage loan, paying it off early depends on your unique financial situation and goals — there is no one right answer.

Reasons Not to Pay Your Mortgage Off Early

While it may seem like there are no reasons not to pay off your mortgage early, that is actually not the case. Here are a few reasons why it may not be a good idea to pay off your mortgage loan early:

You Have a Competitive Interest Rate

Unless you’ve reached all of your financial goals, it may not make the most sense to pay off your mortgage early when you have a competitive interest rate.

For example, if you are saving to send your child to college or you’re trying to rebuild your emergency fund after a home repair, those might take priority.

You also could possibly earn more by investing your money as opposed to paying off your loan. If that’s the case, it doesn’t make sense to pay off your mortgage early unless you’re wanting the peace of mind that comes with no mortgage debt. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals, and risk appetite.

You Would Have Nothing Left in Savings

If you only have enough in the bank to cover your mortgage, it is not advisable to pay it off. Having an emergency fund is necessary and may take priority over having no mortgage payment.

You Might Face a Prepayment Penalty

Make sure to review your mortgage terms closely. Some lenders charge an early payoff penalty, usually a percentage of the principal balance at the time of payoff.

You Might Miss Out on the Mortgage Tax Deduction

For many people who itemize, having a mortgage helps push their itemized deductions higher than the standard deduction. It’s worth discussing the mortgage tax deduction with your accountant or other tax professional before you resolve to pay your mortgage off early.

You Have Other High-interest Debt

If you have other high-interest debt, such as credit card debt, personal loans, or student loans, it may make sense to pay those off in full prior to paying your mortgage off early. Home loans typically have the lowest interest rates of other forms of debt and are considered “good debt” by lenders. It only makes sense to pay off your mortgage early if you have no other debts in your name.

When an Early Payoff May Make Sense

On the flip side, there are some situations when paying off a mortgage early might make more sense than waiting. Reasons to pay off your mortgage early may include:

You’ve Met All of Your Financial Goals

If your emergency savings account is right where you feel it needs to be and you’re diligently contributing to your retirement accounts, there may be no reason not to pay off your mortgage early.

Another idea, however, is to purchase an investment property instead of paying off your mortgage early. This can create a monthly cash flow in addition to the value of the property (hopefully) appreciating over the years.

You’re Interested in Being 100% Debt-Free

Sometimes, just the idea of having loan payments can be mentally taxing, even if you’re in a good place financially. Money is not just about numbers for many; it’s also about emotions.

If paying off your mortgage loan early relieves anxiety because it’s helping you become debt-free, then that might be something to consider.

Of course, reflecting on why you want to become debt-free is important when thinking about paying your mortgage off. If, for example, it’s because you’re approaching retirement and will no longer be getting a steady paycheck, it might make sense to pay off your mortgage.

Recommended: How to Pay Off a 30-Year Mortgage in 15 Years

Ways to Pay Off a Mortgage Early or Faster

If you’ve decided it makes sense for your financial situation to pay off your mortgage early, here’s how you can do it:

Lump sum. The easiest way to pay off your mortgage early is by making one lump-sum payment to your mortgage lender. Contact your lender prior to making the payment so you can make sure you’re paying exactly what you owe, including any possible prepayment fees.

Extra payments. You could potentially pay more toward your mortgage principal each month if you got a raise at work or you’ve trimmed some fat in your budget.

If you make extra payments toward your mortgage, it could lead to paying off the loan faster than if you were just to make the set payment each month. Make sure to contact your lender prior to making extra payments, though, so you know the extra amount is being applied toward the principal amount only, not the principal and interest.

Refinancing. Another option for paying off your mortgage early is refinancing. Refinancing your mortgage means replacing your current mortgage with a new one, ideally with a better rate and term.

If you shorten your loan term from 30 years to 15 years, for example, it may increase your monthly payments but in turn allow you to pay your mortgage off faster. Home loans with shorter terms often come with lower interest rates, too, so more of your monthly payments will be applied to the loan’s principal balance.

The Takeaway

Should you pay off your mortgage early? Maybe. If your retirement fund is fully-funded, you have no other high-interest debts, and you’re interested in becoming 100% debt-free, it may make sense to pay off your mortgage early. However, if you do not have a fully funded retirement and emergency savings account or you could make more money by investing rather than paying off your mortgage debt, it could be best to hold off on paying your mortgage off early.

One way to save on interest and possibly pay off your mortgage early is by refinancing. Refinancing can allow you to lower your interest rate and shorten your loan term, if desired.

SoFi offers competitive mortgage refinance rates and flexible loan terms. Checking your rate takes just a few minutes and will not impact your credit score.*

Interested in refinancing your mortgage? Apply with SoFi today.

*Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.


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