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A home mortgage represents the largest expense that the average household will incur. Often, mortgage terms stretch out for 30 years, and you pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest over that time. Any savings you can realize with your mortgage may add significantly to your net worth over time. A bi-weekly mortgage is one way that a homeowner can pay off his mortgage sooner, with significant interest savings for the minimal effort required.
With a regular mortgage, you pay 12 payments per year, or one per month. When paying a mortgage bi-weekly, you pay half of the monthly payment every two weeks. This is the equivalent of 13 full monthly mortgage payments per year, or one extra payment, which applies directly to the principal amount of the loan. This can significantly reduce the length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage, saving money on interest.
According to CNNMoney.com, you will save about six years off the term of a 30-year mortgage by paying bi-weekly. The amount of interest savings depends on the interest rate and amount of the mortgage loan. On a $200,000 mortgage at 7.5 percent, paying bi-weekly will save you around $76,000 over the term of the mortgage if you start when you first take out the mortgage.
Many mortgage companies do not offer a bi-weekly mortgage program and will not accept anything less than a full payment at a time. Other companies will set you up with a bi-weekly mortgage or accelerated mortgage program but charge you extra fees, which may offset any potential savings. You should check with your mortgage company to see what its policies are before beginning a bi-weekly program.
Before you set up a bi-weekly mortgage and pay fees to do so, consider ways to pay bi-weekly on your own if your mortgage company does not accept partial payments. Consider setting up a separate savings account to deposit an amount equal to one mortgage payment. Throughout the year, that account will accumulate additional money, which you can send in as an additional principal payment at the end of the year.