The Examiner

What Are The Best Methods For Paying Off Your Mortgage?

Learn various methods of home loan settlement, and the best methods for paying off your mortgage. Picture Shutterstock
Learn various methods of home loan settlement, and the best methods for paying off your mortgage. Picture Shutterstock

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Pride in home ownership brings a long-term financial commitment many people find stressful to navigate.

It's easy to find yourself continually fretting over different payment strategies, with some programs offering rapid timetables that can be challenging to keep up with.

Should you choose one of those, or select a more gradual approach?

In this article, we're here to offer a helping hand.

Continue reading as we look at various methods of home loan settlement, and the best methods for paying off your mortgage.

Offset Account vs. Paying Off Mortgage

Some borrowers elect to open a transactional account where, instead of the traditional accrued interest on the funds contained, your balance is "offset" against your mortgage principal. How does getting an offset account vs paying off a mortgage work?

Suppose you have an outstanding home loan balance of $250,000, and your transactional account contains $50,000. Remember, you're not earning any interest on the $50,000 in this scenario. Instead, the effective amount of your mortgage, which is subject to interest expense, is only $200,000.

What are the pros and cons of this approach? First, since the loan principal is reduced, you enjoy interest payment savings over the mortgage's entire term. Also, you always have access to the money in this account to use for daily expenses or unforeseen issues and emergencies like car repairs. Many homeowners appreciate this liquidity benefit since they reduce interest paid.

Potential cons include extra fees and rates compared to other transactional accounts. Before choosing an offset account, compare the numbers and ensure the savings are worth the exposure to higher interest rates and fees.

You'll also need to be disciplined with your spending and saving habits to ensure the balance remains large enough to maintain the effective offset to your mortgage. Consult with your personal finance advisor to evaluate whether opening an offset account aligns with your current standing and long-term goals.

Early Repayment Considerations

There could be compelling reasons in favour of paying off your mortgage early. Once again, substantial interest savings is an advantage. By reducing the loan term via additional payments toward the principal, you can minimise the total cash amount devoted to interest over the life of the loan.

Accelerated payments also increase your ownership stake (equity), boosting your net worth and possibly offering a safety net to use in financially uncertain times. Should the need arise, equity is also a valuable asset for future borrowing.


Borrowers can elect to make bi-weekly payments instead of the single monthly requirement - effectively making it 13 monthly sums per year. This approach better aligns with many people's employment pay schedules, making it easier for them to manage cash flow. An automated deduction helps borrowers ensure consistency and avoid late fees or penalties.

Lump Sum

Occasionally, borrowers might find lump cash sums at their disposal due to sudden windfalls such as an employer bonus, gambling jackpots, sale of assets such as automobiles, antique collectables, or tax refunds.

Applying even a modest lump sum payment to your mortgage can impact interest savings substantially. But is it the best approach? Consider whether you have other debts with higher interest rates, such as a credit card or personal loan. Compare the rates and decide which is a more effective use for the windfall.

Also, consider deferring tax responsibilities and using them to set up a financial safety net, perhaps opening an interest-bearing CD or savings account, subsequently contributing incremental amounts after satisfying your monthly expenses.

Early mortgage payment through accelerated payment alternatives provides the financial freedom to pursue other goals like acquiring other assets or saving for retirement.

Refinancing Considerations

This approach involves replacing your current loan with a new mortgage using modified terms or lower interest rates. Achieving this goal might mean switching lenders completely or perhaps negotiating more favourable terms with your current provider.

The main benefits and reasoning for refinancing include lower rates and corresponding reduced monthly obligations. Borrowers also sometimes choose this approach to shorten the loan's term, going from a 30-year to a 15-year contract to build equity faster.

Debt consolidation involves rolling other financial obligations such as auto loans, credit card balances, or personal lines of credit into the mortgage at a lower interest rate, again with the goal of saving on long-term interest expense.

Finally, switching the mortgage from an adjustable rate to a fixed one, or vice versa, may be a valid reason to refinance. If you're anticipating significant market fluctuations or changes to your financial position, altering the loan classification is a strong option.

Potential cons to this strategy include paying a new set of application and appraisal fees, closing costs, and title insurance. Though these are lengthy and sometimes costly processes, the end result may be a greater saving. Lenders will again consider your creditworthiness and review your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and income stability before offering favourable refinance terms, so make sure you plan for a re-assessment

Next Steps

Using these considerations, consult with your family and your financial advisor to create a personalised mortgage repayment strategy reflecting your risk tolerance and long-term goals. For many, the peace of mind of outright ownership is an unbeatable source of security and stability, so it's worth investing in, and taking the time to discover the best methods for paying off your mortgage.