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You might regret taking out a short-term mortgage.


Key points

  • A 15-year mortgage is one of many types of loans homebuyers can use.
  • This type of loan may seem attractive due to low repayment costs over time.
  • However, 15-year mortgages have some major drawbacks, including increased risk.

When you use a mortgage to buy a home, you’ll need to decide how long your loan will be paid off. Most lenders offer a choice of several options, including a 30-year or 15-year mortgage.

A 15-year mortgage has a lower interest rate and costs less over time. These two features can make this loan attractive to borrowers. Some people are also excited about the idea of ​​getting out of debt in half the time.

But before you go for a 15-year loan, consider these four big reasons why this might not be the right mortgage for you.

1. There’s a huge opportunity cost to tying up your money

When you choose a 15-year mortgage, you are committing to higher payments than with a longer-term loan. You are obligated to make these payments over the life of the loan, which means you are making a huge financial commitment for 15 years.

When you’ve pledged that much money each month to your mortgage lender, you can’t do anything else with it, like invest. Since mortgage interest rates are quite low and the return on investment (ROI) you earn from prepaying your loan is simply interest savings, you are accepting a much lower return on investment than you could probably earn by investing in stocks or ETFs.

Committing to such large monthly payments could also leave you with less money to pay off high-interest debt or cover your other living expenses, making it harder to stay on budget.

2. Your loan might be harder to get

Since a 15-year loan has higher monthly payments, you might have a harder time qualifying for the loan based on your financial credentials. You may need to go with a lender that allows a higher debt-to-equity ratio, rather than being able to choose from a wide range of different loan providers. This makes it harder to find a loan with the best rates and terms.

3. You could face a higher risk of foreclosure

If you have higher monthly payments to make, it can be more difficult to find the money in times of financial difficulty. Therefore, the risk of foreclosure is greater with a 15-year loan than with longer-term loans with lower required monthly payments.

You can reduce this risk by saving for emergencies, but your emergency fund will need to be larger to cover three to six months of more expensive mortgage payments.

4. You give up flexibility unnecessarily

Finally, the reality is that by committing to a 15-year mortgage, you’re committing to paying off your home loan sooner, even if payments get too expensive or you decide you’d rather prioritize other things. .

If you opted instead for a loan with a longer repayment term, you would have the option of paying more during the months when you could afford it. If you wanted to pay off a 30-year loan in 15 years and you were financially able to do so, nothing would stop you, but you would have the choice.

For all of these reasons, you should seriously consider avoiding a 15-year mortgage and opting for a different home loan instead.

A Historic Opportunity to Save Potentially Thousands of Dollars on Your Mortgage

Chances are interest rates won’t stay at multi-decade lows much longer. That’s why it’s crucial to act today, whether you want to refinance and lower your mortgage payments or are ready to pull the trigger on buying a new home.

Ascent’s in-house mortgage expert recommends this company find a low rate – and in fact, he’s used them himself to refi (twice!). Click here to learn more and see your rate. While this does not influence our product opinions, we do receive compensation from partners whose offers appear here. We are by your side, always. See The Ascent’s full announcer disclosure here.