LOWER YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENT

Mortgage assistance might be in your own hands.

Here are 4 straightforward steps you can take toward saving money on your monthly mortgage payment.

Refinance The first and most obvious way to get mortgage help is to refinance your mortgage and take advantage of the historically low interest rates. Interest is likely a big portion of your monthly payment and not only can you lower your monthly payment, but you can also vastly reduce the amount of interest you will have to pay over the life of your mortgage loan. A drop in a couple of percentage points on the interest rate for an average-sized mortgage can save hundreds of dollars a month on your payment, and thousands over the life of the loan.

Refinance to a longer term loan If you are suffering from a 15 or 20 year loan, refinance into a 40 year loan if it's available.  Although the interest rate may be higher, you can still pay off the loan faster by doubling up on payments when you can afford it, but the lower payment would give you flexibility.

Drop Your PMI If you purchased your home with less than 20% down, you may be able to ask your lender to drop the property mortgage insurance. An appraiser may be sent out to verify there is 20% equity in your home, and if so, this could save hundreds or thousands of dollares a year.

Challenge the Tax Assessment A little known step you can take to lower your tax impounds on your monthly PITI payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) is to annually review your property tax assessed value.  If it is greater than the market value, most jurisdictions allow for an appeal.  If you show recent sale values that are lower, the assessed value may be reduced, and consequently your total annual tax bill can be lower, lowering your monthly payment.  Realtors are a good source for documenting market values.