Once you’ve decided to buy a home, your next step is to look into the type of mortgage that makes sense for you. With so many options, how do you choose? Benzinga has put together this mortgage guide to help you understand the pros and cons of a 15-year mortgage and its current mortgage rates. Remember, there are distinct advantages when choosing a 15-year loan, but you must balance those advantages with the state of the economy, the interest rate you can get, your own job security, etc.
The Best Current 15-Year Mortgage Rates
If you’re ready to invest in a 15-year mortgage, you can take advantage of this list of the best rates on these loans. Remember, 15-year mortgages are a unique financial device, and you should shop around to find the best lender. If you want to learn more about comparing payments with a 30-year loan, you can check out the formula here.
*APR as of 11/22/23. For the most up to date rate, click here.
15-Year Mortgage Advantages
If you’re thinking about a 15-year or a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan, you’re going to want to compare the pros and cons. Let’s go over the advantages of the 15-year mortgage first:
- You’ll pay your mortgage off quicker. When it comes to fixed-rate mortgages, you’ll see a 30-year mortgage is most common. If you choose a 15-year mortgage, however, you’ll be able to pay off your mortgage quicker than if you chose a 30-year mortgage.
- Interest rates are usually lower. Your mortgage payments will be divided into principal and interest payments. The principal payment is the amount that you are actually paying toward the money that you borrowed to buy your home. The interest payments are what you are paying in addition to that. This money is a financial gain for your lender because it is solely designed to pay them for loaning you money for your home. Your interest rate will be based on a number of factors, including your credit score and the type of mortgage loan you choose. Lenders tend to offer lower interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages compared to 30-year rates.
- You’ll pay less over the lifetime of your loan. An important thing to understand about interest is that you’ll be paying your interest rate with each monthly mortgage payment. So if you have fewer monthly mortgage payments, you’ll also be making fewer interest payments. Choosing a 15-year mortgage allows you to make fewer payments altogether, so you’ll be paying less interest over the lifetime of your loan than you would with a longer-term mortgage loan.
15-Year Mortgage Disadvantages
There are some disadvantages to know:
- Your monthly payments will be higher. While there are certainly pros to a 15-yea/r fixed/-rate mortgage, you also need to consider your monthly costs. Since you’ll be splitting the total cost of your mortgage into a shorter period of time, you can expect your monthly payments to be higher with a 15-year mortgage. This can be problematic in tough economic times as you would have had a much lower mortgage payment on a 30-year loan. While consumers cannot predict the future, it’s best to choose a 15-year mortgage only when the payments are well within your budget.
- You may not be able to get qualified for as much money as you need. When you take out a mortgage loan, lenders will only approve you for the amount of money they can comfortably trust you to manage to pay back in monthly installments. Since your monthly payments will be higher with a 15-year mortgage, you can expect that you may not be approved for as much money as you would if you chose a 30-year mortgage. This is something you should take into consideration. Again, it’s best to switch over to a 15-year mortgage when the payments are reasonable and the principal is low enough that you will easily qualify. You don’t want to borrow right up to the limit and borrow too much, again exposing yourself to a lot more risk if the economy takes a downturn.
- You may not be able to invest your money in other ways. It’s easy to get a one-track-mind about financial decisions, isn’t it? This idea points back to the previous disadvantages of a 15-year mortgage. Chiefly, the extra money you may not have. Even if a 15-year mortgage sounds great to you right now, it’s important to look at your financial decisions as a whole. If you have other financial goals, you’ll want to make sure that you are not using all of your money on your mortgage each month. For example, if you want to put money into stocks or other investments, you might not be able to do so. Spending more of your income on your mortgage also means that you’ll have less money left for savings.
Best Mortgage Lenders for a 15-Year Loan
If you’re committed to the concept of a 15-year mortgage loan, then it’s time to start looking at the best mortgage lenders. You’ll find that most lenders probably offer a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage loan. But the right lender for you will depend on a number of factors, so it’s important to choose and compare a select few.
Here are some of our recommended lenders for 15-year mortgage loans:
Best for A Variety of Options: New American Funding
New American Funding also offers jumbo loans, with loan amounts of up to $3 million. New American allows jumbo mortgagees to use a co-signer — someone who won’t be living in the home but who can sign on the loan to help a buyer qualify. When dealing with larger and more expensive homes, this can be a key feature if your debt-to-income ratio is not sufficient with other lenders.
The biggest advantage to New American today is its 5 Year Rate Protection Pledge. New American offers buyers the ability to refinance without lender and appraisal fees at any time in the next five years if their rates become more favorable, assuring its buyers get the best rate possible. If you’re concerned about locking into a high rate and would like the assurance that you will get the best deal in the future, check out New American’s loan offerings.
- Rate protection is quite important for many consumers who are living on a budget
- The use of a co-signer makes the platform that much more functional for many borrowers or investors
- While the lender has several mortgage options, they are not always going to line up with your needs
Best for Self-Employed Borrowers: CrossCountry Mortgage
CrossCountry Mortgage makes it easy for self-employed home buyers to get approved for a mortgage. Their flexible requirements can help you get financing, with no employment or income verification and no minimum DTI. CrossCountry Mortgage offers traditional loan terms, as well as more flexible home payment plans with their 40-year loan program.
