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There are six ways that you can manage your mortgage to make it more affordable and to keep up with payments. The first tactic is negotiation. Sometimes you can get your mortgage lender to give you better rates or to waive certain fees, like document preparation costs or lawyer fees. The better your credit score, the more likely you'll be able to negotiate a better deal. You also have to make sure you pick the right type of mortgage; while 30-year fixed-rate mortgages cost more in the long run, they're stable. Meanwhile, adjustable rate mortgages can jump all over the place, so you have to make sure you'll be able to afford whatever rates are thrown at you. Another good trick is to make extra payments whenever you can. Any extra payment you make goes toward the principal, not the interest. That means you may be able to reduce the amount of time you pay off your mortgage by years. Similarly, you can try to adjust your payment schedule so that you pay biweekly instead of monthly. You can have your payment coincide with your paycheck, and you'll end up having extra payments built into your schedule. This way, you can get rid of a 30-year fixed mortgage in approximately 23 or 24 years. To avoid paying for private mortgage insurance and cut your mortgage costs, make sure you put down at least 20 percent at the outset of your purchase. If you've already started your mortgage payments and you're paying for PMI, keep an eye on your equity so that you can get rid of the insurance when you've paid off 20 percent of your home's cost. Also, double check that paying for points is actually saving you money and that what you pay will be regained while you're still in that home. Sometimes points save you money, but other times they don't.

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