You’ve finally reached the finish line of the home-buying process by closing on your home – now what? The next step is figuring out how to make the first mortgage payment. But first, you’ll need to determine when it’s due.
When Usually is a First Mortgage Payment Due?
You won’t owe the lender the minute you walk away from the closing table. However, you can expect your first mortgage payment due date to fall on the first day of the following full month after you’ve closed on the loan.
If you refer to the closing documents, the lender will disclose the due date of your initial mortgage payment on what’s referred to as the First Payment Letter. On the document, you’ll also find instructions on how to make your first payment and the penalties that you’ll incur for paying late.
How Do Closing Dates Affect Your Mortgage Payment Due Date?
In most instances, the first mortgage payment is due on the first day of the next full month following closing, as mentioned above. To illustrate, if your closing date is August 10, your first mortgage payment will be due on October 1. But if it’s later in the month, on August 28, the initial payment due date will still remain the same.
There’s an exception to the rule, though. Since the first payment due date must be within 60 days of the closing date, it may not fall on the first day of the month if the month that you close has 31 days. So, for example, if you close on July 1, the payment would need to be made prior to September 1 since July has 31 days. Otherwise, you’d miss the 60-day window.
Note: Six months have 31 days – January, March, May, July, August, October and December.
Can You Choose Your Mortgage Payment Due Date?
No, you can’t choose your mortgage payment due date. However, the lender may be willing to waive penalties or fees as a one-time courtesy if you make a late payment. You should also know that most mortgage lenders offer a grace period and won’t assess fees unless you pay after the 15th of the month. So, if you’re mortgage payment is due on June 1, but you schedule a payment on June 15 before the cutoff time, you likely won’t be on the hook for a late payment fee.
How to Time Your First Mortgage Payment
To keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket, aim for a closing date towards the beginning of the month. Doing so gives you more time to cover moving-related expenses and make purchases for your next home.
For example, if you close on January 3, you’ll likely have until March 1 to make your first mortgage payment. If you’re currently renting, you’ll likely pay a prorated amount equivalent to three days for January’s rent. Still, you’ll get a break from housing payments for almost two months. But if you close on January 28, you’ll pay the bulk of January’s rent and only have a one-month break before the first mortgage payment is due.
Also, remember that a closing date that’s closer to the end of the month or the beginning of the following month means you’ll pay less in interest. This is because interest starts accruing the day the loan closes, and you’ll be on the hook for it, even if the closing date isn’t on the first or last day of the month. So, the later in the month you close, the less you’ll owe for that particular month.
How Do You Make Your First Mortgage Payment?
It depends on the lender, although most offer the following payment methods:
- Check payments: You can send a check by mail to the address listed on the mortgage statement. Keep in mind that remitting payment by mail means you could incur a late fee if the check doesn’t arrive on time or at all if it’s stolen.
- Phone payments: Some lenders allow borrowers to make mortgage payments by phone. Be sure to inquire to see if it’s available and if the process is automated and can be done 24/7 or by speaking with an agent during normal business hours.
- Online payments: This is the most convenient way to make your first mortgage payment. You can typically set up an online profile and log in to the dashboard to schedule payment from your checking account. Be sure to confirm you have portal access before the due date, though, to avoid processing delays. It’s also best to log in and schedule at the beginning of the month, even if it’s for a later date that’s before the grace period. That way, you won’t have to worry about forgetting to schedule the online payment and incurring a late payment penalty or having to deal with adverse credit reporting.
- Autopay: If you’d prefer to put your first and subsequent mortgage payments on autopilot, consider autopay. Your checking account will be debited each month to take care of the payment, and you won’t have to worry about missing due dates or your home loan becoming delinquent. Many financial institutions also offer a bill-pay service if you’d prefer to set up automatic monthly payments through your bank or credit union instead of the mortgage lender.
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