Death pledge. That's what the word mortgage essentially translates as, and it's an appropriate term when you look at how long it will take to clear the debt.
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But if you don't fancy stumping up a small fortune every month on the mortgage, there are things you can do to eliminate that debt much earlier.
Best of all you will save thousands in the process.
Most mortgages allow you to 'overpay' by a certain amount each year, without charge. Generally, that's about 10% of your mortgage balance. If you pay more than that, then you may have to stump up an Early Repayment Charge.
If you can afford it, it's well worth shelling out a little extra each month on your mortgage repayment as it can dramatically cut how long it takes you to pay off the mortgage.
Let's take an example: say you have £150,000 outstanding on your mortgage, which has 25 years left to run, and an interest rate of 3%. Your monthly mortgage bill will be about £711, costing you a total of £213,795.
That means that by the time you are mortgage free, you will have paid a massive £63,795 in interest.
Now, let's say you can pay an extra £50 towards the mortgage each month, taking your repayment to £761.
By doing so, you'll shave two years and four years off the time taken to pay the mortgage off in full. What's more, you will slash the interest paid to £56,745, saving you about £7,000 in interest.
If you can afford to pay even more, and your mortgage won't charge you for doing so, then you could make an even bigger saving.
Stumping up an extra £100 a month for example would cut four years and four months off your mortgage term, saving you the best part of £12,000 in interest.
How to take advantage of your savings
There is another way to clear your mortgage early, without actually having to pay any extra each month, so long as you have a decent savings pot.
The idea is that you place your savings in a savings account which is linked to your mortgage account. Your savings are then 'offset' against your mortgage debt, reducing the amount on which you have to pay interest.
So let's take our example from above, but suppose you have £20,000 in savings. By combining them in an offset mortgage, you'll only pay interest on £130,000 of that mortgage debt.
By keeping your mortgage repayments at exactly the same level, you'll clear the mortgage balance two years and three months early.
What's more, you'll still have access to your savings whenever you need them. In fact, the more you add to your savings pot, the further you will reduce the mortgage debt that you have to pay interest on.
Some offset accounts allow you to include your current account balance as well.
Just bear in mind, you won't earn any interest on your savings pot with an offset account, though with savings accounts so poor at the moment, you probably aren't missing out on much.
I can't afford to overpay!
If we are honest, many of us don't have an extra £50 that we can devote towards the mortgage every month. But by going through your monthly expenditure, you may be able to identify some spending that you can cut back on.
For example, when was the last time you switched energy supplier? If it's been a while, there's a good chance you are now on the supplier's standard tariff, meaning you're paying out far more than you need to.
Chances are you will soon be able to find a few areas that you can cut back on. It will take disciple, but skipping that daily trip to the coffee shop in the knowledge that it will help you clear the mortgage a couple of years early should be strong motivation!