It’s also easier to get approved if you’re self-employed. Tax returns are not required and you’ll only need one year of self-employment income history and a minimum credit score of 580. CrossCountry Mortgage can also help you get approved on assets alone, like your bank statements, stocks and bonds, or retirement accounts.
CrossCountry Mortgage is licensed to lend in California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
- CrossCountry offers more attainable requirements than other mortgage lenders
- This platform helps you cut out extra documentation that can be cumbersome
- While this platform is forgiving for many consumers, it may not have the funding options that are large enough for your projects
Best for Flexible Mortgage Options: Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions
Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions offers standard financing options but mostly markets its services for non-qualified mortgage (QM) loans such as portfolio lending, investment loans and jumbo mortgages. With offerings for very well-qualified buyers with favorable terms, as well as a program for buyers with less than stellar credit, Angel Oak can provide you with a customized solution when buying a large or expensive home.
All of Angel Oak’s jumbo loan programs can be used for primary residences, second homes or investment properties. Angel Oak’s Gold Prime Jumbo Loan offers the most-qualified buyers up to a 50% debt-to-income ratio, a down payment as low as 10% and loan amounts of up to $3.5 million.
The Non-QM Platinum Jumbo loan allows buyers who have faced bankruptcy or foreclosure more than four years ago to obtain a jumbo loan and offers a one-year tax return program. With flexible options to meet your needs, Angel Oak can be a great option for jumbo mortgages.
- Angel Oak is quite explicit about the information and requirements for its loans, making it easy for you to know how to navigate these items
- Angel Oak offers jumbo loans where many competitors do not
- Angel Oak is an easy platform to use, but they may not have the funding options that work specifically for your project or dream home
Best for Online Mortgages: Rocket Mortgage
If you’re using a government-sponsored loan program such as an FHA loan, you’re going to need to find a lender who participates. FHA loans are designed to help low- and moderate-income borrowers afford to purchase a home. As with most mortgage programs, you’ll need to meet specific requirements to qualify for an FHA loan. This includes home inspections and personal requirements, such as a minimum credit score.
Rocket Mortgage has a top-notch customer service team that can help you navigate the process of getting an FHA mortgage loan. It offers an intuitive application process that only needs you to answer a few questions. This will allow you to get into your new home quicker and can be especially helpful if you live in an area where homes go off the market quickly.
- Rocket Mortgage makes life easier for those who live in places where mortgage offices simply are not abundant
- The Rocket platform is extremely easy to use and far less intimidating than the competition
- While Rocket Mortgage is designed to be as easy as possible, it’s not necessarily right for everyone
Is a 15-Year Mortgage Right for Me?
Before we wrap up, let’s go over some of the highlights. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may have stumbled upon this article while doing some research. Choosing your mortgage type and your lender are huge decisions, and that’s why Benzinga is here to help.
Here are some things you should consider when you start to look at and compare mortgages:
- Do you qualify for any mortgage programs? There are so many mortgage programs out there that can help to make buying a home more affordable. Check out the programs available in your state to see if any of them can help you. Don’t forget about the national programs too, such as FHA, VA and USDA loans.
- What’s your financial situation? Each lender has its own set of requirements to approve you for a mortgage. This includes your credit score, your income, your employment history and your debt-to-income ratio. You’ll want to have all of your necessary documents together to present an accurate picture of your financial situation to your lender. Plus, will you have money left over and have the capacity to easily make those payments? Think about what it would be like if the economy took a nosedive and you were still making that payment. Would it still be comfortable? Could you save or invest money you have left over, or would the payment on a 15-year loan be prohibitive?
- How much will it cost to buy your home? There are certain things you’ll want to have in your home and it’s time to decide what to prioritize. Think about things like how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need, and how big you want your yard to be. You should also think about whether you want to buy a home to renovate or if you want it to be move-in ready. All of these considerations affect your budget and how much you can afford to pay each month.
You can see today what rates lenders can offer you by getting a quick and free online quote. Enter your ZIP code to get started today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a 15-year mortgage affordable?
A 15-year mortgage tends to have higher payments because you are paying off the loan faster. However, you also tend to get a lower interest rate, somewhat cutting into that expense. Weigh your options carefully to ensure that you aren’t overpaying on your mortgage.
Are 15-year mortgages easy to get?
It may be more difficult to qualify for a 15-year mortgage because of the price of your home, your credit score, income or a combination of those factors.
Get Ready for Take Off
Rocket Mortgage® is an online mortgage experience developed by the firm formerly known as Quicken Loans®, America’s largest mortgage lender. Rocket Mortgage® makes it easy to get a mortgage — you just tell the company about yourself, your home, your finances and Rocket Mortgage® gives you real interest rates and numbers. You can use Rocket Mortgage® to get approved, ask questions about your mortgage, manage your payments and more.
You can work at your own pace and someone is always there to answer your questions — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Want a fast, convenient way to get a mortgage? Give Rocket Mortgage® a try.