The advantages of a 15-year mortgage
The biggest benefit is that instead of making a mortgage payment every month for 30 years, you'll have the full amount paid off and be done in half the time. Plus, because you're paying down your mortgage more rapidly, a 15-year mortgage builds equity quicker.
Yet homeowners who refi into a 15-year loan pay off their mortgages sooner. Because lenders usually charge higher interest rates on longer-term loans, a 15-year refinance can save thousands of dollars in interest. And you'll own your home in half the time.
A 30-year mortgage can make your monthly payments more affordable. While monthly payments on a 15-year mortgage are higher, the cost of the loan is less in the long run.
Making additional principal payments will shorten the length of your mortgage term and allow you to build equity faster. Because your balance is being paid down faster, you'll have fewer total payments to make, in-turn leading to more savings.
Because less than 10 percent of homeowners have 15-year mortgages, Bechtel says it's not an option for everyone, mainly because of the higher payments.
Paying off your mortgage early is a good way to free up monthly cashflow and pay less in interest. But you'll lose your mortgage interest tax deduction, and you'd probably earn more by investing instead. Before making your decision, consider how you would use the extra money each month.
Pay extra toward your mortgage principal each month: After you've made your regularly scheduled mortgage payment, any extra cash goes directly toward paying down your mortgage principal. If you make an extra payment of $700 a month, you'll pay off your mortgage in about 15 years and save about $128,000 in interest.
Okay, you probably already know that every dollar you add to your mortgage payment puts a bigger dent in your principal balance. And that means if you add just one extra payment per year, you'll knock years off the term of your mortgage—not to mention interest savings!
Because payments are significantly higher on a 15-year loan, buyers risk defaulting on the loan if they cannot keep up with the payments.
Both a 15-year and 30-year mortgage can have fixed interest rates and fixed monthly payments over the life of the loan. However, a 15-year mortgage means you will have your home paid off in 15 years rather than the full, 30-year mortgage so long as you make the required minimum monthly payments.
Is It Harder to Qualify for a 15-Year Mortgage Loan? If you have a higher income that proves you can afford the higher payments associated with a short term mortgage loan, then it's easy to qualify. You may also find interest rates that are between . 5 and 1% lower than they are for a 30-year mortgage.
Biweekly payments accelerate your mortgage payoff by paying 1/2 of your normal monthly payment every two weeks. By the end of each year, you will have paid the equivalent of 13 monthly payments instead of 12. This simple technique can shave years off your mortgage and save you thousands of dollars in interest.
You should aim to have everything paid off, from student loans to credit card debt, by age 45, O'Leary says. “The reason I say 45 is the turning point, or in your 40s, is because think about a career: Most careers start in early 20s and end in the mid-60s,” O'Leary says.
In this scenario, an extra principal payment of $100 per month can shorten your mortgage term by nearly 5 years, saving over $25,000 in interest payments. If you're able to make $200 in extra principal payments each month, you could shorten your mortgage term by eight years and save over $43,000 in interest.
Regardless of the amount of funds applied towards the principal, paying extra installments towards your loan makes an enormous difference in the amount of interest paid over the life of the loan. Additionally, the term of the mortgage can be drastically reduced by making extra payments or a lump sum.
The amount saved will vary based on the initial size of the loan and interest rate. Simply by making an additional payment over the life of a 15-year mortgage for $300,000 dollars at an interest rate of 5%, amounts to an eventual savings of up to 200 dollars monthly.
Throwing in an extra $500 or $1,000 every month won't necessarily help you pay off your mortgage more quickly. Unless you specify that the additional money you're paying is meant to be applied to your principal balance, the lender may use it to pay down interest for the next scheduled payment.
Generally, national banks will allow you to pay additional funds towards the principal balance of your loan. However, you should review your loan agreement or contact your bank to find out their specific process for doing so.
It's usually better to make extra payments when:
If you can't lower your existing mortgage rate, a refinance likely won't make sense. In this case, paying extra on your mortgage is a better way to lower your interest costs and pay off the loan faster. You want to own your home faster.
There's a huge opportunity cost to tying up your money
When you choose a 15-year mortgage, you commit to making higher payments than with a longer loan term. You're locked into making these payments for the entire life of the loan, which means you're taking on a huge financial commitment for 15 years.