It’s not uncommon for new homeowners to settle in and accept the terms, rates and anything else that comes their way without argument. Most people are either simply happy to have their own home, or they don’t know that there are options which will better make their mortgage work for them financially.
Keep in mind that even though you purchased the house, you still have 20 or 25 years of payments to make before it completely belongs to you. Now is the time to start managing your mortgage. Here are some tips to help you out:
Don’t Just Consider the Maximum
Mortgage pre-approval is a wonderful tool to help narrow your search and stay within your limits, but you don’t have to focus solely on the maximum amount. It’s possible that the maximum amount may not work with your lifestyle and other expenses. Yes, you’ve been pre-approved, but only you know what kind of payments are comfortable for your monthly budget.
You may also be missing out on great homes and deals because you’re only looking at places in the upper echelon of your pre-approval. Your lender isn’t going to tell you to go back and find a more expensive house, so consider a range of prices.
Work Out Several Interest Rate Scenarios
Take the time to evaluate what higher interest rates would mean to your monthly payments, before you start looking at pricier homes. Even if interest rates are incredibly low at the moment, they could rise in the future, causing your monthly payments could jump to an uncomfortable level.
Of course, you shouldn’t focus on a doomsday kind of scenario or you’ll never do anything. But being prepared is part of management, and management is how to ensure you don’t get into trouble along the way.
Don’t Be Afraid to Deviate
If you find that a jump in rates may cause a problem down the road, or even if you just want to pay the mortgage off faster, you might want to deviate from the status quo. Consider putting down a higher down payment or accelerating your payment schedule so there will be less principal to worry about if rates do rise in the future.
Ask for Help When Needed
Even if you generally handle problems on your own, it’s imperative that you ask for help if you encounter financial problems during the life of your mortgage. Getting things out in the open will allow your mortgage advisor to quickly develop a plan to help you get things back to normal.