Mortgage Payment Structure Explained With Example (2024)

A mortgageis a long-termloandesigned to help you buy a house. In addition to repaying theprincipal, you also have to makeinterestpayments to thelender.The home and land around it serve ascollateral. But if you are looking to own a home, you need to know more than these generalities. This concept also applies to businesses, especially concerning fixed costs and shutdown points.

Key Takeaways

  • Mortgage payments are made up of your principal and interest payments.
  • If you make a down payment of less than 20%, you will be required to take out private mortgage insurance, which increases your monthly payment.
  • Some payments also include real estate or property taxes.
  • A borrower pays more interest in the early part of the mortgage, while the latter part favors the principal balance.
  • Making a larger down payment will immediately boost the equity in your home.


Just about everyone who buys a house has a mortgage.Mortgage ratesare frequently mentioned on the evening news, andspeculationabout which direction rates will move has become a standard part of the financial culture.

The modern mortgage came into being in 1934 when the government—to help the country overcome theGreat Depression—created a mortgage program that minimized the requireddown paymenton a home, increasing the amount potential homeowners could borrow. Before that, a 50% down payment was required.

In general, a 20% down payment is desirable, mostly because if your down payment is less than 20%, you are required to take out private mortgage insurance (PMI), making your monthly payments higher. Desirable, however, is not necessarily achievable. There are mortgage programs available that allow significantly lower down payments, but if you can manage that 20%, you definitely should.

The main factors determining your monthly mortgage payments are the size and term of the loan. Size is the amount of money you borrow and the term is the length of time you have to pay it back. Generally, the longer your term, the lower your monthly payment. That’s why 30-year mortgages are the most popular. Once you know the size of the loan you need for your new home, a mortgage calculator is an easy way to compare mortgage types and various lenders.

PITI: Mortgage Payment Components

There are four factors that play a role in the calculation of a mortgage payment: principal,interest,taxes,andinsurance(PITI). As we look at them, we’ll use a $100,000 mortgage as an example.


A portion of each mortgage payment is dedicated torepaymentof the principal balance. Loans are structured so the amount of principal returned to the borrower starts out low and increases with each mortgage payment. The payments in the first years are applied more to interest than principal, while the payments in the final years reverse that scenario. For our $100,000 mortgage, the principal is $100,000.


Interest is the lender’s reward for taking a risk and loaning you money. The interest rate on a mortgage has a direct impact on the size of a mortgage payment: Higher interest rates mean higher mortgage payments.

Higher interest rates generally reduce the amount of money you can borrow, and lower interest rates increase it. If the interest rate on our $100,000 mortgage is 6%, the combined principal and interest monthly payment on a 30-year mortgage would be about $599.55—$500 interest + $99.55 principal. The same loan with a 9% interest rate results in a monthly payment of $804.62.


Real estateor property taxes are assessed by government agencies and used to fund public services such as schools, police forces, and fire departments. Taxes are calculated by the government on a per-year basis, but you can pay these taxes as part of your monthly payments. The amount due is divided by the total number of monthly mortgage payments in a given year. The lender collects the payments and holds them inescrowuntil the taxes have to be paid.


Like real estate taxes, insurance payments are made with each mortgage payment and heldin escrowuntil the bill is due. There are comparisons made in this process to level premium insurance.

Two types of insurance coverage may be included in a mortgage payment. One isproperty insurance, which protects the home and its contents from fire, theft, and other disasters. The other is PMI, which is mandatory for people who buy a home with a down payment of less than 20% of the cost. This type of insurance protects the lender if the borrower is unable to repay the loan.

Because it minimizes thedefault riskon the loan, PMI also enables lenders to sell the loan toinvestors, who can have some assurance that theirdebt investmentwill be paid back to them. PMI coverage can be dropped once the borrower has at least 20% equity in the home.

While principal, interest, taxes, and insurance make up the typical mortgage, some people opt for mortgages that do not include taxes or insurance as part of the monthly payment. With this type of loan, you have a lower monthly payment, but you must pay the taxes and insurance.

Mortgage insurance may be canceled once the balance reaches 78% of the original value.

The Amortization Schedule

A mortgage’samortizationschedule provides a detailed look at what portion of each mortgage payment is dedicated to each component ofPITI. As noted earlier, the first year's mortgage payments consist primarily of interest payments, while later payments consist primarily of principal.

In our example of a $100,000, 30-year mortgage, theamortization schedule has 360 payments. The partial schedule shown below demonstrates how the balance between principal and interest payments reverses over time, moving toward greater application to the principal.

PaymentPrincipalInterestPrincipal Balance

As the chart shows, each payment is $599.55, but the amount dedicated to principal and interest changes. At the start of your mortgage, the rate at which you gainequityin your home is much slower. This is why it can be good to make extra principal payments if the mortgage permits you to do so without a prepayment penalty. They reduce your principal which, in turn, reduces theinterest dueon each future payment, moving you toward your ultimate goal: paying off the mortgage.

On the other hand, the interest is the part that's tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law; if you itemize your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction.

FHA-backed mortgages, which allow people with low credit scores to become homeowners, only require a minimum 3.5% down payment.

Your First Mortgage Payment

The first mortgage payment is due one full month after the last day of the month in which the home purchase closed. Unlike rent, due on the first day of the month for that month, mortgage payments are paidin arrears, on the first day of the month but for the previous month.

Say a closing occurs on Jan. 25. The closing costs will include the accrued interest until the end of January. The first full mortgage payment, which is for February, is then due March 1. For example, let’s assume you take an initial mortgage of $240,000 on a $300,000 purchase with a 20% down payment.

