The Pros and Cons of a Bi-Weekly Mortgage

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

Having a mortgage can be expensive; with the interest that is charged over the life of your mortgage, a large portion of what you end up paying is nothing more than interest payments and not the loan itself. Obviously it's important to be able to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible in order to keep the interest at a minimum, just as it's important to make sure that all of your payments are made on time so as to avoid late fees or other costs. One option that can help you to pay off your mortgage early while giving you the added benefit of having to pay less at any given time is a bi-weekly mortgage.

If you aren't familiar with the term, a bi-weekly mortgage is a payment plan which allows you to make a partial payment on your mortgage every two weeks. It's not an actual mortgage loan, but instead is a service which will help you to pay off your mortgage faster than you would be able to by simply making your standard payments each month. There are a number of pros and cons associated with bi-weekly mortgage services, and you should stop and consider some of these in order to make sure that a bi-weekly mortgage plan meets your financial needs.

How Bi-Weekly Mortgages Work

When you're using your standard mortgage payment plan, you're making one payment every month for a total of 12 payments per year. With a bi-weekly mortgage plan, however, you're making a payment equal to one half of your current payment every two weeks? this equals out to 26 half-payments over the course of a year. A bi-weekly mortgage essentially allows you to make one extra full payment each year, taking a full month off of your repayment schedule every year that you're using the bi-weekly mortgage plan. Even though you have to pay a service charge to the company offering the bi-weekly mortgage service, the savings that you receive in interest works out so that you still save money even with the added fees.

Advantages of a Bi-Weekly Mortgage

Obviously, the biggest advantage to a bi-weekly mortgage plan is the fact that you can pay off your mortgage early and save a significant amount of money on the interest that you have to pay. For most homeowners, this savings will be quite significant as they will be able to pay their mortgage off as much as two or three years early. Since the individual payments are lower than they would be if you were paying the full amount once per month, bi-weekly mortgage payments can also be much easier to fit into your budget. Many companies who offer bi-weekly payment services will let you tailor your payment due dates so that they best fit your income, letting you make payments when you get paid.

Disadvantages of a Bi-Weekly Mortgage

While bi-weekly mortgage payments may sound wonderful, there are some drawbacks associated with them as well. Probably the most important of these is the fact that even though you're making your payments to the service provider, you are still the one who is responsible for your mortgage. The service provider isn't a lender and doesn't have any sort of influence or control over your mortgage itself. They only make your mortgage payments once per month, just like you would; in the unlikely event that there's some problem in processing the payment, you may be required to pay it out-of-pocket while the problem is sorted out or risk receiving late fees or an interest rate increase for a late payment.

Another main drawback to bi-weekly mortgages is that the service which these companies offer isn't anything that you couldn't do by yourself with proper budgeting. When it comes down to it, if you have the self-control to structure your budget similar to making bi-weekly payments you could actually save significantly more by doing it yourself than you would through one of these services. You will save more because the service will charge you a transaction fee for each time they process one of your payments (in some cases you may have a fee for each time that they receive a payment from you via direct deposit, for each time that they make a payment, and an additional fee for account maintenance.) Depending on how you budget your finances, you may also be able to pay off your mortgage even faster than you would through a payment service by simply setting aside slightly more than one half of your monthly payment every two weeks. This only applies if you budget your money, of course.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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