In this article:
One of the trickiest parts of homebuying is budgeting for myriad expenses that pop up throughout the process, from the down payment to inspection fees to movers. You'll also need to prepare your budget for your new mortgage payment, especially if you might also owe rent around the same time you have to make your first loan payment. When should you expect your first mortgage bill to come due?
Your first mortgage payment is typically due on the first day of the second month after the loan's closing date. Depending on when you close on your mortgage, this means you'll have between one and two months before you owe your first payment, so it's important you know when to expect it so you can be financially prepared.
How Closing Dates Impact Payment Mortgage Payment Timing
The date selected as your loan's closing date determines when your first mortgage payment is due. And regardless of when in the month you close, mortgage payments begin at the start of the second month after closing. That's because mortgage payments are made in arrears, so unlike rent, you pay for the month prior rather than the month that's beginning.
For example, if you close on a home at the end of a month—say, March 27—you'll owe nothing the first full month (April) and your first payment will be due at the start of the second month, or May 1 in this case. This gives you only about a month after closing before your first payment is due.
But if you were to wait a few days and close April 3, you'd owe nothing during April or May, so your first mortgage payment would be due June 1. By closing at the start of a month, you get closer to two months before your first payment comes due.
Timing Your Budget
Your closing date doesn't just affect when your first mortgage payment is due, but how you'll have to budget for your housing payments during this transitional time.
If you close late in a month and end up with less time before your mortgage payment is due, it could put your budget in a crunch since you'll likely also need cash flow for movers, furniture and other expenses. Additionally, if you've been renting, you may not be able to avoid paying rent and your mortgage in the same month.
Instead, closing at the beginning of a month provides more financial cushion. It also gives you more time to end your lease and hopefully avoid paying rent for the same month your first mortgage is due.
How Your First Mortgage Payment Affects Costs
Wondering if there is a cost to delaying your first mortgage payment? The answer is yes and no.
Regardless of when you close, and whether your first payment is due one or two months after closing, your first payment amount will be the same. What is impacted by a later first payment is your closing costs.
When your first mortgage payment gets pushed further out—meaning closer to two months after closing than one—you're not actually skipping a payment. You're responsible for the loan's interest and property taxes as soon as you close, so if your first payment is later, the interest must be prepaid and included in your closing costs.
So here's the tradeoff: You can delay your first full mortgage payment, at the expense of paying higher closing costs—which may be preferable if you're rolling closing costs into the loan. The timing of closing just dictates whether you'll pay what's owed a month after closing or at closing itself if your first mortgage payment won't occur for two months. Both options will impact your budget, just in different ways. You may be able to negotiate the closing date if one option is better for you.
Preparing for Your First Payment
There's not a right or wrong way to time your closing. It all comes down to analyzing your budget and current housing situation, and ensuring you are prepared financially.
One of the most important ways to prepare is to look at the timing of your current rent or mortgage payment and scheduling so that you don't owe two housing payments in the same month. If it looks like that might happen, it may be necessary to lean on savings or cut back on discretionary spending during this transition.
If you close at a time that delays your first mortgage payment, you lighten the load on your budget for housing, but you will face higher closing costs, so make sure you're prepared for how to handle this situation.
If you've been setting aside money monthly for rent or down payment savings, your budget may already be prepared for your new mortgage payment. However, if your mortgage payment will be a new or larger-than-usual expense, it's the perfect time to create a budget. Experiment with various budgeting strategies to find the one that works best for your needs and personality.
Setting yourself up on a budget helps ensure you can make your mortgage payments on time each month, which is not only critical for keeping your home and avoiding foreclosure, but for maintaining a strong credit score and financial health.