30 Year vs 15 Year Mortgage
Discussions of mortgages often focus on interest rates, but there is a much more basic decision to make. Should you go with a 30 year mortgage term or a 15 year mortgage term?
30 Year vs. 15 Year Mortgages
Any discussion of mortgages tends to turn on two points. How can you qualify for the most money with the lowest payment? How can you get the lowest interest rate for the mortgage? While these are two important issues, there is an addition one that people fail to consider, resulting in significant wasted money.
The term of a mortgage is extremely critical for a couple of reason. First, it sets the length of the obligation you are undertaking. Second, it defines the amount of interest you are going to pay over the life of the loan. These are huge issues when it comes to building equity.
The longer the loan, the more total interest you are going to pay. The trade off, of course, is you are going to have smaller monthly payments the farther you stretch out the obligation. While this may sound like a good goal when you first get the mortgage, it can backfire on you in the long run.
Most people focus on interest rates as a way to save money on mortgages. This is a valid approach, but playing with the length of the loan is a better way to save money. If you can cut the payments in half by going with a shorter loan, you can save huge amounts on the total interest repaid to a lender. However, you must consider what is your real estate investment strategy. If you are buying an investment property, then you most likely are concerned about cash flows which means you want a longer term to increase cash flow projections for net operating income. You also might pay a slightly higher interest rate for a no doc mortgage program so it not just the the term length of the loan you’re considering, but the real estate investment strategy.
The decision on the term of the loan is relatively simple, but entirely dependent upon your personal situation. There is no absolutely correct choice. First, you need to determine if you can comfortably afford the higher payments that come with a shorter term loan. In general, a 15 year mortgage will have payments 20 to 25 percent higher than a 30 year loan. Of course, you will pay the loan off faster, to wit, be building equity in the home quicker.
The modern mortgage industry has a variety of different term length products. When applying for a loan, take the time to evaluate the different terms to see if you can find a loan that is perfect for your situation. Remember if you’re self employed and can’t provide proof of your income, then you might want to consider a no doc mortgage program.