Should I Overpay My Mortgage?

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Table of Contents  
  1. Overpaying Your Mortgage Is Probably A Bad Deal!
  2. Take The Free Money!

I’m working on the final steps to close my Condo and I asked myself, “Should I Overpay My Mortgage?”  Right now rates are incredibly low and prices are super cheap so while I do plan to do a lot of living in this Condo, in 3-4 years I would like to rent it out.

Just to bring you up to speed, these are the numbers I’m working with:
Sale price: $321,000
Down payment: 20% ($64,200)
Mortgage value: $256,800
Interest rate: 3.375%
Term: 30 years
Total interest paid over term: $151,909

That’s quite a lot of money going to interest!  Traditional thinking is to overpay and avoid as much extra interest as possible on your mortgage. That’s definitely a valid approach (and better than spending that money on donuts), however I think it’s actually a pretty high risk with a fairly low return. Let me explain why.

Overpaying Your Mortgage Is Probably A Bad Deal!

If I were to overpay my mortgage I would achieve two things over the course of the year.  I reduce the interest I pay by 3.375% of the amount I overpay over 30 years and I reduce the length by my mortgage accordingly.

First of all I think 3.375% is a pretty low bar for investment gains.  Sure the total interest I pay seems like a lot but over 30 years we can decimate that with boring average stock market returns.

The average stock market return over the past 30 years is 10%. If I invested $5,000 every year over the course of my mortgage I would have roughly $950,000 in stock market gains and that’s with a no effort investment strategy.

After I subtract the interest I would have paid on my mortgage in that time, I’m still left with a net gain of $798,000 ($950k market gains – $152k mortgage interest).  That’s pretty awesome!  If I focused on paying my mortgage back early the maximum gains I could get is the interest I pay on my mortgage, $152,000.  That’s weak and we can do better.

Second and arguably more important, is that my money won’t be locked up in my property.  Say I need cash due to an unforeseen problem, I would have to sell my condo to get access to that cash or take out a loan. We all know that the most optimistic estimations put either of those at longer than 30 days!  That’s a really long time, especially when most equities can cash out in 1-3 days.

What if my condo burnt to the ground?  If most of the money is the bank I can sleep easy but if it’s locked up in the Condo I’m royally screwed until I get the insurance payout.  Even then I’m likely to get around 80% of its actual worth after I fight with my insurance company. As they say, cash is king!

Take The Free Money!

Even with crazy restrictions, banks will let us use up to 40% of our monthly take home on housing payments, even though we probably shouldn’t go that high!  The easiest way to reduce the impact of a second mortgage is to rent your first property. Mortgage companies will let you use 80% of the rent you receive on your first property as additional income to help you receive more overall funding and reduce the percent you spend overall on housing.

Let someone else pay your first mortgage with their rent.  Step on the gas and race faster down the road to financial independence!

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Andrew Fiebert - Chief Nerd Andrew Fiebert is a thirty-something father of twins, data nerd, and has prior Data Engineer for Barclays Capital and iHeartRadio. He's spent the past six years growing this site into a multi-six-figure business with over 500 hours of free personal finance education that reaches over 1 million people every month. Andrew has a B.S. in Computer Science and has been featured in Quartz, Forbes, Business Insider, and The Telegraph.

Current Project: Making bloggers money with Lasso.

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