If you struggle each month to make your mortgage payment, you’re not alone. Financial challenges — such as a job loss, drop in household income, or major medical bills — could make paying a mortgage that was once affordable a financial burden. The Federal Reserve Board reported that in the fourth quarter of 2016, 4.15 percent of residential mortgages in the United States were delinquent. (See also: 8 Signs You’re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage)
There is hope, though, if you are struggling to make your monthly mortgage payment. There are several steps you can take to lower the size of that payment.
Lengthen your loan’s term
The more years attached to your mortgage, the lower your monthly payment will be. With a longer term, your loan payments are stretched out over more years, making each monthly payment smaller.
Consider this example: If you take out a $200,000 15-year, fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 3.4 percent, your monthly payment, not including your taxes and homeowners insurance, will be about $1,400 a month. Say you take out that same $200,000 mortgage loan but in the form of a 30-year, fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 4.2 percent. Your monthly payment, again not including taxes and insurance, will be just $978.
If you are struggling to make the monthly payments on a shorter-term loan, contact your lender and ask to have your loan reamortized to one with a longer term. You won’t need to go through an official refinance to do this. But lenders will charge you a fee, one that LendingTree says averages about $250.
Just remember, when you change your mortgage to one with a longer term, you’ll pay significantly more in interest. This extra interest — which could hit $100,000 or more if you take the full term to pay off your mortgage — might be…