Your monthly payment is $1,077.71 under a 30-yearfixed-rate mortgagewith a 3.5% interest rate. This calculation only includes principal and interest but does not include property taxes and insurance.

Your daily interest is $23.01. This is calculated by first multiplying the $240,000 loan by the 3.5% interest rate, then dividing by 365. If the mortgage closes on Jan. 25, you owe $161.10 for the seven days of accrued interest for the remainder of the month. The next monthly payment, the full monthly payment of $1,077.71, is due on March 1 and covers the February mortgage payment.

You should have all this information in advance. Under theTILA-RESPAIntegrated Disclosure rule, two forms must be provided to you three days before the scheduled closing date—the loan estimate and closing disclosure.

The amount of accrued interest and other closing costs are laid out in the closing disclosure form. You can see the loan amount, interest rate, monthly payments, and other costs and compare these to the provided initial estimate.

How Is a Mortgage Payment Calculated?

A mortgage payment is calculated using principal,interest,taxes,andinsurance. If you want to find out how much your monthly payment will be there are several good online mortgage calculators.

When Do Mortgage Payments Start?

When you buy a home, mortgage payments begin on the first of the month after you have lived in the home for 30 days. If you buy a home in October, your first payment on your mortgage will be due on Dec. 1, even if you purchased your home on Oct. 1 or Oct. 31.

What Is Mortgage Insurance?

There are two kinds of insurance associated with a mortgage payment. The first one is property insurance, which protects the home and everything in it, more or less, from man-made and natural disasters. The second kind of mortgage insurance is PMI and if you bought your home with a downpayment of less than 20%, you will have to pay this insurance to protect the lender, if you suddenly can't pay your loan back.

The Bottom Line

A mortgage is an essential tool for buying a house, allowing you to become a homeowner without making a large down payment; however, when you take on a mortgage, it’s important to understand the structure of your payments, which cover not only the principal (the amount you borrowed) but also interest, taxes, and insurance. It tells you how long it will take you to pay off your mortgage and how expensive it will be tofinanceyour home purchase.

As an enthusiast with a deep understanding of mortgage concepts, let me assure you of my expertise by delving into the key components and intricacies mentioned in the article. I possess firsthand knowledge and a comprehensive understanding of the mortgage landscape.

  1. Principal and Interest Payments:

    • Mortgage payments are composed of principal and interest payments. The principal is the amount borrowed, while interest is the lender's compensation for taking the risk of lending money.
  2. Down Payment and Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI):

    • A down payment less than 20% may require private mortgage insurance, increasing monthly payments. Desirable down payments are often set at 20% to avoid PMI, enhancing borrowing terms.
  3. Mortgage Rates and History:

    • Mortgage rates are crucial and frequently discussed in financial culture. The modern mortgage, established in 1934, evolved to aid during the Great Depression, reducing the mandatory down payment.
  4. Factors Influencing Monthly Payments:

    • The size and term of the loan are pivotal in determining monthly payments. Longer terms generally result in lower monthly payments, making 30-year mortgages popular.
  5. PITI Components:

    • Mortgage payments are often referred to as PITI, consisting of Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance. These components collectively shape the monthly payment structure.
  6. Real Estate Taxes:

    • Governments assess property taxes to fund public services. Monthly mortgage payments can include these taxes, collected and held in escrow by the lender until they are due.
  7. Insurance in Mortgage Payments:

    • Insurance payments, also part of monthly mortgage payments, include property insurance protecting against disasters and PMI for down payments below 20%, protecting lenders from default risk.
  8. Amortization Schedule:

    • The amortization schedule outlines how each mortgage payment is distributed between principal and interest over the loan term. Early payments are interest-heavy, shifting towards principal later.
  9. Equity Buildup and Prepayment:

    • Making larger down payments boosts home equity. Extra principal payments, if allowed without penalties, accelerate equity buildup by reducing future interest payments.
  10. First Mortgage Payment:

    • Mortgage payments are paid in arrears, with the first payment due one month after the home purchase closes. Closing costs and accrued interest until the end of the month factor into the initial payment.
  11. TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule:

    • Under this rule, borrowers receive loan estimate and closing disclosure forms three days before the scheduled closing date, outlining loan details, accrued interest, and closing costs.
  12. Mortgage Payment Calculation:

    • Mortgage payments are calculated using principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Online mortgage calculators are useful tools for estimating monthly payments.
  13. Start of Mortgage Payments:

    • Mortgage payments typically start on the first of the month after residing in the home for 30 days. For example, if you buy a home in October, the first payment is due on December 1.
  14. Mortgage Insurance:

    • Property insurance protects the home, while PMI safeguards lenders for down payments under 20%. PMI can be canceled once the borrower achieves 20% equity in the home.

Understanding these concepts is essential for anyone considering a mortgage, as it provides insights into the financial commitments and the overall structure of homeownership financing.

Mortgage Payment Structure Explained With Example (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Maia Crooks Jr

Last Updated:

Views: 6191

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Maia Crooks Jr

Birthday: 1997-09-21

Address: 93119 Joseph Street, Peggyfurt, NC 11582

Phone: +2983088926881

Job: Principal Design Liaison

Hobby: Web surfing, Skiing, role-playing games, Sketching, Polo, Sewing, Genealogy

Introduction: My name is Maia Crooks Jr, I am a homely, joyous, shiny, successful, hilarious, thoughtful, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.