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Recently I bought a house for 140k in the Netherlands. It had a mortgage of 110k (3,0% interest) and a startersloan of 30k (4,0% interest, no payments/interest the first 3 years).

I am getting married this year and once that's done, I will have about 300 euros each month to put to my mortgage or startersloan. There will be no penalties if i pay it earlier.

Problem I am having is that I will live in this house for about 10 years and I will never pay off the mortgage before selling it.

I can imagine there are advantages of paying more to your mortgage even though you are not planning to live in that house for 30 years. What are those advantages? Are there more smart choices to make except for paying other loans of first?

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    Do you expect your debt to magically disappear when you move? – Martin Tournoij Mar 30 '15 at 12:34
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    I am asking questions because I am not an expert in this field and want to be able to make as good of a decision as I possibly can financially. Your sarcastic comments are not helping, maybe you can provide a good answer instead? – Kevin Mar 30 '15 at 13:36
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    Those 300 euros are in addition to the interest payments, right? – CodesInChaos Mar 30 '15 at 16:54
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    Advantages are that when you sell, you get to keep a bigger portion of the profits. – Victor123 Mar 30 '15 at 18:53
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    And you'll pay less interest over the time you do own the property. – Brandon Mar 30 '15 at 20:03
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In the Netherlands specifically, there are several reasons to pay extra off on your mortgage.

First, house prices have dropped significantly in the last several years. They are rising slowly now, but it's region specific and you can still borrow more than 100% of the price of the house. Under these conditions, if you choose to sell your house and the outstanding mortgage amount is greater than the value of your house, you are left with a gap (restschuld) to finance. I think the rules have changed recently around this, allowing you to finance this gap with a new mortgage, but this is not a good idea. The tax implications of this are likely to be complicated in the long run and your new house may not cover this gap for some time.

Second, the less you owe on your house, the lower mortgage rates you can get. Mortgages in the Netherlands usually fall into categories based on percentage of the auction price at a foreclosure sale (executiewaarde). If you pay more of your mortgage off, you may qualify for a lower interest rate, possibly making refinancing interesting. This is especially important if interest rates continue to drop but the value of your house does not increase or even decreases.

Third, if you choose to keep your house and rent it out, the banks in the Netherlands have very strict rules on this if you want to do it above board. I've read that some banks require the mortgage amount (NB not the value you may have built up in a linked savings or insurance account) to be less than 50% of the foreclosure auction price (executiewaarde). Also, related to point 2, if you have something other than a linear or annuity mortgage, you will need to refinance to do this as the tax advantages around savings mortgages ([bank]spaarhypotheken) do not apply if it is not used as your own residence.

Finally, if you choose to sell and you are in the happy position of having the value of your house be greater than the value of your mortgage (you have an overwaarde), there may still be some obstacles. Any value you have accumulated in a linked savings or life insurance account is not available until after you sell your house. Extra value derived purely from the difference between mortgage value and sale price may be easier to deal with.

EDIT: As a final note, I've made extra payments on both a "Spaarhypotheek" (linked life insurance) and a "Bankspaarhypotheek" (linked savings account). In one, the principal paid each month reduced and the mortgage lifetime stayed the same. In the other, the principal paid each month stayed the same and the lifetime reduced. In both cases, interest payments were less each month. I would contact your mortgage provider to understand what the expected impact of extra payments will be.

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    _ if you choose to sell your house and the outstanding mortgage amount is less than the value of your house, you are left with a gap (restschuld) to finance._ Could this be a typo? If outstanding mortgage amount means "what is owed", and it is less than the value, isn't that good? – SeraM Mar 30 '15 at 20:13
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I will add one thought on to this thread. This is a financial concept called "Net Present Value". In plain English, it means "What's the best use for your money right now?"

So, let's say you have an extra €300/month which is not being spent on living expenses.

If you leave that money under your pillow (or spend it on beer or fancy electronics!) instead of paying off your startersloan early, that is costing you 300*(0.04/12) per month, every month. So €1/month, or €12/year. This is cumulative for the life of your loan. So not paying €300 this month will ultimately cost you €120 assuming you keep the loan open for 10 years. If you're saying "pay my debts or spend the money on a snappy smartphone?" the answer is that you should pay your debts.

Now, here's the important part. Let's suppose you have a better use for the money than beer or electronics. Let's suppose you have a mutual fund which will reliably provide you with a return of 10% a year.

If you put that €300/month into a high-yield fund, and if the returns are consistent, you are STILL paying that €12/year (because you invested elsewhere and didn't pay your debts), but you are realizing profits of 300*(0.1/12)=€2.5/month on the invested money. €2.5-1=€1.5/month, which is a net gain. So, in some cases, paying off your debt may not be the best use of your money.

There are a number of other questions involved which are related to your exposure to capital gains taxes, incentives or disincentives for holding debt, &c. &c. These are generally country specific. A poster above who seems to be familiar with Netherlands law did a good explanation of some of those incentives. I'm in the US, and our incentive and disincentive system is different.

TL;DR: It depends.

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It's pretty simple - the less money you owe the less interest you pay. Paying down debt gives a guaranteed return of the interest rate of the debt.

So paying off your starter loan is equivalent to a 4% return. That's not a bad return in the current environment so it makes sense to do it unless you can find an investment which you think is likely to pay significantly better.

(Note this is a general answer, not Netherlands-specific. There may be other considerations, around tax for example, which have to be factored into the calculation).

  • In this specific case it would be best to wait untill those 3 years are over (for more interest) and then put as much money as I can reasonably(!) miss in the starters loan? – Kevin Mar 30 '15 at 13:39
  • @Ajaxkevi No, because paying off principal reduces the future debt and thus interest payments, regardless of when you starting paying it. – Rake36 Mar 31 '15 at 16:00
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    @Ajaxkevi Yes it would. You'd want to save that money in short term investments so that you could access it to pay the starters loan. It's not accruing interest before that point, so it would be the equivalent of doing nothing with the money – Matthew Steeples Mar 31 '15 at 17:47
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The mortgage is a debt and you pay interest on it, typically more than you can earn elsewhere (especially once taxes are taken into account.) By lowering the principal, you lower the total interest you pay. This is true whether you sell the house after 1 year, 10 years, or 100 years.

In your case, prepayments made in the next few years would mean that when you sell, your mortgage principal would be lower than it otherwise would have been, and your house equity will be higher. You can therefore either move up to more house for the same monthly payment, or have a lower monthly payment for the same kind of house. Either of those are good things, right?

Now is the easiest time to find a little more money, so do it if you can. Later you will have more obligations, and develop a taste for more expensive things (statistically speaking) and therefore find a few hundred a month much harder to come by.

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Another factor: When you sell this house and buy the next one, the more equity you have the easier the loan process tends to be. We rolled prior equity into this house and had a downpayment over 50%--and the lender actually apologized for a technicality I had to deal with--they perfectly well knew it was a basically zero-risk loan.

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The main factors you have to consider are:

  1. Could you get a better return on that money by investing it somewhere? The investment rate should basically be more than the mortgage rate.

  2. If you find yourself suddenly in need of money (eg, loss of job) do you have enough savings to ride that out? If not, investing the extra money in an instant access investment, even at a lower rate, may make sense as it gives you future flexibility.

  3. Do you have any other debts that are at a higher rate? If so, pay those off first as you will get more bang for your buck.

protected by Community Jun 25 '16 at 14:53

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