Home ownership is the key to building wealth for most people because it is an involuntary savings account. As you pay down your mortgage each month, the value of your interest in the home rises.
Equity is a beautiful word as every homeowner knows. Once you get used to making your mortgage payments, you can rest assured that you are creating a nest egg every month. Throw in the appreciation on the property and your nest egg can grow large before you realize it. This savings account, better known as equity, can provide the means for putting your kids through college, dealing with emergencies and retiring.
Building equity is fairly simple. Just make your monthly mortgage payment. There are additional steps you can take to move the process along at a faster pace. These steps are all about the type of mortgage you obtain when you purchase your home.
When you purchase a property, particularly for the first time, it can be a stressful event. Right or wrong, most people tend to take anything they can get in a mortgage loan so they can meet the closing of escrow. This is understandable, but can come back to haunt you financially. If you can step back from the chaos for a moment, you might consider the following options that will help build equity.
A 30 year mortgage is the default for most home buyers. It is the first thing that comes to mind and most assume it is the safest option. A 15 year mortgage, however, is going to cut down on the total interest you pay on the loan as well as supercharge your equity growth. The 15 year loan is far better than a longer option, but only if you are absolutely sure you can meet the monthly payment requirements. If you have any doubts whatsoever, there is another option that you can consider.
Making prepayments on principal is a simple, proven way to build equity. The idea is to make an extra monthly payment when you have sufficient cash to do so. Effectively, you use your home as a savings account by doing this. The advantage over other investments is the equity growth should be tax free. Before taking this step, find out from your lender if there are any prepayment penalties. Regardless, making two of these payments each year will quickly build equity in your home.
If any of these ideas sound interesting, you can still take advantage of them even if you currently have a mortgage. Refinancing your mortgage gives you an opportunity to correct mistakes you made when you were more focused on getting through escrow. Talk with a mortgage professional to find out your options.