So you’ve bought a house and locked down your first mortgage. Now what?
Unlike rent, your mortgage isn’t something to be messed with. You’re not going to get a slap on the wrist from your landlord if you’re a little bit late or behind on this month’s payment.
Instead, a missed payment can hurt your credit score and your future financial opportunities. With multiple missed payments, it can even mean foreclosure—and the difference between having a roof over your head and losing your home.
Needless to say, staying on top of your mortgage payments is a crucial part of being a homeowner. But sometimes—especially for first-time homebuyers—keeping track of a mortgage can be a little difficult.
It’s all so new. Payments are sometimes due at random times of the month (when you’re used to a first-of-the-month rent), and you often have things like escrow, insurance and other additional fees to consider in your payment.
So how do you stay on top of things and keep your mortgage payments on track? Here are a few tips.
- Set payment reminders. Schedule a reminder alert using your phone, computer or iCloud calendar – somewhere you check often. Set it to go off about a week before your payment is due, and then again about three days later. In case you dismiss the first alert, you want to have a backup reminding you to hop on it and make that payment. If you can include your spouse, significant other or roommates on the alerts, even better.
- Schedule automatic payments. If your mortgage is a fixed-rate one, you generally have set payment amounts you can rely on month after month. Take advantage of this, and schedule your payments ahead of time, straight from your bank account. Just to be sure you get them in on time, make sure they’re scheduled for at least a week before the due date.
- Set up a mortgage-specific savings account. If you’re afraid you might not have enough cash in the bank to cover an automatically scheduled mortgage payment every month, set up a mortgage-specific savings account, and schedule payments from there instead. Funnel a small chunk of every paycheck into the account, and make sure there’s always enough in there for at least two payments. You never know when you’ll need the extra wiggle room.
- Take advantage of any tools/alerts your lender offers. Lenders want you to stay on track with your mortgage, so many will offer tools and alerts to help you do that. Check with your lender and see if they email or text message alerts or even just provide online billing. If they have an app or online portal you can use to see your loan installments and make payments, that’s another great option too.
There are a lot of phone apps that can help you manage your mortgage as well, including ones like Mortgages Pro, Mortgage Mentor and Mortgage Payoff Track. These can even help you pay off your loan faster, if that’s something that interests you.
Want to make sure your mortgage payments stay on track? Guardian Mortgage can help. With online payments, auto payments and many other options, we’re here to help you be the successful homeowner you want to be. Contact one of our expert loan officers to learn more today.