With historically low interest rates putting 15-year mortgages within reach for more home buyers and refinancing homeowners, you may be wondering if a shorter-term mortgage makes sense. Understanding the pros and cons of a 15-year mortgage can help you decide if this is the right option for you.
Pros of a 15-Year Mortgage
- Pay less interest. The biggest advantage is saving money. Because a 15-year loan typically has a lower interest rate than a 30-year loan and you pay the loan off faster, you’ll save money during the life of your loan. Here’s an example: for a $250,000 loan at 2.75%, assuming a 10% down payment, you’ll pay $105,675 in interest over 30 years. The same loan at a 15-year term will cost you only $49,842 in interest—a savings of $55,833. (These figures don’t include other costs like homeowners insurance or taxes.) Our mortgage payment calculator can help you calculate the difference in your personal monthly payment.
- Build equity faster. Since a 15-year term comes with a higher monthly payment toward principal, you’ll build home equity faster. You can access that equity with a home equity loan or line of credit to pay for things like college or renovating your home.
- Own your home faster. Not only do you build equity faster, but you’ll also pay off your home in half the time compared with a 30-year loan. For many people, the security of knowing their home is fully paid off is a big financial goal.
Cons of a 15-Year Mortgage
- Larger monthly payments. Because you’ll be paying off your home in half the time, your monthly payments will be bigger compared with a 30-year term. Will your budget allow you to do that? It might make more sense to keep the lower fixed payments of a 30-year loan and pay extra toward principal when you have a surplus in your budget. This strategy will help you pay off your home faster, yet still offers flexibility.
- Less money for other expenses. Investing more of your monthly budget into your mortgage means additional funds might not be available for other goals and expenses.
- Potentially a smaller loan amount. Because the monthly payments will be higher, you may only qualify for a smaller total loan amount. Stretching your loan over 30 years may enable you to buy a more expensive home.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
In short, a 15-year mortgage is a great option if you can afford higher monthly payments and still meet your other financial goals. At Navy Federal Credit Union, we can help guide you through the home loan process. Whether you’re looking to refinance or you’d like to start shopping for a mortgage, we’re here to help.