15 year mortgage versus a 30 year mortgage

Which is Better: The 15- or the 30-Year Mortgage?

For a long time, it seemed that 30-year mortgages were all anybody ever got or was encouraged to get. However, more and more people are now opting for the 15-year mortgage. Neither one is right or wrong, so how do you know which one is right for you? Check out our simple overview of the pros and cons of each to make the best decision for your family, finances, and future!

15-Year Mortgage

Pros:

  • Pay off your house in half the time! This is the major pro of a 15-year mortgage. The sooner your home is paid off, the sooner you’re debt-free!
  • Smaller interest rate! Because a 15-year mortgage is not as big of a risk for banks, these loans typically have a smaller interest rate. According to Investopedia, those with a 15-year mortgage can pay up to 1% less, which may not seem like that much, but really adds up over the years.
  • Build equity sooner! Equity, which is described here as “the difference between your house’s value and what you owe your home loan lender,” will obviously take longer to build over 30 years than 15. With the 15-year mortgage, you’ll pay more on the principle faster.

Cons:

  • Higher monthly payment. Because you’ll be paying your home off faster, this means that you’ll be paying more each month. For some household incomes, this may not be an issue at all, but for many it might be. It’s also worth considering the possibility of unforeseen events happening, such as job loss or health emergencies, that may make it difficult to make those higher monthly payments.

30-Year Mortgage

Pros:

  • Lower monthly payment! This is a very appealing pro of the 30-year mortgage, as it gives you more money during the month to use in daily life, saving, or paying down other debts.
  • Freedom to pay more without fear! Depending on your budget, a lower monthly payment may also free up some funds to pay more each month on your mortgage, without the pressure of having to pay a higher amount every month should something unforeseen come up (job loss, health emergency, etc.).

Cons:

  • Equity and paying off your home will take longer. This is the obvious given with a 30-year mortgage. If you’re looking to be debt-free faster or build equity quickly, a 30-year mortgage that you’re not paying additionally on each month won’t get you there.
  • Higher interest rates. As mentioned in the pros of the 15-year mortgage option, a 30-year mortgage loan will typically have a higher interest rate as it’s more of a risk to banks, so you’ll end up paying more over time.

Ultimately, the best decision is and will be what works best for your family and what you feel comfortable paying. Take a serious look at your finances and take all of the factors into consideration before making your final decision.