Q: We thought you would like to know how your column has really made a difference in our lives.
On March 20, you gave examples of how to get better rates for a mortgage that only had $20,000 as a balance. A short time later, you gave an example for another smaller mortgage of $29,000.
Letâ€™s fast forward to March 31st. Directly using your example, we applied for a home equity line of credit. At a nearby new branch of our bank, they offered the first 6 months at 2.99 percent. The loan will then be tied to the prime rate.
Our remaining mortgage had been $35,000 at 7 percent interest and we were scheduled to finish paying it off in 2012. We had tried to get several mortgage brokers to refinance the loan, but they said they didn’t want such small accounts as it just wasn’t worth it to them.
In the last few years, we had been paying extra to principal and made one $10,000 payment. That made a dent in our balance, but not like your suggestion will.
We plan to pay down an extra $10,000 of the balance in the first 6 months of the home equity loan, and hope to finish paying off the loan completely in 3 years or less, that will be 5 years earlier than for our original mortgage.
We just want to say â€œthank youâ€ for the good advice. We are 73 and 75 years, with city, state, and Social Security pensions. This is our only debt and while we have the cash available to pay it off completely, we didnâ€™t want to drain our savings. There must be many others in our situation.
If you have any further advice, we would be interested.
A: Your letter is a great example of how much money there is to be saved by simply looking at your financial options in a slightly different way. Iâ€™m printing virtually your entire letter, because I think itâ€™s important for others to see how easy it is to save a whole lot of money.
Iâ€™m particularly glad to see seniors willing to look for a different way to improve their cash flow. Because more seniors are entering retirement with mortgage payments, itâ€™s even more important to be open to new financing techniques that can save big bucks.
Although your mortgage balance was only $35,000, this technique might make sense for those with mortgage balances as high as $100,000. What is important is figuring out how long you plan to have the loan.
Congratulations on making such a smart move.