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Fifteen-Year Mortgage vs. Thirty-Year Mortgage: Which Is Right For You?

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When you’re shopping for a home, every decision matters. The neighborhood, the price, even the finishes inside each house you look at can weigh heavily on your mind. With so many question marks cluttering your mind, it might seem like overkill to spend a lot of time thinking about the length of your mortgage. However, when it comes to your finances, the decision to take on a fifteen or thirty year home loan is of critical importance and deserves your full attention.

Simply put, you will generally have two options when it comes to the length of your mortgage: a fifteen-year loan or a thirty-year loan. There are benefits and drawback to each option, so take a look at the information below:

15-Year Mortgage

Pros:

  • Your home loan will be paid off twice as fast as with a 30-year mortgage
  • You’ll build equity in your home faster
  • You’ll likely get a lower interest rate on the loan than you would with a 30-year mortgage

Cons:

  • Your monthly payments will be significantly higher
  • No flexibility – if you commit to a 15-year mortgage you must make the higher payments (see below for more information)

30-Year Mortgage

Pros:

  • Your monthly payments will be lower than with a 15-year mortgage
  • Flexibility – if you commit to a 30-year mortgage then decide you’d like to make larger payments, you can

Cons:

  • You’ll probably pay a higher interest rate than you would with a 15-year mortgage
  • It will take more time to build equity in your home
  • You’ll end up paying more for your home over the life of the loan, due to the higher interest rate and slower rate of repayment

It’s clear that the pros of a shorter loan term outweigh the cons. This is why, if you feel you can afford it on a monthly basis, it’s probably in your best interest to opt for a 15-year mortgage. However, if you do end up with a 30-year mortgage, insist on a loan with no pre-payment penalty. This way, if you decide to pay extra on your mortgage in order to pay your home off faster, you won’t be hit with a charge from your home loan provider for paying the mortgage off early.

Picking the right mortgage term is an important decision, so keep this information in mind when deciding on which home loan length is right for you.

About Lindsay Meredith

Lindsay is a high school teacher and personal finance blogger. She lives, works, and plays in the Washington, D.C. area.

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