The "Bike" Mortgage

Plus some good news from JJ!
by Lynn Siprelle

Bikes--they're not just for riding any more!First, the good news: John (aka JJ) got a new job yesterday. :) It was all very sudden. He interviewed Tuesday and they made him the offer yesterday. He'll be doing small business support at a very large Internet company, which from now on I will call the VLIC for short. ;) And he starts Monday! And so does our health insurance! This has been the shortest period of unemployment for him that we can remember, in all our years together.

This time around, we've been unnaturally calm. One reason for this is, we're paid ahead on our mortgage. We are the equivalent of a month ahead. If we had had to, we could have skipped a house payment (probably to put that money towards COBRA health insurance) and still have been all right financially and legally.

How did we get a month ahead--us of all people? We pay our mortgage every two weeks instead of once a month. This is called a bi-weekly mortgage, known as a "bike" in the industry. (Little known fact: I used to be a mortgage loan officer, my sister was an underwriter, and my father was in the mortgage biz for his entire career in both the primary and secondary markets.)

Paying your mortgage every two weeks can save you SERIOUS money--seven years' interest on a 30-year mortgage. For instance, on a $100,000 30-year loan at 7% (that's high for current rates, but bear with me), you would normally pay interest of $139,508.90 over 30 years. Paying on a "bike" would save you $34,462.64 over the life of the loan--and you'd pay your loan off in less than 24 years.

Keep in mind that there is also the "bi-monthly" plan, which is NOT the same as a "bike." Paying twice a month, as opposed to every two weeks, reduces your total interest by only one month, instead of seven years!

Here's what's financial planning guide advises to get yourself a "bike":

  • Check with your lender or read the fine print of your mortgage document to make sure there's no penalty for pre-payment.
  • Ask your lender how they'll treat your bi-weekly payments (apply each payment immediately to the principal or wait for the second half of the payment to arrive?).
  • Whenever you include additional money in your payment, make sure you include a note that it is to be applied to the principal, not to the next month's payment.
  • Check on your lender to make sure the extra payments are being applied to your principal. If you're making bi-weekly payments, it's easy to determine what your principal balance should be; just plug your mortgage amount and interest rate into Bankrate's Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payment Calculator.

It may be that paying your mortage every two weeks doesn't make financial sense for you--for instance, if you only get paid once a month. And we're with a credit union; they're giving us the benefit of the "bike" and still showing us as a month ahead. Not all financial institutions will do it that way.

Run your numbers, and see if it wouldn't be easier on your cash flow to move to a "bike" schedule. I'm betting that you'll get the same results that we did: It makes all the sense in the world.


alandr7's picture

What a wonderful way to save some money. I looked into this with my mortgage company. They have several different options...PayPlan12, PayPlan24, PayPlan26 (sounds like BIKE), and PayPlan52. The problem with all options other than the "default" PayPlan12 is that they charge a transaction fee each time you pay and these can add up to $20 a month depending on the plan. I suppose this might be one time where I would consider paying a small upfront fee to save LOTS of money in the long-run. But then again I am 29, living in Silicon Valley where a 2/1 condo goes for more than $ I may just play the equity game since I don't see myself staying in the condo for more than 5-10 years.

Honey's picture

Congratulations to JJ on the job :)

jennye's picture

Yay JJ!!

Shaun's picture

I'll have to look into that bike idea.

Congrats to JJ! Great news -- and it's always such a relief to be insured.


lgunnoe's picture

It's so good to come home to so much good news!

We were making the equivilent of bi-weekly payments the first year we lived in this house: adding enough each month "to principal" that it equaled an extra payment-a-year...but then mortgage rates went even lower and we refinanced from 29 years left (of 30) to a 15 year changed our payment only $14.00 a month...and we're ontrack to be morgage free before I'm 50 (DH will be 53/54 depending on the month we end.) Financial fitness: who'da thunk it would feel so good? :wink:

Much love!

Add new comment