Managing your mortgage

FIRST HOME

Managing your mortgage

Short of winning Lotto, there’s no getting out of mortgage repayments – but there are ways to make paying off your loan easier. A good mortgage adviser will help you structure your loan in the right way, tailoring it to meet your needs now and in the future.

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Set a budget

Work out your expenses, fortnightly or monthly, and factor in your mortgage repayments. You need to make your mortgage a priority, so you may have to cut back spending in other places.

Pay it automatically

Arrange for mortgage repayments to be deducted from your bank account in line with your pay cycle, so you always make them on time. This works fortnightly or monthly – there’s no evidence that making more frequent payments results in paying your loan back faster.

Keep a savings account for emergencies

Set aside money each month in a separate savings account for emergencies, like redundancy or major car repairs. If you can, you should aim to keep three months’ living expenses in reserve at any time.

Cut your debt

Reduce the number of credit cards you have, ideally down to one, and lower their credit limits. You want to use your credit card sparingly. Having a mortgage means taking control of your spending.

Repay your mortgage faster

You may be able to make extra payments on your home loan to get the balance down faster. Talk to your adviser about options for structuring your loan for faster payoff – it can make a big difference to the amount you end up paying.

Look at mortgage protection insurance

If disaster strikes such as a serious accident or losing your job, mortgage protection insurance will ensure you can keep up with your payments. If you have the money, mortgage protection insurance is a good investment.

Don't be late

If you are struggling to meet your repayments, speak to your mortgage adviser. Refinancing may be an option, or you may be able to extend the term of the loan. Either one is better than defaulting – act early to give yourself the most options.