What’s the difference between “amortization” and “term”?
There are many stresses associated with home buying – both financial and emotional. And frankly speaking, it doesn’t help that the process comes with its very own foreign language. While your mortgage broker can help de-mystify these terms, it helps to have a bit of a primer on what some of these terms mean. After all, it’s your money and your home we’re talking about; as a Mortgagor, you have a right to understand what you’re reading. (You didn’t know you were a mortgagor? Read on…)
We’ll start with “Amortization” and “Term”. Both refer to periods of time in the life of your mortgage, and you’ll want to be sure that you understand the difference.
The “amortization” of your mortgage is the length of time that would be required to reduce your mortgage debt to zero, based on regular payments at a specified interest rate. The amortization period is typically 15, 20 or even 25 years, although it can be any number of years or part-years. You could establish that you are able to make a certain payment each month of say $950 for your $130,000 mortgage at 5.5%. In this case, your amortization period will be just under 18 years. Or you could tell your broker that you’d like to be mortgage-free in just 10 years. With an amortization period of 10 years at the same interest rate, your $130,000 mortgage will cost you about $1,407 per month. That’s a tougher monthly payment, but you would save thousands of dollars in interest. (More than $35,000, in fact.) As you arrange your mortgage, then, keep in mind that your amortization period may be fairly long -- although the shorter you can make it, the less you’ll wind up paying for your home in the long term.
The “term” of your mortgage will typically be shorter. The “term” is the duration of your mortgage agreement, at your agreed interest rate. This will be a very specific length of time, although you will have several choices. A 6-month mortgage is a very short-term mortgage. A 10-year mortgage will be one of the longest terms, generally with a higher rate of interest to represent the higher degree of uncertainty in the economic outlook. After your mortgage term expires, you will need to either pay off the balance of the mortgage principal, or negotiate a new mortgage at whatever rates are available at that time.
Now, back to the term “Mortgagor”. This is one of three very similar terms: “Mortgagee”, “Mortgagor”, and “Mortgage”. A Mortgagee is the lender of the money: a bank, company, or individual. A Mortgagor is the borrower: the person or persons (or company) that is borrowing the money, and who will pay it back to the mortgagee. The Mortgage, of course, is the legal document that pledges the property as a security for the debt.
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