Sidestep penalty for early mortgage payoff

'Partial prepayment' can lessen the blow

DEAR BENNY: I was at the closing table for my condo purchase only to discover that there was a penalty for early payoff. I called the bank immediately and they told me to "take it or leave it."

A great idea came immediately in my mind, and I went through with the closing. The bank explained to me that a percentage of the payoff amount is calculated as a penalty.